Gastric Band Surgery

Whether you are in the process of getting ready to have gastric band surgery or are still deciding, this article will help you understand how a gastric band or lap band procedure can benefit you. 

This article will help ease anxiety in regards to gastric banding and shed light on what this surgery can offer.

 

What is Gastric Band Surgery?

Gastric band surgery is a procedure that falls under the umbrella term “bariatric surgery." It is a weight loss procedure, performed to treat obesity that relies on the restriction of food.

Gastric band surgery utilizes an inflatable band that goes around the top portion of the stomach, known as the fundusThe band can then be inflated and deflated with saline in order to control the amount of food consumed, promoting a feeling of fullness when eating a small amount.

The band leaves a small opening that can result in food moving slowly through the stomach to help you stay fuller for longer. The volume of food is restricted while calories and nutrients/minerals are absorbed as usual. 

 

Is Gastric Band Surgery Safe?

There are no permanent modifications with this bariatric procedure. That being said, it is reversible. There is a lower risk of malnutrition and deficiencies. However, vitamin and mineral bariatric supplements are still recommended to compensate for decreased nutrient intake from food sources. 

Gastric band surgery is a less invasive option when compared to other bariatric procedures. With any surgery, there can be complications. 

gastric band

The long-term and short-term complications related to gastric bands may be easier to manage and treat than with other forms of weight loss surgery.

In terms of statistics, gastric band surgeries boast a 0% operative mortality rate - meaning that there have been no cases of patients passing away while in surgery. 

While this procedure is less invasive and may be a better fit for some individuals, studies have shown that over a 10 year period, 26% of individuals who has a gastric band underwent reoperation. 

With this surgery, patients have to be highly motivated and maintain lifestyle change. If there is lack of adherence to a bariatric diet after gastric band surgery, band prolapse and slippage can be of concern with overeating.

The risks associated with obesity far outweigh the risk of gastric band surgery. 

Benefits of Gastric Band Surgery

The primary goal of any bariatric surgery is weight loss. The benefits of gastric band procedures compared to other bariatric weight loss surgeries are listed below: 

  • Gastric band surgery is not as invasive as other bariatric surgeries, such as duodenal switch
  • Gastric band surgeries are solely restrictive, so there is no risk of malabsorption
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Shorter transition to regular foods
  • The band can be adjusted in order to better meet weight loss goals 
  • Gastric band surgery can be reversed, while other surgeries typically cannot

Cons of Gastric Band Surgery

  • Less weight loss when compared to the other procedures (average of 40% to 50% excess weight loss)
  • Can result in re-operation due to an increase in band size from lack of adherence to a strict diet after surgery or mechanical issues concerning slippage
  • Suited for someone that is highly motivated regarding diet and lifestyle change postoperative to ensure positive weight loss results

    Gastric Band Surgery Recovery

    Recovery time will differ based on the individual. Typically, it should take one week before you return to work that is not physically demanding.

    Everyday tasks can be resumed after about 6 weeks. This is a relatively short recovery period when compared to other bariatric surgeries. 

    After surgery, it is important that the foods you consume are nutrient-dense, meaning containing high vitamin and mineral content. This can include vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and fruits.  

    It may be challenging to ensure that your intake of vitamins and minerals are adequate when food volume is restricted. To meet daily protein goals, it may be necessary to take bariatric meal replacements. One option could be using a bariatric protein soup as a meal, which is satisfying and nutritionally balanced. 

    You will still be required to take a bariatric multivitamin in order to ensure your restricted food intake is not diminishing your vitamin and mineral intake. Consult with your healthcare provider on what vitamin regimen would be suitable for your individual needs. 

    Optimizing all of your meals will be important to ensure that the volume you are eating contains the necessary vitamins, minerals, and protein that your body requires for wound healing and recovery. 

     

    Gastric Band Surgery Requirements

    One of the gastric band surgery requirements is that your BMI should be

    gastric band surgery

    between 35 to 39.9 with other obesity-related complications. This would include type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular complications. 

    You may also qualify with a BMI of 40 and above. 

    This surgery is not recommended for people who have drug and alcohol dependencies or for people who have uncontrolled psychological disorders. 

     

    Insurance and Costs

    If you are considering gastric band surgery, the cost can range between $9,000 and $16,000 if you are not with private insurance. The average is typically around $15,000. 

    Depending on the insurance company, coverage can vary. Bariatric procedures are a "last resort" when other conventional weight loss methods fail. The insurance companies usually require documentation of other weight loss methods that have failed for you. 

    Insurance companies do not always cover bariatric surgery, so it is advisable to check if the procedure will be covered by your insurance provider.

     

    Additional Information

    For more information regarding bariatric surgery, you should also consider reading these articles: 

     

    **This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition. A qualified healthcare professional can best assist you in deciding whether a dietary supplement is suitable based on your individual needs.