How Gastric Banding (aka Lap-Bands) Works

Gastric banding is a minimally invasive, quick, and reversible bariatric surgery. The process decreases the size of your stomach so you can only tolerate small portions, eat less, and lose weight.

During the procedure, your surgeon places an inflatable band around the top portion of your stomach. Many people successfully lose significant weight with gastric banding, and the procedure is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Christopher Reilly of West Houston Surgical Associates is an expert in bariatric procedures and can help you learn more to determine if a laparoscopic gastric band — also known as a Lap-Band — is a good option for you.

What is the process of getting a gastric band?

During gastric band surgery, Dr. Reilly places a silicone band around the upper part of your stomach. This procedure is done under general anesthesia through one to five small incisions. Usually, it’s performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning you go home the same day. The band effectively reduces your stomach’s size so you can only eat small portions at a time.

A tube is attached the band and is accessible through a port that’s inserted just underneath your abdominal skin. The band is completely adjustable. After the initial surgery, Dr. Reilly injects a saline solution into the band to inflate it. He can adjust how inflated the band is, which changes the degree of constriction.

Who is a candidate for gastric band surgery?

Gastric banding is appropriate if you have severe obesity, meaning your BMI (body mass index) is above 40. If you have obesity-related problems such as hypertension and sleep apnea, you may qualify for gastric banding at a slightly lower BMI.

What are the benefits of gastric band surgery?

Gastric banding can help you lose 40% to 60% of excess weight, quickly. The surgery tends to have faster recoveries than other forms of bariatric surgery, and because small incisions are used, you also have a decreased risk of infection and hernia following surgery. Gastric banding is the least invasive type of bariatric surgery; it’s also considered the safest.

Losing significant amount of weight can improve your health. When you’re closer to a healthy weight, you have a lower risk of diabetes, heart diseases, arthritis, and high blood pressure.

With gastric band surgery, you don’t have to worry about malabsorption. Everything you eat is readily digested and absorbed. The Lap-Band is also adjustable and reversible. If you’re not losing weight at an acceptable rate, Dr. Reilly may tighten the band, or if you’re experiencing serious side effects, such as vomiting, due to stomach restriction, he may loosen it.

What dietary changes happen after surgery?

Immediately after surgery, you’re restricted to clear liquids such as water and broth or other thin soups. After these first few days, you consume mostly liquids, pureed vegetables, and yogurt for about four weeks. Between weeks four and six, you introduce soft foods such as bananas and scrambled eggs. After week six, you’re not restricted to particular foods, but your portions are smaller and the content should be nutrient-rich. Because you’re eating less, it’s important that everything you eat is of the highest nutritional quality.

If you are considering gastric banding surgery or another form of weight-loss surgery, West Houston Surgical Associates can help. Call our office, or request an appointment using the online tool.

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