What is gastric band surgery?
Gastric band surgery, otherwise known as gastric banding or lapband surgery is a type of weight loss surgery that was developed in the 1980s and has been performed in Australia since 1992.
The procedure is performed laparoscopically (keyhole surgery) and involves the application of a soft silicone band placed around the top of the stomach creating a small upper pouch that limits the amount of food you are able to eat. The operation is performed under general anaesthetic and takes about 1 hour.
How does gastric band surgery assist in weight loss?
The surgery is restrictive and is designed to limit the amount of food you are able to eat and to slow down the eating process. The band is inflatable and applies gentle pressure on the stomach. Gastric band surgery limits how hungry you become due to the smaller stomach pouch created as well as feeling satisfied earlier.
How much excess weight is generally lost with gastric band surgery ?
There are different factors that will determine how much weight each individual will lose. Studies have shown the expected results from lap band surgery to be a loss of 40 – 50% of excess weight in 12-18 months.
This bariatric procedure works particularly well for patients who need big food portions to feel they are satisfied and for patients who have excessive hunger cravings. It also benefits patients who have been successful in losing weight with diet and exercise but struggle to stabilise and then regain the lost weight.
What are the other health benefits associated with gastric band surgery?
As with all weight loss surgery, there are significant health benefits associated with gastric band surgery. Psychological and medical problems associated with obesity that are improved or reversed from gastric band surgery include type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnoea, asthma, infertility, depression and anxiety, joint health and cardiovascular health.
What is the downside of gastric band surgery compared to other bariatric procedures?
Gastric band surgery has lower weight loss results in the short and long term than other bariatric procedures. You also need regular visits for the band to be adjusted to get results. The gastric band relies heavily on patient commitment and intensive follow-up for best outcomes.
The limitations of gastric band surgery has seen it decline in popularity although it still has a small presence in Australia, it is rarely offered as a surgical weight loss option overseas.
What are the risks and potential complications?
Risks and complications related to gastric band surgery include:
- Port revisions
- Pouch enlargement
- Band slippage ending in gastric strangulation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Port infection
- Erosion into stomach
- Perforation of the stomach
- Severe scaring around the stomach
Who qualifies for gastric band surgery?
If you have a BMI of 35, you are eligible for gastric band surgery. Your suitability as a patient for gastric band surgery unlike other bariatric procedures is also particularly lifestyle based. Dr Ozmen will be able to discuss your needs with you and guide you as to whether gastric band surgery is the right choice for you to deliver your expected weight loss results.
What is the cost?
Gastric band surgery is an elective procedure that in Australia is currently performed mainly in private hospitals. A portion of the cost for your surgery may be covered by your private health insurance and you may also be eligible to access your Superannuation funds due to the associated health benefits from weight loss surgery.
Please contact the Sydney GI Surgery team to discuss your needs and for an accurate assessment of the cost involved.
Recovery from gastric band surgery varies for each individual but is generally much quicker than other bariatric weight loss procedures. Dr Ozmen will discuss your specific risks with you prior to your surgery, however in general, gastric banding is a day only procedure and recovery will usually require 1 week. Normal activities can usually be resumed after one week, with full recovery anticipated in 2 weeks. After your gastric band you will be required to adopt a change in diet. Some foods will cause particular difficulty including white bread, chicken breast, white rice and fibrous fruits.
Life after gastric band surgery
The less invasive nature of this procedure has previously made gastric band surgery the popular choice for patients wanting to achieve weight loss. The limits are based around the ongoing commitment from the patient in regards to food intake, food cheating and ongoing band adjustments for successful weight loss.
Gastric band surgery is used as a tool for weight loss and more so than other weight loss procedures, its success requires an ongoing patient commitment to diet as well as lifestyle changes that include regular exercise.
Dr Ozmen will provide access to dieticians who specialise in weight loss surgery after care and can assist you in adopting a healthy eating plan post surgery.