There’s no denying the effectiveness of gastric band surgery (stomach banding). Most patients fitted with a gastric band can expect to lose around 50% of their excess weight within the first two years. However, it is far from a quick fix ‘miracle’ solution, and this form of obesity surgery involves as much will power and lifestyle adjustment as a diet and exercise weight management regime, if not more. It also carries the potential for complications, both from the surgery and throughout the life of the band.
So is gastric band surgery the right weight loss route for you? This article takes a look at the pros and cons of the procedure and some of the factors you should consider when making your choice.
This article on gastric band surgery is written by Jackie Griffiths, a freelance journalist who writes health, medical, biological, and pharmaceutical articles for national and international journals, newsletters and web sites.
What is a gastric band?
Gastric banding (stomach banding) is a kind of obesity surgery used to aid weight loss in obese patients who have failed to lose weight by conventional means. It consists of a physical barrier placed around your stomach, around three quarters of the way up, which creates a small pouch. The food you eat fills this pouch much quicker than it would fill your whole stomach, so you feel fuller sooner and eat less. The food then passes through the small opening left by the gastric band and continues along the normal digestive process.
Why have a gastric band?
People who choose to have gastric band surgery have usually tried all other methods of weight loss without success. Excess weight can cause a range of physical problems, from back pain and fatigue, to acid reflux and lack of mobility; it can have serious health risks including high blood pressure and heart disease, and can also cause a range of psychological and emotional problems, such as depression and low self esteem. Faced with these issues, and having failed to lose weight by other means, people turn to gastric band weight loss surgery as a last resort solution.
The biggest advantage of a gastric band is that it is almost guaranteed to work as you’re unable to eat excessive amounts of food any longer – the smaller stomach pouch simply does not have the capacity. Because of this it’s a very effective form of weight loss surgery, resulting in a weight reduction of between one and two pounds a week – that’s 3st 10lbs to 7st 6lbs per year.
Do you qualify for a gastric band?
To qualify for gastric band surgery you need to be over eighteen years of age, with a BMI index of around thirty-five or more. You also need to demonstrate that you have seriously tried to lose weight by other means, such as diet and exercise. This is particularly important as you will need to make some serious changes to your lifestyle to accommodate your gastric band. If you’ve failed at diets because you were not committed it’s more likely you won’t have the discipline to make the changes you need when the band is fitted.
You also need to be free from psychological problems and in reasonable physical condition, with no major heart or lung problems.