Adjustable Gastric Band - Uses and Characteristics

There are few postoperative complications when an adjustable gastric band is inserted through laparoscopy. This is because there are usually no problems with scarring or infections.
Adjustable Gastric Band - Uses and Characteristics

Last update: 28 December, 2019

A laparoscopic adjustable gastric band is an inflatable silicone device placed around the top portion of the stomach. It’s for treating obesity and its purpose is to decrease food consumption so that people can lose weight.

Obesity is a chronic disease caused by multiple factors. It’s not only about a proper diet; it also decreases life expectancy and the risk of other illnesses such as diabetes.

The treatment of morbid obesity based only on diets doesn’t successfully control all the problems resulting from this disease in the long run. So, this kind of surgery is recommended in some cases. The placement of an adjustable gastric band isn’t just for losing weight and reaching an ideal weight – it’s also to improve the health of morbidly obese people.

In today’s article, we’ll explain what the procedure is all about.

What’s an adjustable gastric band?

An adjustable gastric band surgical technique is done with laparoscopy. This means a surgeon inserts it via a very small incision with the help of an instrument that goes in and allows them to see the inside of the abdomen.

After making the incision, they install an elastic band in the stomach. It sort of acts like a belt and compresses the upper part of the stomach, making it smaller. This way only a certain amount of food can enter.

The gastric band also slows down the passage of food into the intestine and helps with weight loss. The best part is that this process is reversible. In fact, a doctor can adjust it at any time without surgery.

A person on a scale.

What are the advantages of an adjustable gastric band?

As we’ve already mentioned, this is a laparoscopic procedure. This means it isn’t necessary to cut the abdomen open or to do invasive techniques. In addition, they don’t have to modify the anatomy of the stomach. And, as we mentioned before, the gastric band is a reversible procedure.

Another advantage is that it helps to reduce the rest of the health problems that come with morbid obesity. It’s a solution that a person must follow together with a healthy lifestyle. Eating a proper diet and exercising are essential requirements for its success.

The gastric band produces satiety and this helps people stop thinking about food. Estimates indicate that it helps patients lose about 50% of excess weight.

A patient undergoing this kind of surgery can go home a few hours after the procedure. In fact, there’s hardly any postoperative pain. In addition, the risk of poor healing or infection is minimal.

Disadvantages of the gastric band

As with everything, there are some drawbacks to this procedure. Interventions are usually necessary in cases of very severe obesity in the long term. This is because the gastric band can slip and lead to the stomach increasing in volume again.

Also, many studies link the gastric band with cases of gastroesophageal reflux and esophagitis. People must also be aware that weight loss occurs more slowly than with other procedures.

There is a period of adaptation after the placement of a gastric band, and some patients experience nausea and subsequent vomiting. Because of this, it’s even more important to control everything they eat and drink.

A woman eating.

How’s it different from other techniques?

There are other techniques for treating morbid obesity. Among them is the gastric balloon, which consists of introducing a balloon into the stomach. It fills with a solution and reduces stomach capacity by almost half.

The ball is usually inserted nasally, through the esophagus, and usually stays about six months in the stomach. However, it’s also necessary to change dietary habits while using it.

A gastric sleeve is a somewhat more complicated technique. It consists of stapling the stomach, greatly reducing its volume and general anesthetic is necessary for this procedure.

In conclusion

The placement of an adjustable gastric band is a surgical technique that helps in the treatment of morbid obesity. However, it’s not a solution that allows people to continue with a life full of excesses. It works best when complemented with a proper diet, exercise and a total change of attitude on the part of the patient.

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