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Laparoscopic gastric banding

How it works

Laparoscopic gastric banding is surgery to help with weight loss. The surgeon places a band around the upper part of your stomach to create a small pouch to hold food. The band limits the amount of food you can eat by making you feel full after eating small amounts of food.

The band is made of a special plastic. The inside of the band has an inflatable balloon. This allows the band to be adjustable. This means that you and your doctor can decide to loosen or tighten it in the future. This will enable you to eat more or less food.

The band is connected to an access port underneath the skin on your belly. The band can be tightened by placing a needle into the port and filling the balloon (band) with fluid. If the band is too tight, the needle can be used to remove some of the fluid.

What happens during surgery?

You will receive general anesthesia before this surgery. This will make you sleep and unable to feel pain.

The surgery is done using a tiny camera that is placed in your belly. This type of surgery is called laparoscopy. It allows your surgeon to see inside your belly. This is how the surgery is performed:

  • Your surgeon will make about 5 to 6 small incisions (cuts) in your belly.
  • Through these small cuts, the surgeon will place a camera and the instruments to perform the surgery.
  • The surgeon can see inside your belly by looking at the TV monitor that is connected to the camera.
  • The surgeon will place a band around the upper part of your stomach to separate it from the lower part. This creates a small pouch that has a narrow opening that goes into the larger, lower part of your stomach.
  • The surgeon will make a large incision on your abdomen and place the port on top of the muscle, under the skin. The tubing from the band will be connected to the port, so that the band can be tightened or loosened from the port.

This surgery takes about 30 to 60 minutes.

What to expect after surgery

Most people go home the same day of surgery. Some will stay one night in the hospital.

Most people take one week off of work.

You will remain on liquid or puréed food for 2 or 3 weeks after surgery. You will slowly add soft foods and then regular food to your diet. By 6 weeks you will probably be eating regular foods.

You will need to have fluid added to the band several times over the months after surgery. This means a visit to your surgeon, where a special needle will be used to add fluid to the port by placing it through the skin on your abdomen.

Life after bariatric surgery will be different. It is a good idea to talk with your doctor or nurse about what weight loss will feel like, what you can eat and drink, and what you should do to stay healthy.

Things to consider

Here are some things you should know about this type of surgery:

  • The surgery does not involve any cutting or stapling inside your belly. But there is surgery done to the upper stomach, which is folded over the band and sutured. There will be adhesions after surgery and a capsule scar that will form around the band.
  • The band is adjustable. This means that your doctor can loosen or tighten the band to make the size of the stomach pouch larger or smaller. This is done by injecting a special type of salt water into the port placed under the skin on your belly. This simple procedure is relatively painless.
  • Most people will need to have the band adjusted every month for the first year several after surgery.
  • Recovery after this surgery is easier than after other kinds of weight loss surgery.
  • If the band needs to be removed in the future, most often the stomach will over time mostly return to the shape or form present before gastric banding surgery was done.
  • Weight loss with this surgery is not as great as after gastric bypass surgery.
  • In order to prevent weight regain after gastric banding, you will need to follow a diet and exercise program for the rest of your life.
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Review Date: 1/30/2018

Reviewed By: John E. Meilahn, MD, Bariatric Surgery, Chestnut Hill Surgical Associates, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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