A stomach band will only work if you ban unhealthy food and incorporate lifestyle changes. But this procedure helps your body absorb nutrients, a big advantage over other procedures.
What is a Lap Band Surgery?
Obesity has become a growing concern over the past decade. Medically, obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of over 30 kg/m2. Surgical options are becoming a popular alternative to exercise and dieting for weight loss. One of the surgical treatments for obesity is called lap-band surgery. The Lap Band or the Gastric Band procedure is a restrictive weight loss surgery. It is one of the most frequently performed bariatric surgery.
What is the procedure?
During surgery, the Lap Band is placed around the top portion of the stomach directly below the food pipe. The surgeon uses laparoscopy (only a small incision made) to place an adjustable silicone band. Squeezed by the silicone band, the stomach becomes a pouch with a very small outlet. Now, the stomach can hold only about an ounce of food. The doctor can adjust the tightness of the band by inserting a small port under the skin and fat. The band is then filled with saline that compresses it around this area of the stomach. When ingested, food sits above this area giving the patient a full feeling until it slowly makes its way into the rest of the stomach where it goes through the normal digestion process. This makes the patient lose weight. However, it does not reduce hunger and snacking can lead to weight gain. A long-term dietary change is required after surgery. It's a quick, minimally invasive surgery. Although reversible, it requires another surgery.
Does the surgery really help lose weight?
Lap Bands can help the patient successfully lose approximately 40% of excess weight in one year only if a change in diet and lifestyle is made. Constant snacking and unhealthy foods can cause no weight loss or weight gain after weight loss. Many patients do not achieve expected results even after having food in small quantities after this surgery because they eat unhealthy food. Hence, gastric band procedure tends to work well for people who are committed to making a lifestyle change. It is not a quick fix.
What are the benefits of the surgery apart from weight loss?
Obesity-related co-morbidities like Acid Reflux Disease, diabetes and sleep apnea also improve after surgery.
What Are the Side Effects?
There are very few problems caused as a result of gastric banding surgery. The risk of death due to lap band surgery is less than one in 3,000. The most common problems after gastric banding surgery are:
- Nausea and vomiting: These can be reduced by adjusting the tightness of the band.
- Minor surgical complications These include wound infections or minor bleeding, and they occur less than 10% of the time.
Unlike gastric bypass surgery, gastric banding does not interfere with food absorption. Thus, vitamin deficiencies are rare after gastric banding.
Are there any complications/risks associated?
The complications associated with lap band surgery are typically less severe compared to other weight loss surgeries and complication rates from surgery are low but can still occur. These are:
- Band slip.
- Infection of band or port.
- Bleeding Damage to esophagus (food pipe) or liver.
What type of surgeons performs lap band surgery?
When looking for a surgeon, it is important to search for one who is a qualified bariatric surgeon. In general, the more surgeries performed the better. An experienced surgeon is a better option. Also, a surgeon who is part of a clinical team of nutritionists, nurses, psychologists, and physicians can provide better counseling and support in the pre- and postoperative period.