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Medically Reviewed April 2023, by Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396) - founder of the Cadogan Clinic and one of the world's leading plastic surgeons
Gastric banding is a popular form of weight loss surgery, suitable for people who are very overweight or clinically obese. The procedure is quite straightforward and involves placing an adjustable silicone band around the top part of the stomach to create a small pouch. Because it takes less food to fill the pouch than to fill the stomach, this means you feel full more quickly. As a result, you reduce the amount you eat, which leads to weight loss.
The gastric band can be tightened or loosened and it may need tightening several times before the surgeon finds the right level for you. This tightness affects how quickly food passes from the pouch down to the stomach.
Gastric bands can be removed, so unlike other weight loss surgeries, gastric band surgery is reversible. It also comes with fewer risks and a faster recovery time than other weight loss surgeries, such as a gastric bypass.
However having a gastric band fitted is only part of the process. If you choose this type of weight loss surgery you should be prepared to follow a healthy lifestyle after the procedure in order to enjoy the best results.Get in touch
The ultimate goal of gastric band surgery is to lose weight, but having a gastric band will also help to improve overall physical and mental health.
A gastric band will prevent you from developing serious health conditions and help you to better manage existing medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or Type 2 diabetes. In some cases, weight loss surgery, including gastric band surgery, has been proven to cause long-term remission of Type 2 diabetes in some patients. The majority of people suffering with sleep apnea also find that the condition goes into remission in the year following gastric band surgery.
Gastric band surgery helps to improve cardiovascular health, greatly reducing the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease. By losing weight you are also putting less pressure on your joints, lessening the likelihood of joint damage and joint pain. The weight loss resulting from gastric band surgery can also help to improve fertility, cut miscarriage risk and reduce preganncy complications in women.
People who are overweight or obese feel self-concious about their weight which triggers anxiety and depression. Losing weight via a gastric band usually results in a marked improvement in a person’s mental health.
You would be considered a suitable candidate for a gastric band if you have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more, or a BMI of between 35 and 40 with an obesity-related health condition, such as high blood pressure or Type 2 diabetes. You must be fit enough to have a general anaesthetic and for the surgery to go ahead.
Gastric band surgery should only be considered if all other weight loss methods, such as dieting and exercise, have failed. In order to get the best results from your gastric band surgery, you must be willing to commit to long-term lifestyle changes.
However there are some long-term health conditions which, if you have them, may mean that you are unsuitable for gastric band surgery. These conditions include inflammatory bowel disease, acid reflux and Barrett’s oesophagus. You may also be excluded from having a gastric band if you have certain psychological disorders. Your surgeon must be satisfied that you are in good mental health ahead of gastric band surgery.
Words from our clients:
"I was extremely satisfied with the care and treatment I received at the Cadogan Clinic. My surgeon was friendly and informative and explained the procedure fully. My procedure went very well and with the excellent care of the nursing staff, I made a speedy and full recovery. Would recommend to anyone."Eva Berry
"At the beginning before the operation the nurse taking care of me made me feel so comfortable. The surgeon and anesthetist helped me feel so calm. Fantastic before and after treatment"Scarlett Elliott
"The girls on the reception at the clinic were very pleasant and professional. The nurse who took out my stitches after my surgery was just lovely and took me through step by step what she was doing and she also recommended a great cream to use to help with healing."Georgina Nolan
“I was treated with care and provided with thorough knowledge about the procedure I was undertaking. My surgeon was very methodical (a perfectionist) and I felt I received A class treatment."Courtney O'Sullivan
"Outstanding experience from the first appointment to being discharged. Very professional, friendly and a fantastic outcome."Gemma Stevenson
"Reception staff very welcoming and efficient. Both nurses who I dealt with were fantastic, and the whole team (anaesthetist, surgeon etc) were friendly but professional, and really put my mind at ease. That I was able to stay later than I perhaps needed after my surgery to fit in with my husbands schedule was greatly appreciated."Emma Davies
A gastric band is fitted at the top of the stomach, creating a small pouch, roughly the size of a golf ball, that fills up more quickly when you eat. The band controls the rate in which the food is emptied from the pouch into the stomach. As a result you feel fuller for longer.
By effectively shrinking the size of your stomach, you will eat less and will soon begin to lose weight. The gastric band is connected to a small tubing device which is placed under the skin and fat, usually somewhere near the middle of the chest. This makes it easier for the band to be tightened or loosened after your gastric band surgery.
The band will need to be tightened in around four to six weeks after your gastric band surgery. This is an easy process and is done by injecting the device with a salt water solution via a needle passed through the skin. This procedure is not painful and does not require any anaesthetic.
The band may need to be tightened or loosened several times in the months following the surgery in order to find a suitable restriction. Gastric bands allow for slow, continuous weight loss and should not be viewed as a quick fix solution.
Unlike other weight loss surgery methods, a gastric band is reversible. However, once removed, you will find that you begin to eat more again and there is a risk that the weight you lost will be put back on.
Below you will find some key information to help you prepare for surgery and make necessary arrangements to ensure you have the support you need and that everything runs smoothly on the day.
The first step for all of our patients is to meet with the surgeon we feel is best placed to perform your procedure for a consultation.
At the consultation you will be able to discuss with your surgeon what your hope to achieve from the procedure, as well as discuss in detail what may or may not be possible.
Finally a comprehensive discussion regarding risks and complications will take place, alongside a discussion regarding the post procedure and recovery phase. Your previous medical history will also be recorded (including previous surgery, medications, allergies etc.) and an assessment of your fitness for surgery.
If your surgeon feels you are a good candidate for surgery, you are then invited to consider whether you would like to proceed for surgery or otherwise following a two week 'cooling off' period.
Within this period you are welcome to come in and discuss your potential surgery with your surgeon as many times as you like.
02.Leading up to procedure
If you choose to proceed with surgery, the next time you come into the Clinic after your final consultation will be the day of your procedure.
Before admission the following behavioural changes are recommended / required:
03.On the day
Gastric band surgery is carried out under a general anaesthetic using keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery. This involves making several small incisions in the abdomen, rather than a large cut.
The band will be put in place to create the pouch and the fine piece of tubing which is attached to the band will be connected to an injection port. This will allow the surgeon to tighten or loosen the band quickly and easily. This port is located under the skin and is not visible.
The incisions are then closed using dissolvable stitches. The whole procedure takes between one and two hours.
After the procedure is complete, you will need to rest and wait for the effects of the anaesthetic to wear off. You may need pain relief.
Gastric band surgery can be carried out as a day case, but sometimes a patient may need to stay overnight. You must leave the clinic accompanied by a responsible friend or family member.
After having a gastric band fitted, it will take a while for you to be able to eat solid foods again. In the first few days your diet will consist of liquid foods, such as thin soup, progressing to runny or puréed foods and then eating soft foods like mashed potato. You should expect to be eating normally from around six weeks onwards. This varies from person to person and your consultant will discuss this in detail with you before your surgery. You should not do any heavy lifting or drive in the fortnight after your gastric band surgery.
You should be able to return to work and your other day-to-day activities between one to two weeks after the procedure. As part of your treatment with the Cadogan Clinic, you will have access to 24/7 on-call nurse assistance for the duration of your recovery.
You will need to return to the clinic for follow up appointments in order to have your gastric band adjusted to ensure you are steadily losing the desired amount of weight.
It is important that you follow all the aftercare advice issued by your surgeon in order to see the best results from your gastric band surgery.
The Patient Journey. A breakdown of what you can expect on your journey with us
We are deeply invested in ensuring that every step of your surgical journey with us is as informative and reassuring to you as it can be. This article outlines what you can expect at each stage of the journeyThe Patient Journey
How long does gastric band surgery last?
A gastric band can last for many years. Gastric bands are made out of silicone, which is durable and safe. A gastric band can be left in situ for as long as desired.
Gastric band surgery can be reversed if you decide to have your band removed in the future. The band can be removed via keyhole surgery in a procedure which takes around 30-40 minutes in total.
There is a small risk of the gastric band slipping out of place, deflating or leaking. If this is the case, the band can be repositioned or replaced if needed. There is also a very small risk of the band working its way through the stomach wall. If this happens, then the band will need to be removed immediately.
Is gastric band surgery painful?
Gastric band surgery is not painful. The procedure itself is carried out under a general anaesthetic. This means that you will be unconscious and not able to feel the incisions being made or the gastric band being put in place.
When you wake up after gastric band surgery, you may find that you are experiencing pain or discomfort. If this is the case, our nursing team will administer painkillers. Once you have left the clinic, any pain or discomfort can be controlled with over-the-counter painkillers.
As part of your treatment journey with the Cadogan Clinic, you will have access to 24/7 on-call nurse assistance for the duration of your recovery.
What is the success rate of gastric banding?
Most people who have had a gastric band fitted find that they will lose half their extra weight over a two year period.
The goal of gastric banding is slow and continuous weight loss, in the region of one to two pounds a week. It would be realistic to expect to lose in the region of 20 percent of your total body weight in the 12 to 18 months after gastric band surgery.
However the rate varies from person to person and not everyone loses as much weight as they would like after gastric band surgery. Other types of weight loss surgery, such as a gastric sleeve or gastric bypass, can achieve significant weight loss faster. However these weight loss surgeries are permanent and come with a higher risk of complications attached.
A gastric band can be removed, but you are likely to put back on the weight you have lost.
How much do I have to weigh to be eligible for a gastric band?
Your eligibility for a gastric band will be decided based on your Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is a useful benchmark for body weight and health.
To calculate your BMI, you have to divide your weight in kilograms by your height in metres. You then divide that answer by your height and this gives you your BMI.
To be eligible for gastric band surgery, you must have a BMI of 40 or more, or a BMI between 35 and 40 and a serious health condition that may improve with weight loss.
To put these figures in perspective, a BMI over 25 suggests you're overweight, while 30-39 indicates that you are obese. A BMI of 40 and above indicates that you are morbidly obese.
What changes should I make to my diet following gastric banding?
Gastric banding is a great way to lose weight in a healthy, controlled, manner. However, in order to enjoy the very best results from your gastric band surgery, you must be prepared to make key lifestyle changes. This includes eating a healthy, balanced diet. After your gastric band surgery, your consultant will provide you with guidance on how to make positive changes to the way you eat. You may need to start taking a daily supplement to make sure your body is getting all the vitamins and minerals it needs.
Once you have recovered from your gastric band surgery, you will need to exercise regularly, gradually increasing your activity levels.
You should aim to do regular activities which will leave you feeling out of breath and make your heart beat faster, such as swimming, cycling or brisk walking.
Founded in 2004 by world renowned plastic surgeon Mr Bryan Mayou, we now work with over 100 leading consultants and successfully treat over 20,000 patients each year. We have been winning industry awards since inception.About Us
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Gastric band surgery is not without risk. These risks include perforation of the stomach or oesophagus, stretching the oesophagus, difficulty swallowing, reflux, air in the chest cavity, infection at the site of the band, constipation or diarrhoea.
There is also a small risk of the gastric band slipping out of place. This can cause heartburn and feeling or being sick. You will need to have more surgery in order to put the gastric band back in place. Further surgery will also be required if the band has eroded, leaked or failed.
General complications from any type of surgery include wound infection, bleeding, pain, scarring, blood clots (deep vein thrombosis) and a reaction to the anaesthetic.
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