Gastric banding: adjustable gastric band

 

gastric band

Getting a band placed is a smart move if you are massively overweight and are prepared to put in some extra effort to get the best life-long results.

Adjustable gastric banding (also called lapbanding) is an effective weight loss surgical technique to help people who are massively or morbidly obese.

According to the National Health & Medical Research Council, "surgery is the most effective treatment for morbid obesity: for most procedures and most patients, good weight maintenance has been observed three to eight years after surgery".

Obesity surgery is often called bariatric surgery or metabolic surgery.

It estimated that there are more than 500,000 people world-wide have a gastric band. If you’ve got a gastric band, you are part of quite an exclusive world-wide group!

the band is a great aid and friend. Every day, there will be a new challenge. The band will remind you not only how to eat but how much to eat.

how does a gastric band work?

The surgeon wraps a flexible band around the top part of the stomach, very close to the food pipe. This creates a 'baby' stomach or pouch that is separated from the major stomach by a narrow path. The band is an inflatable tube.

The band can be adjusted (filled or emptied, inflated or deflated) to control true hunger. A specially trained bariatric doctor injects (or removes) fluid via a small device that sits just below your skin near the waist.

The band needs regular maintenance to check fluid levels and to make sure it is working the best way for you.

An over-tight band is as bad as a band that is too loose.

The band is not magical.

    • It does not speed up your metabolism nor change your genetic make-up.
    • It will not make you an exercise lover or force you to choose healthy foods.

The band will help you achieve your vision for your life, as long as you put in a little effort and work with the band, not against it. 

  • It will give you feedback about your eating style - your bite size, your pace of eating, your chewing skills and the amount you eat.
  • It will help you to feel satisfied for longer on smaller volumes of food, providing that food is not mushie, does not melt too easily, or is too crispy or crunchy.

Unfortunately, the band can let you down.

    • If you drink kilojoules/calories (alcohol, regular soft drink/soda pop, juice, cordial and excess milk), eat mushie sloppy meals (with loads of sauce or mash), indulge in melt-in-the-mouth foods (such as chocolate, ice cream, dessert jelly, yoghurt) or munch crispy snacks (crisps, potato/corn chips, biscuits/crackers, nuts), you won't lose weight easily. These foods slip past the band quickly and you'll never really feel full.

You'll need to stay alert and understand when the band is working, and if not, why not.

Tightening a band to achieve faster weight loss can sometimes backfire. If a band is over-tight then you might try and live on crispy snacks, liquid energy drinks and rubbish foods because that's all that will go down. An over-tight band won't let you eat healthy food.

  • Quite often the answer to better and further weight loss lies in your own hands (and mouth)!
  • Life with a gastric band is certainly not an easy. Nor is it a guaranteed way out to lose weight and keep it off.

    To get the best results, anyone with a band still needs to be smart with his or her food choices.

    Surgeons use a range of different adjustable gastric bands. There are several brands. Each of these bands has different features and your surgeon may have a preferred band or choose one from a range to suit you. In general terms though, adjustable gastric bands work in very similar ways.

conference recommendations

The best short and long-term results are seen in people who return very regularly for follow-up, and that’s not necessarily to have the band adjusted! Support, encouragement and feedback are hugely motivating. 

If the band is not working for you as well as you want, the most consistent and best advice from the obesity surgery conference was to get back to your support team whether it be to:

    1. your surgeon for an adjustment checkup – your band may be too tight, not just too loose
    2. your dietitian – your food choices may need a little tweaking to maximise your results without dieting
    3. your psychologist for a mind workout – stomach hunger is not the only thing that drives one to eat and drink, or
    4. your exercise trainer – an active body leads to a healthy mind, and better body shape long term.

want better results from your band?

Have you checked out the other gastric band topic buttons shown?

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The Pocket Gastric Band Guide + Protein Poster