The gastric bypass surgery that I underwent may be the most common bariatric surgery, but it isn’t for everyone. To help you make a decision about weight-loss surgery options, I’m sharing a fact sheet on the adjustable gastric band surgery that I compiled when deciding if bariatric surgery was right for me.
Adjustable Gastric Band Surgery, REALIZE Band, LAP-BAND
Gastric Band Surgery: Medical Criteria
The gastric band surgery is indicated in patients with a BMI of 40 or more where diet, exercise and medicine have been unsuccessful or BMI of 30 or more with a comorbid condition such as Type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, or asthma. You will undergo an extensive screening process that will evaluate your psychological status (screening for depression, sexual abuse, eating disorders, etc.). A failed bariatric psych evaluation may not disqualify you from bariatric surgery, but it may postpone it. The bariatric surgeon will also review your medical history and look for risk factors that could make surgery unsafe such as blood clots, heart conditions, liver disease. You may also undergo a physical exam and lab work.
After you have been approved for gastric band surgery, you will need to make certain lifestyle changes before your surgery. They may include losing weight, bariatric diet and fluid restriction, smoking cessation, counseling to prepare you for your post-surgery life and possibly a program of exercise.
Gastric Band Surgery: How it Works
There are two different forms of gastric band surgery. The vertical banded gastroplasty has fallen out of favor due to less weight-loss and more complications. Approximately 5% of surgeons perform this type of gastric banding at all.
Laproscopic Adjustable Gastric Band surgery (AGB) is the second most common bariatric surgery and is the least invasive. Gastric bypass surgery is the most common weight-loss surgery and is more invasive than gastric band surgery. The gastric band decreases the size of the stomach by using a silicone band to portion off a part of the stomach and called the pouch. The pouch can only hold one ounce of food. A one inch wide opening is left at the bottom of the pouch so bypass is not necessary to reach the intestines. The silicone band can be adjusted via a plastic tube that runs from the band to just below the skin’s surface. Saline is injected by the bariatric surgeon through a port in the skin’s surface to make the band tighter. Saline can be removed to loosen the band. Banding works the same as bypass to make you feel full faster due to the smaller stomach pouch. The gastric band surgery does not interfere with food absorption like bypass does, so vitamin deficiency is not as much of a concern with banding as it is with bypass.
Gastric Band Surgery: Cost
The gastric band surgery costs $15,000-$20,000. Check with your insurance company because some will cover part or all of the surgery. Market research shows that approximately 80% of banding surgeries were covered in part by insurance.
Gastric Band Surgery: Recovery
Recuperation time for the gastric band surgery is comparatively faster. It is possible to have same-day gastric band surgery, so there may not be hospital recovery time. Recovery is generally considered to be 4 weeks post surgery although you should not expect to be eating solid foods until 6 weeks post surgery.
Gastric Band Surgery: Results
Average weight loss with the gastric band surgery is 40% of the excess weight. Like gastric bypass, banding is intended to produce permanent weight-loss over a period of years with the proper diet and exercise. Read: Success Habits of Weight Loss Surgery.
Long-term success rate of the gastric band has come under heavy fire due to a higher rate of risks (33% will develop gastric band complications) and the need for major re-operation (22% of patients). While some sources quote the average excess weight loss at around 60% at 8 years, others put it at only 33%.
Living larger than ever,
My Bariatric Life