The purpose of this procedure, as with all other weight loss surgeries, is to reduce the stomach’s capacity for food, thereby limiting food intake and leading to weight loss over the long term.
Banding is ideal for patients who are morbidly obese (BMI: 40+), those who are marginally overweight but suffer from diabetes or heart disease, and those for whom diet and exercise hasn’t worked significantly.
Gastric Banding is a completely reversible procedure, takes just 30–60 minutes to perform, and requires the patient to be hospitalised for up to two days.
This surgery is performed laparoscopically – that is, through keyhole-size incisions on the skin over the stomach area. A silicone band is wrapped around the upper part of the stomach to create a smaller stomach, leaving a passage between this and the lower compartment to allow food to pass through.
As the smaller space fills quickly, satiation is achievedearly and the patient eats less than he would on an unrestricted stomach. The passage between the two “chambers” allows ingested food to pass slowly into the lower compartment and, eventually, into the small intestine for digestion.
In the months following surgery, the size of this opening can be adjusted by tightening or loosening the gastric band in order to control the patient’s appetite. The band is tightened by injecting saline into it (it’s called a gastric fill), or drained to loosen it. This procedure is done through a “button” under the patient’s skin.