Gastric band surgery: Procedure, Risks, and Recovery

Obesity is becoming a leading health hazard of the modern world. Where some continents of the world are striving to end scarcity of food and prolonged famines, the west is overindulging and facing the curse of obesity. However these scenarios are not particularly exclusive, this seems to be the case with most of the world. There can be a variety of methods which can be employed to combat obesity and to lose weight. But sometimes, these methods are not effective.

That is where the gastric band surgery comes into play. It is the last treatment modality which can be employed by people when nothing else works for them. It has been proven to be quite effective when it comes to losing weight.


What happens during the Gastric Band Surgery?

The gastric band surgery is a procedure during which a silicone band is tied around the upper part of the stomach. This causes the available space in the stomach to get reduced. The repercussion of the space reduction is consumption of a lesser quantity of food. This way the risk of overeating is eliminated as a shortened stomach can hold less food. It makes you feel satiated well before finishing the meal and aids in weight loss.

To carry this laparoscopic procedure out, the person is put under general anesthesia. Around three to five-minute cuts are made on the abdomen. Through these incisions, a tube attached to a camera and other surgical instruments are inserted into the abdomen. Then the gastric band is applied to the stomach and fixed with stitches.


What is the Recovery Time of the Procedure?

Recovery time after a gastric band surgery is different for every individual. Non-strenuous daily activities can be resumed, one week after the gastric band surgery. Complete return to normal daily lifestyle comprising of strenuous and non-strenuous activities can be made six months following surgery.


What are the Risks of Gastric Band Surgery?

Since it is a surgical procedure, the risks and complications are similar to any general surgical procedure. However, there are some risks which are exclusively associated with the procedure.

General surgical risks

-As with every surgery, the risk of hemorrhage (bleeding) and infection is the same for the gastric band surgery.

-Infection can also be a risk if proper sanitary and hygiene measures are not maintained during and after the procedure.

-Blood clots in the legs and lungs are two complications which are associated with prolonged immobility owing to surgical recovery.

Risks exclusive to gastric banding

-Some people might be required to undergo another operation following their gastric band surgery. This may be when the band gets infected, replaced or removed. The gastric band may also tear apart causing spillage of gastric contents.

-Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition where the food ingested returns back to the throat and cause discomfort. People undergoing gastric band surgery may experience GERD causing nausea, vomiting and burning in the chest.

-People with gastric band installed, are at an increased risk for developing gallstones.