Lap Gastric Banding

Introduction

Laparoscopic (lap) gastric banding is a minimally-invasive weight loss surgery. This procedure involves the placement of a silicone band around the stomach with the help of a laparoscope, thus creating two sections in the stomach. The smaller upper section ensures a reduction in the quantity of food consumed after the surgery. The band is adjustable and it can be tightened or made loose, as per the desired weight loss results by injecting or removing saline. A popular and safe bariatric procedure, lap gastric banding is a great solution for morbidly obese people who do not wish to undergo an invasive surgery.


When is it performed?

Lap gastric banding is performed on patients who are overweight (body mass index ranging between 30 and 40) or suffer from conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnoea due to excessive weight. It is a safe procedure but doctors only recommend it when other non-invasive weight loss methods such as dieting, exercise, and medications have failed. It is not recommended to people suffering from stomach or intestinal disorders.


How is it performed?

Lap gastric banding is performed under general anaesthesia and takes one to two hours to complete. During the procedure, an adjustable silicone band with an inflatable balloon connected to a port is placed around the upper part of the stomach. When the band requires tightening, saline is introduced through the port. Similarly, when it requires loosening, saline is removed via the port. The placement of the band around the stomach creates a smaller pouch in the upper region, which helps restrict the amount of food the individual can eat at a time. It also slows down the passage of the food into the small intestine, thus promoting an early and long-lasting feeling of fullness.


Recovery

The patient can experience pain for two to three days after the surgery but it goes away with medicines. The first two weeks after the surgery can be difficult for the patient as the body takes time to adapt to the band placed around the stomach. Patients can return to work after a week but resuming normal routine takes around four to six weeks. After discharge from the hospital, the patient has to follow the dietary and lifestyle-related instructions given by the surgeon.