The gastric band (also known as the adjustable gastric band) is a device which is placed at the top of your stomach during surgery. It creates a small stomach pouch above the band which can only hold a small amount of food. The band slows down the passage of food from the pouch to the rest of stomach resulting in a sensation of feeling full much quicker than usual.
Common questions about the Gastric Band
Q: Is the gastric band right for me?
Our weight-loss team will always discuss the options available to you. You may be suitable for gastric band surgery if you fulfil the following criteria:
- Your BMI (body mass index) is 35 or more and you have medical problems associated with your weight such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Your BMI is 40 or more without any medical problems associated with your weight.
- Your BMI is 30 or more and you have either been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or have poorly-controlled type 2 diabetes.
The gastric band is not an appropriate option if you have conditions such as severe underlying acid reflux and Barrett’s oesophagus or your oesophagus (food-pipe) does not function properly.
Q: How much weight will I lose?
Two years on from surgery, the gastric band can help you lose an average of 1/2 of your excess weight. For example, if you are 5 foot 5 inches tall (165cm), a BMI of 25 (which is the upper limit of a ‘healthy’ weight) is 70kg. Any weight above 70kg is termed as ‘excess weight’. If you weigh 110kg, your excess weight is 40kg (110kg-70kg). The band will help you lose approximately 20kg.
Weight loss results can vary significantly due to a number of factors including your genes and the lifestyle choices you make once you have had surgery. Our specialists will discuss these factors with you during your consultation.
Q: What are the other benefits of the gastric band?
The gastric band is a safe and fully reversible procedure undertaken using keyhole surgery. Most people are back to work 7 to 10 days following surgery. In addition to the associated weight loss, the gastric band is linked to marked improvements and resolution of many medical conditions including:
- Type 2 diabetes: complete resolution in 40% of cases.
- High blood pressure: 30% of patients are able to stop medication.
- High cholesterol: 75% of patients show improvement or complete resolution of abnormally high cholesterol levels.
- Infertility: 90% of patients will see improvements in underlying hormonal problems linked to infertility.
There are many other benefits including improvements in medical conditions such as asthma, back pain, liver disease, stress incontinence and psychological wellbeing.
Q: How long will I stay in hospital?
The gastric band is a procedure which takes approximately 35-40 minutes to perform. It is done whilst you are asleep under general anaesthesia. In many cases, patients can go home on the same day of surgery assuming there is someone to accompany them home. In a few cases, patients require an overnight stay in hospital.
Q: What are the risks with the gastric band?
Gastric band surgery is very safe and effective and the risks associated with it are small. The risks of bleeding and infection of the keyhole wounds are very small (less than a 1% chance of occuring). Longer term problems may include:
- Slippage of the band
- Erosion of the stomach
- Infection of the band or tubing
It is currently believed that around 1 in 5 patients will need their gastric band removed at some point during their lifetime because of the complications mentioned above.
Q: Will I regain weight after surgery?
Weight loss and regain following surgery relies on many factors. It is influenced by your genes and the lifestyle choices you make following surgery. As such, surgery should be seen as a tool to aid you in your weight-loss journey.
Most gastric band patients eventually gain back about 10% of the weight they lose following surgery. 1 out of every 5 patients may find that they regain all of the weight they have initially lost with the band.
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