What is a gastric banding procedure?

A gastric banding procedure or lap band procedure as it is often called is a restrictive bariatric surgery used in the treatment of morbid obesity and associated morbidities. It is the second most common procedure after the gastric bypass. The procedure involves the laparoscopic placement of an adjustable, inflatable silicone device around the upper part of the stomach.

The food intake capacity of the stomach is reduced to a much smaller size, that of a pouch. Weight loss is a result of the fact that gastric banding patients feel full early and keep the feeling of satiety for a longer period. If pregnancy or certain health conditions require it, the silicone device can be deflated.

Laparoscopic gastric banding benefits:

  • quick recovery
  • minimal pain
  • easy healing
  • adjustable without follow-up surgery
  • reversible (no cutting and stapling of the stomach)
  • does not cause malnutrition and malabsorption
  • improves high blood pressure, sleep apnea, diabetes
  • reduces arthritis pain

Potential risks of gastric banding:

  • erosion, slippage, leakage of the gastric band
  • irritation or inflammation of the esophagus
  • reflux disease
  • stomach pouch enlargement
  • internal bleeding

Gastric banding has good weight loss effectiveness. For the majority of the patients weight loss is steady and consistent and is about 1-2 pounds per week, adding up to 48-99 pounds for the first year after surgery. Gastric banding encourages patients to healthier eating habits and if these are paired with an active lifestyle, then the result is long-term weight loss stability. Diet and exercise guidelines given by the bariatric surgeon must be carefully followed.

Pregnancy is a delicate state and special considerations apply for the case of gastric banding patients considering pregnancy:

    • the patient should be in optimum nutritional state even before conception
    • deflation of the band may be required even before conception and should also be considered in the case of morning sickness
    • when the mother starts bottle feeding, the gastric band may be gradually re-inflated if post-partum weight loss is needed 
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