Gastric banding is a surgical procedure to fit an adjustable 'band' around the stomach using keyhole (laparoscopic/minimally invasive) surgery. The procedure is known more precisely as a 'laparoscopic adjustable gastric band', but it is also commonly referred to as 'lap band surgery', 'gastric banding' or 'gastric band surgery'. It is a different procedure to gastric sleeve surgery (sleeve gastrectomy).
A gastric band is made from high grade medical silicon* and has the effect of slowing down the passage of food through the stomach once placed around the stomach, which in turn restricts the quantity of food that can be eaten at any one time. People with a gastric band in place feel full after smaller meals and do not feel hungry as quickly after a meal. The net result of this over time is a decrease in food intake and a gradual weight reduction and an increased likelihood of being able to maintain a healthy weight on a long-term basis.
The major advantages of gastric banding are that 1) it is adjustable if needed, and 2) the procedure is reversible - the band can be removed completely at a later date.
A gastric band procedure will only benefit a patient when it is part of a weight loss program which incorporates a whole new approach to food and eating. Simple changes, such as eating more slowly and chewing food more before swallowing, will ensure the greatest chance of gastric band surgery helping a patient to reach their target weight.
Statistics for people undergoing gastric banding are encouraging - the average patient loses over half (56%) of their excess weight and is able to maintain their new weight over at least a three-year period after surgery.
Gastric banding is a laparoscopic (keyhole surgery) procedure where small incisions (0.5-2.5cm) are made around the stomach to enable the band to be fitted. The surgeon uses special surgical instruments equipped with a video camera to position the band in place and then fixes it with stitches to ensure it does not move out of place.
A gastric banding procedure is carried out under general anaesthetic and takes around 60 minutes to complete.
As is the case with all laparascopic procedures, recovery time is short, with most patients out of bed and drinking liquids 2-3 hours after surgery. An overnight stay in hospital for observation is generally recommended and most patients are able to resume day-to-day activities a few days after surgery. Patients are able to return to work a week after surgery once they have recovered and become accustomed to the gastric band.
* This material is durable and safe, as well as being soft and comfortable.