Gastric band (lap banding)
Gastric banding involves placing an adjustable silicone band around the upper part of the stomach. It works by making you feel full sooner so that you eat less and ultimately lose weight as a result.
Is a gastric band right for me?
If your BMI score is over 40 (morbidly obese), gastric band surgery may help you to achieve long-term weight loss. Surgery may also help if you have a BMI over 35 (severely obese) and have other medical conditions such as Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.
Your bariatric surgeon at Nuffield Health will confirm your BMI score and carry out a detailed assessment before deciding if surgery is suitable for you.
What are the benefits of gastric banding?
If the operation is successful, you should be able to achieve long-term weight loss. However, this depends on your ability to keep to your new lifestyle. Long-term weight loss should improve any obesity-related health problems you may have.
Are there any alternatives to gastric banding?
The simple approach to losing weight involves eating less, improving your diet and doing more exercise. Sometimes medication prescribed by your GP can help.
There are other surgical options to gastric banding such as shortening your digestive tract, sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass. Gastric banding has fewer complications and there is a lower risk of serious complications happening. Recovery is usually faster too.
Is silicone safe?
Many studies have been carried out to find if silicone is safe. There is no evidence to suggest that people who have gastric bands are at a higher risk of getting diseases such as cancer and arthritis.
What does the gastric banding operation involve?
- Gastric band surgery is performed under general anaesthetic
- It usually takes between 1- 2 hours
- The laparoscopic ('keyhole') technique is usually used and your Nuffield Health surgeon will make several small cuts on your abdomen
- They will place surgical instruments, along with a telescope inside your abdomen to perform the operation
- Your surgeon will create a tunnel behind your stomach
- They will pass the band around the upper part of your stomach and secure it
- This creates a smaller upper pouch
- To help keep the band in place, they will fold some of the lower stomach over the band and stitch it to the upper stomach pouch.
What complications can occur from having a gastric band?
General complications of any operation my include:
- Infection in the surgical wound
- Unsightly scarring
- Developing a hernia in the scar
- Blood clots (deep vein thrombosis).
Specific complications of gastric banding may include:
- Damage to internal organs
- Developing a hernia near one of the cuts
- Surgical emphysema.
Gastric banding complications may include:
- Air in the chest cavity
- Developing gastro-oesophageal reflux
- Stretching of the oesophagus or the oesophagus not working properly
- Difficulty swallowing
- Making a hole in the oesophagus or stomach
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Infection of the band
- Band slippage
- Band erosion or leakage
- Failure of the band.
How soon will I recover from gastric band surgery?
- You should usually be able to go home the day after your gastric band operation
- In the first few weeks you will only be able to take liquids, progressing to soft food and then to solid food
- You should be able to return to work after 1 - 2 weeks, but this may vary depending on the extent of surgery and your type of work
- On average, people who have gastric banding lose over half of their excess body weight.
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Surgery can improve people’s lives, but it’s not a one-stop solution for your weight problems. Getting your body in shape takes commitment - with or without surgery, says Ahmed Hamouda, bariatric specialist at Nuffield Health Tunbridge Wells Hospital.