Adjustable Gastric Banding
Adjustable gastric banding helps severely overweight or morbidly obese individuals lose weight by placing an adjustable silicone band around the upper part of the stomach.
The most frequently used adjustable gastric bands in the United States are the LAP-BAND® System and the REALIZE Band. Our surgeons have selected the LAP-BAND system as our gastric banding treatment option for our clients.
How Adjustable Gastric Bands Work
Adjustable gastric bands are inserted into the body using laparoscopic, or minimally invasive, surgery methods. This technique avoids the large incisions and prolonged recovery time often associated with open procedures.
Once the gastric band is in place at the top of the stomach, the adjustable portion of the band is inflated with saline to create a narrow opening or stoma through which all food must now pass. The area of stomach above the band forms a small pouch, which acts as a small reservoir for food. This pouch is capable of holding only a tiny amount of food compared to what a normal stomach can hold.
The stoma controls the rate that the small stomach pouch can empty. Together, the stomach pouch and the stoma allow you to feel full sooner when you eat and the delayed emptying makes this feeling of fullness last longer. Over time, the result is less food consumed, and when combined with lifestyle changes that include increased activity, you are likely to lose weight.
Adjustable Weight Loss
The band around your stomach is connected to a small port that is placed below the skin of your abdomen. Using this port, your bariatric surgeon can change the size of the stoma to increase or decrease the rate that food can pass through it. The smaller the stoma, the slower food will pass through and the more weight you will lose. If the stoma is too small, it can be loosened. This is useful if you experience discomfort or become pregnant.
Benefits of Adjustable Gastric Band
Because a gastric band is the least invasive of the bariatric procedures, it has several benefits:
- No intestinal re-routing
- No cutting or stapling of the stomach wall or bowel
- Small incisions and minimal scarring
- Reduced patient pain and recovery when compared to gastric bypass
- Very low risk of the nutritional deficiencies associated with gastric bypass
- No “dumping syndrome” related to stomach division
- Adjustments performed without additional surgery
- Removable at any time
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with abdominal surgery that include infection, bleeding disorders, injury to internal structures, and the potential of death. Additionally, there is a small risk of problems specific to the adjustable gastric band such as band erosion, band slippage or shifting, swallowing problems, or hardware breakage.
Complications from gastric band surgery are rare, but you should be aware of them and discuss any concerns with your surgical team.