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How does gastric band surgery work?

The gastric band, also called laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB), is one of the safest and least invasive operations available to treat obesity. It is most commonly performed on patients with a BMI greater than 35, or on patients with a BMI of more than 30 with one or more obesity-related medical conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea or type 2 diabetes.

How the band works

In gastric banding, the bariatric surgeon uses a laparoscope with a camera to make a few tiny cuts (keyhole incisions) in the abdomen. The surgeon then places an adjustable silicone band around the top part of the stomach, leaving a tiny pouch that can hold a very small amount of food.

A plastic tube attached to the band is accessible through a port under the skin of the abdomen. The bariatric surgeon injects saline solution into the band through this port to inflate the band and make it tighter. Saline can also be removed to alter the degree of constriction around the stomach. The ability to tighten or loosen the band helps reduce side effects and improve weight loss.

General anesthesia is used during the surgery, and the procedure usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes. Patients typically go home the day after the procedure.

Side effects and results of the gastric band

Gastric banding is designed to restrict the amount of food that your stomach can hold so you feel full sooner and lose weight, without reducing the absorption of calories and nutrients.

The most common issues experienced following gastric banding are:

  • Nausea and vomiting, which can often be reduced by adjusting the tightness of the band.
  • Minor surgical complications, such as wound infections or minor bleeding, which occur less than 10 percent of the time.

Since the gastric band does not interfere with food absorption, vitamin deficiencies following this procedure are rare.

As with all bariatric procedures, results will vary from person to person. However, on average, gastric banding leads to a loss of approximately 35 to 45 percent of excess weight. If necessary, the procedure can be reversed (i.e. the band can be removed), since the surgery does not alter the anatomy of the stomach.

Interested in the gastric band?

If you would like to find out more about gastric banding and see if you qualify, sign up for a free informational consultation with a weight loss surgeon at Dallas Bariatric Center today.

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