Gastric banding is a surgical procedure that involves fitting a band around the upper part of your
stomach. It is usually only recommended as a last resort for people who are morbidly obese (those with a BMI of over 40), or those with a BMI of between 30-40 who also have a condition that poses a serious health risk, such as diabetes,
high blood pressure (hypertension), or
If you are very obese, gastric banding can be used as a way of helping you to lose weight by controlling the amount of food that you eat.
How does gastric banding work?
Once the gastric band is in place it can be adjusted externally (outside the body) at any time by a surgeon. This means the band can be made either tighter or looser, depending on the amount of food your surgeon wants to restrict you from eating.
Your surgeon can make the band tighter by adding salt water (saline) into the band. This slows down the amount of food that can pass through your
stomach - meaning your stay feeling full for longer. To loosen the band, some of the salt water fluid is removed, meaning food passes through quicker to your digestive system. Generally, a gastric band is loose to start and then tightened when you are used to eating less food.
A gastric band is designed to remain permanently within your
stomach. However, it can be removed, and in the majority of cases leaves you with no permanent changes to your
stomach. The procedure to fit a gastric band can involve a certain degree of complication, for example there is a risk of infection, and in rare cases, leaking into your
stomach may occur.
Is gastric suitable for everyone?
Having a gastric band fitted is not suitable for everyone. If you have a particular condition, for example an illness related to your
lungs, your doctor and surgeon may feel the procedure is too risky to carry out.
Like all weightloss surgery procedures, they are not an easy fix. People think that once they have the surgery, "That's it!" "Everything is going to be much easier now!" It's only a tool. I know that if you've researched it at all you've probalby heard this before -- but it is so true and it cannot be said enough!
For some time it will be honeymoon of sorts, I'm almost 2 years post-op with a different procedure (RNY). I can tell you continuing to lose after the honeymoon is over is just as challenging as it was before.
Granted I have limitations to how much I can eat, but it's very easy to make the wrong choices. Wrong choices have consequences.
Plus, there's the whole mental/emotional side of the game. For me, sometimes I think this is the most challenging part. I still see myself at 350 lbs. when I look in the mirror. And even more important is addressing the issues at the root of the overeating to begin with. Anyone can learn what is right and wrong to eat and ex ercise everyday. If you can commit to that, in addition to doing the headwork, it could be a viable option for you.
That said, if you are considering it, take it seriously, and not just because insurance pays for it. It is no picnic. If I didn't suffer from Diabetes (I lost a grandmother to Type 2 and my other Granmother suffers daily) in addition to sleep apnea, I probably wouldn't have gone that route. I was essentially a walking timebomb.
It took me 2 years to make the decision and 3 different (and independent) doctors to say, "Hey, you'd make a good weight loss surgery candidate." for me to admit that maybe I needed help.
NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice,
diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your
physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere.
If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.