The gastric banding procedure uses an adjustable gastric band which is designed to help you lose excess body weight, improve weight-related health conditions, and enhance your quality of life. It reduces the stomach capacity and restricts the amount of food that can be consumed at one time. The gastric banding procedure does not require stomach cutting and stapling or gastrointestinal re-routing to bypass normal digestion. The gastric banding procedure is the only adjustable and reversible weight-loss surgery available in the United States and the only weight-loss surgery approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The gastric banding procedure is a silicone ring designed to be placed around the upper part of the stomach and filled with saline on its inner surface. This creates a new, smaller stomach pouch that can hold only a small amount of food, so the food storage area in the stomach is reduced. The band also controls the stoma (stomach outlet) between the new upper pouch and the lower part of the stomach. When the stomach is smaller, you feel full faster, while the food moves more slowly between your upper and lower stomach as it is digested. As a result, you eat less and lose weight.
A Minimally Invasive Procedure
During the procedure, surgeons usually use laparoscopic techniques (making tiny incisions rather than a large incision and inserting long-shafted instruments through “ports,” to wrap the gastric band around the patient's stomach. A narrow camera is passed through a port so the surgeon can view the operative site on a nearby video monitor. Like a wristwatch, the band is fastened around the upper stomach to create the new stomach pouch that limits and controls the amount of food you eat. The band is then locked securely in a ring around the stomach.
Since there is no stomach cutting, stapling, or gastrointestinal re-routing involved in the gastric banding procedure, it is considered the safest, least invasive, and least traumatic of all weight-loss surgeries. The laparoscopic approach to the surgery also has the advantages of reduced post-operative pain, shortened hospital stay, and quicker recovery. If for any reason the gastric band needs to be removed, the stomach generally returns to its original form.
Adjustable Weight Loss
Once placed around the stomach, tubing connects the gastric band to an access port fixed beneath the skin of your abdomen. This allows the surgeon to change the stoma (stomach outlet) size by adding or subtracting saline, or saltwater, inside the inner balloon through the access port. This adjustment process helps determine the rate of weight loss. If the band is too loose and weight loss is inadequate, adding more saline can reduce the size of the stoma to further restrict the amount of food that can move through it. If the band is too tight, the surgeon will remove some saline to loosen the band and reduce the amount of restriction.
The diameter of the band can be modified to meet your individual needs, which can change as you lose weight. For example, pregnant patients can expand their band to accommodate a growing fetus, while patients who aren't experiencing significant weight loss can have their bands tightened.
The gastric banding procedure is also the only adjustable weight-loss surgery available in the United States to help maintain restriction and keep the weight off long-term.
Gastric Band Advantages
- The least invasive surgical option
- No intestinal re-routing
- No cutting or stapling of the stomach wall or bowel
- Small incisions and minimal scarring
- Reduced patient pain, length of hospital stay and recovery period
Fewer Risks and Side Effects
- Significantly lower mortality risk compared to other weight-loss surgeries
- Low risk of nutritional deficiencies associated with gastric bypass
- Reduced risk of hair loss
- No “dumping syndrome” related to dietary intake restrictions
- Allows individualized degree of restriction for an ideal rate of weight-loss
- Adjustments performed without additional surgery
- Supports pregnancy by allowing stomach outlet size to be opened to accommodate increased nutritional needs
- The only surgical option designed to help maintain long-term weight loss
- Removable at any time
- Stomach and other anatomy are generally restored to their original forms and functions
Effective Long-Term Weight Loss
- More than 250,000 gastric banding procedures performed worldwide
- Standard of care for hundreds of surgeons around the world
- Academic publications with up to 10 years of follow-up.