Weight loss and healthy living are lifelong processes, and certainly not easy ones, especially for those who live with the disease of obesity.
Yet, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight have positive effects on:
- Blood pressure
- Heart function
- Sleep habits
- Bone health
- Skin health
- Mental and emotional well-being
For some people who have tried losing weight with no results, weight loss surgery may be an alternative. Gastric banding is one of the least invasive and the only adjustable surgical weight loss option available in the United States.
A gastric band is a flexible silicone ring that is placed around the upper part of the stomach and filled with saline. The band divides the stomach, leaving a new, smaller stomach pouch above the band and a larger part below the band. Since both areas of the stomach are reduced in size, they can hold only a small amount of food. The band also controls the outlet between the two parts of the stomach that regulates blood flow. Because that outlet is smaller, the patient feels full sooner and generally does not feel hungry between meals.
The surgeon can change the size of the outlet between the two parts of the stomach by adding or removing saline from the band. By adjusting the size of the band, the surgeon can help control the patient's weight loss. If the band is too loose and the patient isn’t losing enough weight, adding saline can further restrict the amount of food that moves through the outlet. If the band is too tight and the patient is losing weight too quickly, removing saline can loosen the band and allow more food to be consumed. Adjustments are made by your physician during regular office visits. Adjustments are painless and administered through the port for your band that was installed during surgery.
More than 120,000 people worldwide have had gastric band surgery. The procedure is typically done laparoscopically through small incisions. Aside from decreasing incision size, laparoscopic procedures usually lessen postoperative pain and may shorten hospital stays.
There is no cutting or stapling of the stomach or bypassing of the intestines. If for any reason the band needs to be removed, the stomach generally returns to its original form.
On average, most patients should expect a gradual weight loss, approximately one to two pounds per week during the first year. Weight loss is much slower with a gastric band than with gastric bypass. Individual excess weight loss results may vary. As with all surgical weight loss procedures, participation in Norton Weight Management Services’ support network is vital to success. Patients who participate in the monthly support groups and continue to keep in contact with program staff report higher rates of success.
You should consult your doctor for a complete list of potential complications and about the following risks and complications:
- Pulmonary embolus – a blood clot that can travel to the lungs and cause death.
- Heart attack – occurs when the heart does not get enough blood.
- Stroke – occurs when the brain does not get enough blood.
- Bleeding – a risk during any surgery and can be mild, requiring no treatment; moderate, requiring a transfusion; or heavy, requiring an operation to determine the source of the bleeding.
- Death – a possibility during any surgery.
There also are complications that can occur directly from the gastric banding system. However, less than 1 percent of patients report or experience such problems.
- The band can slip.
- The stomach pouch can enlarge.
- The band can be too tight, creating an obstruction.
- The band can erode into the stomach.
For more information about Norton Weight Management Services or to schedule a free information session, call (800) 852-1770 or (502) 629-1234.