16 August 2008

Gastric Band Surgery is a type of weight loss surgery procedure performed to limit the amount of food a person can eat.

Gastric Band surgery is the only option today that effectively treats morbid obesity in people for whom more conservative measures such as diet, exercise, and medication have failed.

In Gastric Band Surgery, no part of the stomach is removed and the digestive process remains intact. A band (act like a belt) is used to separate the stomach into two parts, one of which is a very small pouch that can hold about one ounce of food. The food from this “new” stomach empties into the closed-off portion of the stomach and then resumes the normal digestive process. Over time, the pouch can expand to hold two to three ounces of food.

Because the size of the stomach is reduced so dramatically, this type of procedure is referred to as a restrictive procedure. With a smaller stomach, you will feel full a lot quicker than you are used to. This means that you will need to make big lifelong changes in how you eat-including smaller portion sizes and different foods-in order to lose weight.. Eating more than the stomach pouch can hold may result in nausea and vomiting.

It’s fitted using keyhole surgery in a one-hour operation under a general anaesthetic. The gastric band surgery procedure itself takes 30-45 minutes, on average, but allowing for time involved in administering the anaesthetic etc, the total time in theatre is about one hour. Most people are in hospital for no more than 1-2 days.

Gastric bands are silicone devices which work on the principle of hydraulics. In conventional gastric bands, an adjustment port is placed under the skin of the abdominal wall and, using a needle and syringe, the doctor can adjust the tightness of the stomach banding by either introducing or removing fluid from the system.

The band can be tightened or loosened to alter the amount of food that can be eaten and the rate at which it passes into the main part of the stomach – in fact, most people have their band adjusted several times in the early months until the setting is optimal for their individual weight loss. Complications are rare with this procedure – statistics show the death rate associated with this procedure is around 1 in every 2,000 operations.

These adjustments take only a few minutes and don’t require an anaesthetic. Whilst a gastric band is usually fitted with plans to leave it there permanently, one of the main advantages is that it can be removed without leaving any permanent changes to your stomach. Restrictive procedures pose fewer risks than gastric bypass procedures, but they are also less successful because continuous overeating can stretch the pouch so that it accommodates more food.
Estimated weight loss is approximately 40 - 50% of one's excess weight to be achieved over 2 years. However, you still need to be prepared to restrict what you eat. Ultimately, this involves pureeing all your food for around the first four weeks, followed by mashing for the next few weeks, before finally returning to solid food – and even then, you will only be able to eat small amounts.

In general, most patients find they are unable to easily tolerate red meat, pasta, rice, fresh bread and fibrous foods. You will be asked to eat three meals a day with one planned snack, chew your food very well and swallow slowly. You must only drink either no or low caloric beverages and wait at least one hour between eating and drinking.

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