Gastric Banding

Gastric banding is an interesting type of operation, which is successfully used in treatment of severe forms of obesity. Gastric banding is an elegant and effective method, but it also has some disadvantages that should be known to any potentially interested person.


Gastric banding significantly reduces hunger and the urge to eat. The procedure aims to place a circular adjustable band around the stomach. The stomach is divided into two cavities that are connected by the area narrowed by the gastric band. The stomach gets the shape of hourglass. The upper portion of the stomach is relatively small (tens of milliliters) and fills up quickly. This causes early feeling of fullness and prevents the patient from further eating.


The gastric band is implemented by laparoscopic surgery under general anesthesia. Few small holes are created in the abdominal wall that serves for insertion of a camera and working tools into the abdominal cavity.


Before the operation, the patient is usually examined by a physician of internal medicine, internist and by a psychologist. Together they should conclude, if the surgery is really necessary and if the patient is mentally fit to follow lifelong dietary rules after the operation.


Modern adjustable gastric banding is filled with fluid and connected via a tube with a small chamber located under the abdominal skin (subcutaneous port). This port can be injected by a syringe. When needed, it is possible to suck out part of the fluid to make the band looser, or add the fluid to make the band tighter.


Gastric banding surgery



Gastric banding is used in severely obese patients with BMI over 35 who are threatened by health risks of the obesity. The operation usually has great results and leads to a significant weight reduction that is frequently higher than 80 pounds. When type 2 diabetes is present, it usually significantly improves or completely disappears.


Gastric banding is very effective, but it has some important disadvantages that should be known to the patient before the operation. After the surgery, the patient must permanently follow strict dietary measures. The volume of food that the person may eat counts in deciliters per day. Although the person should not feel hunger, some people are used to eat a large amount of food without hunger. Such people are threatened by higher risk of loosening the band or even rupture of the stomach.


There are tricks how to “bypass” the band. Caloric causes, caloric drinks and creams may easily pass the narrowed area and significantly reduce the banding effect.


The gastric banding is a lifelong solution. Although it is not a problem to remove it when the patient desires, its removal causes opposite effect and strong hunger, which forces the patient to eat large amount of food and so take back all the lost weight.


Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Sources: basic text sources