Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding
What is Gastric Banding Surgery?
Gastric banding, also known as laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB), is a minimally invasive weight loss surgery. The procedure involves placing an adjustable silicone band around the upper part of the stomach, creating a small pouch. This restricts the amount of food the stomach can hold, which promotes a feeling of fullness and helps you eat less.
Unlike other bariatric surgeries, such as gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy, gastric banding does not involve cutting or removing any part of the stomach or digestive system. This makes it a less invasive and potentially reversible option for weight loss.
Who is a Candidate for Gastric Banding Surgery?
Gastric banding surgery is designed for individuals who have struggled to lose weight through traditional methods, such as diet and exercise. To qualify for the procedure, you typically must meet the following criteria:
- A body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35 or higher with at least one obesity-related health condition (e.g., diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea).
- A history of unsuccessful weight loss attempts through diet, exercise, or medication.
- Age between 18 and 65 (though some exceptions may apply).
- No medical or psychological conditions that would make the surgery too risky or compromise its effectiveness.
Keep in mind that the specific criteria may vary between surgeons and medical centers. A thorough evaluation will be required to determine if gastric banding is the right choice for you.
Benefits of Gastric Banding Surgery
Gastric banding surgery offers several benefits, including:
Weight loss: Most patients experience significant and lasting weight loss, which may vary depending on individual factors such as commitment to lifestyle changes and post-operative care.
Improved health conditions: Losing weight can help alleviate or resolve obesity-related health issues, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea.
Enhanced quality of life: Successful gastric banding patients often report increased energy levels, improved mobility, and a boost in self-esteem.
Potential Risks and Complications
As with any surgery, gastric banding carries some risks. Short-term risks include infection, bleeding, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. Long-term risks and complications specific to gastric banding include:
Band slippage or erosion: The gastric band may slip out of place or erode into the stomach, requiring additional surgery to reposition or remove it.
Nutrient deficiencies: Limited food intake can lead to deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, so supplementation may be necessary. To learn more, read our Complete Guide to Nutrition After Bariatric Surgery.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Some patients may experience GERD symptoms after surgery.
Preparing for Gastric Banding Surgery
Choosing the right surgeon and facility is crucial. Look for a board-certified bariatric surgeon with experience in gastric banding procedures. Additionally, consider facilities that provide comprehensive pre- and post-operative care, including nutritional counseling and psychological support.
Before the surgery, you will undergo several evaluations and tests to ensure you're a suitable candidate. These may include blood tests, imaging studies, and consultations with specialists such as cardiologists or pulmonologists. Nutritional counseling and support are also essential, as you'll need to make significant dietary changes before and after the surgery. Furthermore, preparing mentally and emotionally for the lifestyle changes ahead is crucial for long-term success.
The Gastric Banding Surgery Procedure
The gastric banding surgery is typically performed laparoscopically, meaning it is minimally invasive and involves smaller incisions. Here's a step-by-step description of the procedure:
Anesthesia: You will be given general anesthesia to ensure you're asleep and pain-free during the surgery.
Laparoscopic entry: The surgeon will make a few small incisions in your abdomen to insert the laparoscope (a thin tube with a camera) and surgical instruments.
Band placement: The adjustable silicone band is placed around the upper part of your stomach, creating a small pouch.
Band adjustment: The band is connected to an access port placed under the skin, which allows the surgeon to adjust the band's tightness after the surgery.
Closing the incisions: The surgeon will close the incisions with sutures or staples and apply sterile dressings.
The procedure usually takes about 1-2 hours, and most patients can return home the same day or after a short hospital stay.
Life After Gastric Banding Surgery
After the surgery, it's important to adhere to the recommended dietary changes, exercise regimen, and follow-up appointments. Here's what to expect:
Dietary changes: Initially, you'll need to follow a liquid diet, gradually progressing to pureed foods, soft foods, and finally regular foods. Portion sizes will be significantly smaller, and you'll need to eat slowly and chew thoroughly.
Exercise and physical activity: Regular physical activity is vital for weight loss success. Start with gentle exercises as approved by your surgeon, and gradually increase intensity as you heal.
Adjusting to a new lifestyle: Gastric banding is a tool to assist you in losing weight, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial for long-term success. This includes making healthier food choices, staying active, and attending support groups or therapy sessions if needed.
Coping with emotional challenges: Weight loss surgery can bring about emotional challenges, such as dealing with body image issues or adjusting to new eating habits. It's essential to seek support from friends, family, or professionals to navigate these changes.
Gastric Banding Surgery Success Stories
Hearing from others who have successfully undergone gastric banding surgery can be inspiring and reassuring. Many patients report significant weight loss, improved health, and increased confidence in their appearance and abilities. To maximize your chances of success, learn from their experiences and consider their tips and advice, such as being patient, staying committed to lifestyle changes, and seeking support when needed. If you want to hear stories from actual bariatric patients, check out our Bariatric Stories blog, written by bariatric patients.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much weight can I expect to lose after gastric banding surgery? Weight loss varies among individuals, but on average, patients can expect to lose 40-50% of their excess weight within the first year. Long-term success depends on adherence to dietary guidelines, exercise, and follow-up care.
Will my insurance cover gastric banding surgery? Many insurance companies cover weight loss surgery, including gastric banding, if specific criteria are met. Check with your insurance provider to confirm coverage and requirements.
Can the gastric band be removed or adjusted? Yes, the gastric band can be adjusted, tightened, or loosened, depending on your needs. In some cases, it can also be removed, but this should be discussed with your surgeon.
- American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). (n.d.). Bariatric Surgery Procedures. Retrieved from https://asmbs.org/patients/bariatric-surgery-procedures
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). (2020, February). Types of Bariatric Surgery. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/bariatric-surgery/types
- Obesity Action Coalition (OAC). (n.d.). Adjustable Gastric Banding (AGB). Retrieved from https://www.obesityaction.org/community/bariatric-surgery-adjustable-gastric-banding
- Cleveland Clinic. (2019, February 12). Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/8311-laparoscopic-adjustable-gastric-banding
- American College of Surgeons. (n.d.). Bariatric Surgery. Retrieved from https://www.facs.org/education/patient-education/bariatric-surgery
- UPMC. (n.d.). Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band Surgery. Retrieved from https://www.upmc.com/services/bariatrics/surgery-process/types/gastric-band