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Gastric Band

Gastric Band
A gastric band (or Lap band) is made of soft, silicone rubber.

This band is placed around your stomach in such a way that the stomach is divided into two parts: a small 25ml capacity pouch above the band; with the remaining stomach below the band.

This has the effect of making the stomach smaller so that you eat less food yet still feel full. It also puts pressure on the nerves in the upper part of your stomach so that they signal your brain to tell you that you are not feeling hungry.

Because the operation is carried out laparoscopically (i.e. as keyhole surgery) it is minimally invasive and if all goes well you will be discharged from hospital the day after your surgery.

Is it effective?

Gastric band is found to be effective in achieving a significant amount of weight loss in many patients. Failure to lose weight can occur, and is usually due to the inability of the patient to comply with their dietary instructions, or in some cases to intolerance of some patients.

Is it adjustable?

The gastric band has an inflatable section which is connected by tubing to an injectable reservoir. The reservoir will be located below the left rib cage and buried in the abdominal wall. The inflatable section will enable the surgeon to adjust the size of the opening after surgery to ensure it continues providing optimum weight loss results by inserting a needle through the skin to remove or inject saline.

Is it reversible?

Unlike other weight loss procedures, the gastric band procedure is reversible. It does not involve removing or stapling parts of the stomach and does not reroute the digestive tract.

What are the risks?

There are risks, common to any major operation which requires general anaesthesia. Similarly, obesity surgery may also be associated with certain complications. Serious complications are rare and include wound infection, oesophageal stomach puncture, bleeding from the stomach, injury to the spleen, infection inside the abdomen, pneumonia or hernia in the wound. Other problems may occur. The band could move from where it has been placed, break or erode into the stomach.

How long will recovery take?

Your recovery should be fast and smooth, providing that you follow your post-operative dietitian's instructions. You should avoid any heavy lifting for four weeks to allow the wound to heal. If you have a desk job, you may return to work in one to two weeks. If your job requires heavy lifting, you should not return to work for four weeks.

You should not drive a car for 5-7 days, or fly for 10 days to a few weeks after discharge to avoid any liability in the event of an accident. Aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (for arthritis) must be avoided. You need to let your general practitioner know that these drugs must be avoided.

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