How it is Performed
|Placement of gastric banding|
During the procedure, surgeons usually use laparoscopic techniques (using small incisions and long-shafted instruments) to implant an inflatable silicone band into the patient’s abdomen. Like a wristwatch, the band is fastened around the upper stomach to create a new, tiny stomach pouch that limits the amount of food you eat. It also creates a small outlet that slows the emptying process into the residual stomach and intestines. As a result, patients experience an earlier sensation of fullness, making it easier for patients to lose weight by consuming less food.
Minimal Surgical Trauma
One Since there is no division of the stomach, the gastric banding procedure is described as being less traumatic compared to other weight-loss surgeries. As with the gastric bypass, the laparoscopic approach to the surgery offers the advantages of reduced post-operative pain, shortened hospital stay and quicker recovery.
Some of the improvements that have been made with respect to the band involve the adjustability. The new bands are more finely adjustable than the old ones. This has made it easier for doctors and patients to work together to find a “tightness” that is right for that individual patient. A patient has to be prepared to make frequent visits to the doctor’s office for these adjustments. If a patient lives far from their surgeon, and cannot return for frequent adjustments, then a band is not advisable for this person.
To modify the size of the band, its inner surface can be inflated or deflated with a saline solution, as indicated in the videos here:
The band is connected by tubing to an access port, which is placed below the skin on the upper abdomen during surgery. After the operation, the surgeon adjusts the amount of saline in the band by entering the port with a fine needle through the skin. Generally, patients require 4 (sometimes up to 10) adjustments in the initial months after surgery, to obtain the appropriate degree of “tightness” that will allow them to feel full on a small amount of food. The band may require further adjustments as months and years pass, so patients need to be committed to frequent doctor visits.