The gastric banding procedure is an effective treatment for weight loss involving the placement of an adjustable silicone band (the gastric band) around the upper part of your stomach. It works by making you feel full sooner so that you eat less.
The gastric band is placed around the top portion of the stomach, via laparoscopic surgery. This form of weight loss surgery involves the band being inserted through a small incision which is made near the belly button.
The gastric band operation is performed under general anesthesia, and usually takes less than one hour. You will be required to stay in hospital for 1 night following the procedure.
If you have a BMI over 35 then a gastric band may be a suitable method of weight loss surgery.
Before any surgery is proposed you will undergo a detailed assessment conducted by a weight loss (bariatric) surgeon.
A gastric band is designed to remain permanently with your stomach. It is made entirely of biocompatible materials, so the band can stay in the patient's body without causing harm. The gastric band can be removed, and is also designed in a way that can be adjusted to change the size of the stomach pouch.
Once you have undergone surgery to have your gastric band fitted, you will have a number of band adjustments over a period of time. The first band adjustment will usually take place about 6-8 weeks after your initial surgery, once your body has got used to the gastric band in place. The rest of your band adjustments will primarily take place in the first two years following surgery, and your optimal weight loss will take place during this time.
Once it is fitted, the gastric band is adjusted externally (outside of the body) at any time by your consultant surgeon (this takes place at an outpatient appointment, and would usually take only a short period of time). This means that the band can be made either tighter or looser, which will affect the amount of food that you will intake.
The gastric band is tightened by adding a saline solution into the band, and loosened by removing some of the saline solution from the band. In general, you will start with the band relatively loose and it will be tightened over time.