Anyone living with obesity can attest to the fact that it can severely limit quality of life. In addition to the many associated long and short-term health risks such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, joint problems, and others, individuals carrying excess weight often find they tire more easily, are frequently uncomfortable and face discrimination due to their weight. Fortunately, Gastric Band surgery from the New York Bariatric Group may be just the right solution for anyone in the Port Jefferson area suffering from obesity.

What is Gastric Band Surgery?

Also commonly referred to as Lap Band surgery or Laparoscopic Adjustable Banding, Gastric Banding consists of a hollow silicone band containing saline solution that is surgically placed around the upper part of the stomach. The band creates a small pouch that can only hold a limited amount of food. The restricted opening between the pouch and lower portion of the stomach reduces the rate at which food can pass from the pouch to the lower stomach.

After the procedure, the amount of food that can be consumed will be limited and the digestion process will be slowed down resulting in the patient eating less and losing a significant amount of excess weight.

Based on the patient’s needs and results, the size of the opening between the pouch and the stomach can later be adjusted by adding or removing the amount of saline solution in the band via tubing that connects the band to a small access port placed under the skin in a muscle in the chest wall.

Who Is A Good Candidate For Gastric Band Surgery?

Adults that have been obese for five years or more and for whom non-surgical weight loss approaches have failed may benefit greatly from the procedure. To be a viable candidate for Gastric Band Surgery, a patient must fall within one of the following categories:

  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher,
  • A Body Mass Index of 35 or higher AND one or several severe morbid conditions

Or

  • At least 100 pounds above their estimated ideal weight

Significant changes to lifestyle and eating habits will be required post-surgery; therefore, patients must be willing and ready to adopt these changes.

Patients may NOT be viable candidates for the Gastric Band if they:

  • suffer from certain intestinal or stomach disorders
  • have an infection
  • must take aspirin frequently
  • are not willing or unable to follow their doctor’s post-surgery dietary and exercise instructions
  • are addicted to alcohol or drugs

Advantages of Gastric Band Surgery

Significant Weight Loss: Most patients can expect to lose approximately 50 to 60% of their excess weight within two to three years of the surgery.

Improved Overall Health: After surgery, patients with pre-existing weight-related conditions such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea can expect great improvements and in some cases, complete elimination of these conditions. Patients are also less likely to develop these conditions in the future thanks to the procedure.

Improved Quality Of Life: After surgery, most patients enjoy higher energy levels, a greater sense of confidence and more ease in getting around.

Lower Risk: Statistically speaking, Gastric Band surgery has fewer risks, compared to other more invasive weight-loss procedures.

Less Scarring: The keyhole approach to laparoscopic surgery means less scarring compared to traditional surgeries. Most patients are left with only a few small scars on their midsection after the procedure.

Short Recovery: In most cases, the surgery is an outpatient procedure allowing the patient to return home the day following the procedure. Most patients are able to resume most of their normal activities within 5 days and experience a full post-operative recovery within 1 to 2 weeks.

The Gastric Band Is Adjustable: The band can be tightened or loosened based on the patient’s requirements to optimize successful weight loss. The first adjustment usually takes place roughly 5 weeks after surgery. Additional future adjustments can also be made.

Gastric Band Surgery Is Reversible: If, for any reason, the surgery needs to be reversed, this can be accomplished by either removing the saline solution contained in the band or removing the band altogether.

No Malabsorption: Other weight-loss surgeries can impede the patient’s ability to absorb some nutrients leading to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. This possible side effect does not occur with Gastric Band surgery.

Possible Side Effects, Potential Risks and Disadvantages of Gastric Band Surgery

Although Gastric Band surgery is comparatively lower risk than other bariatric surgeries, it is important to note that any surgery has some risks and possible side effects. In the most serious cases, these could require further hospitalization or additional surgery.

Possible side effects include:

  • Nausea and vomiting – often caused by eating too much, too quickly or not chewing food adequately
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle loss – can usually be avoided by adopting a regular exercise program and eating a protein-rich diet
  • Food bolus obstruction
  • Excess skin – a common occurrence following significant and relatively rapid weight loss. Patients are evaluated by a plastic surgeon once their weight stabilizes to determine if a surgical solution is necessary.
  • Bleeding
  • Deep-vein thrombosis (blood clots forming in the legs), which can result in pulmonary embolus if they travel to the lungs
  • Up to one-third of patients develop gallstones

Occasionally, some patients experience some mechanical problems with the band post-surgery. These can include:

  • Gastric Band slippage or prolapse
  • Gastric Band erosion
  • Infection of the band or port leak

Some of the other disadvantages sometimes associated with the Gastric Band include:

  • Gastric pouch dilation
  • Easy to cheat if poor food choices are made
  • Patients must limit themselves to entrée-sized portions from now on
  • Between 5 and 10% of Gastric Band patients require revisions

Ensuring Weight Loss Success Post Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a very important first step to healthy weight loss. Post surgery, the Port Jefferson team of the New York Bariatric Group works with patients to give them the tools and support needed to achieve the greatest possible success.

Diet: For the first 4 weeks after surgery, Gastric Band patients are instructed to limit themselves to liquid or soft foods with an emphasis on protein. After 4 weeks, solid foods can be reintroduced. Certain foods and beverages must be avoided and portions must be smaller. Snacking must be avoided. Patients will be given specific directions and guidelines that must be followed to ensure success and to avoid discomfort.

Exercise: Patients are encouraged to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise. Exercising will help improve mobility, curb hunger, benefit almost every organ in the body, and therefore lead to greater overall health.

Post Surgery Follow-Up Plan: It is critically important to monitor the patient’s progress in the weeks and months that follow the surgery. The surgeon can adjust the tightness of the band, if necessary and make sure that the recovery is progressing well, as well as making sure that the patient’s diet and eating habits are appropriate.

The aftercare portion of any bariatric surgery with the New York Bariatric Group is an essential part of the weight-loss procedure. Our patients enjoy personalized, individual care and have the greatest chance of optimal success through the lifelong follow-up that we offer.

To find out more about Gastric Band surgery, contact the Port Jefferson office of the New York Bariatric Group today.