Gastric bands: How it works, the process of surgery and who should have it
Gastric band surgery is becoming an increasingly popular way to lose weight, providing that all other methods of weight loss have not worked. In this article, we will discuss what it is and whether it is right for you.
What is gastric band surgery?
Gastric band surgery is a common type of weight-loss surgery for people who are very overweight or severely obese, and it involves having a band put around the top part of your stomach, to prevent you from eating as much. If you have had this procedure done, you need to eat little and often, compared to eating 3 large meals a day. This can help you eat less and more slowly, and can be adjusted by a doctor through injecting under the skin into a port, so as you begin to lose weight this band can loosen.
How does it work?
A silicone band is fitted around the upper portion of your stomach, leading to less intake of food as you feel full quicker, and are also physically unable to eat large meals. This ensures that you steadily lose the right amount of weight. This is usually a surgery recommended as a last resort if other weight loss methods have been unsuccessful, however there are high success rates to gastric band surgery providing you follow all recommended aftercare.
Who should be given the surgery?
If you have already tried other weight loss methods such as exercise, dieting and medication, and have a BMI of over 40, then surgery could be an option for you. This is individual dependant on personal circumstances such as any other long term health conditions, and if you are prepared to attend regular appointments to follow up. If you have diabetes, or high blood pressure then you could be offered the surgery with a BMI above 35.
What are the benefits and risks?
There are a few risks to gastric band surgery which include going under aesthetic, infection, blood clots and bleeding. There is the potential for the band to slip, damaging other organs and needing to be removed. In the long term, there are many benefits to the surgery if it is successful and you follow all necessary aftercare, as it can allow you to lose a significant amount of weight. This in turn can reduce the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, urinary incontinence, and improved quality of life, from a physical and mental standpoint.