The adjustable gastric band (sometimes known as lap banding) is a purely restrictive procedure. A silicone band is placed around the upper part of the stomach, creating a small pouch above the band, about the size of a golf ball and a large pouch below the band.
This creates an hourglass appearance and it functions by limiting the amount of food you can eat to feel full and by controlling the rate food is allowed to empty out of the pouch into the rest of the stomach. This is at a slower rate than normal and therefore you should feel saturated on smaller amounts of food.
The gastric band can be tightened or loosened and will need adjustment from time to time. An adjustment reduces the size of the opening into the rest of the stomach below the band. This is done via the port (button like) which is connected to the band by a small thin tube and positioned under the skin and fat. This is invisible.
Gastric band adjustments are fairly painless and must be carried out by the surgeon or a specialist nurse until the right restriction for you is established. This can be different for every patient. First fill only can be considered after 6 weeks after surgery at earliest, and most of the times several fills are necessary before the band really is fine-tuned so to yield optimal results. As a band that is tightened too much will cause you a lot of discomfort (vomiting), and when not filled sufficiently, the restriction will not work and the band will yield only poor results in terms of sustainability of the longer term.
The operation takes approximately 45 minutes, will require an overnight stay in hospital and is reversible. Overeating and poor eating habits can cause nausea and vomiting. This may confine your potential to maximize weight loss and may result in band slippage.
Average weight loss
50%-60% of excess weight within 2 years (British Medical Journal).
Risks and complications
Like any surgical procedure there are possible risks and complications. They are rare and everything possible will be done to prevent them from happening. The most recognised and documented are: