Losing weight is a daunting task. This becomes all the more difficult for obese people. In many cases, the patient may be advised to undergo bariatric surgery. There are many types of bariatric surgery. Some surgeries address both the stomach and the small intestines while others address only the stomach. A gastric band surgery is one such procedure. For this procedure, an adjustable band is placed around the upper half of the stomach. This creates a small pouch that can hold a limited amount of food. The band is connected through a plastic tube to a small device placed under the abdominal skin. Sterile fluid may be injected or removed from the band through this device. By injecting saline, the band is made tighter and by removing the liquid the band is loosened. This allows the band to be customized to improve weight loss.
- The result of a gastric band surgery may vary from person to person. Physical recovery typically takes 4 to 6 weeks. Because the size of the stomach is reduced, the person will feel full faster and hence eat less. In most cases, a person can expect to lose 35-45% of their excess weight. This should not be confused with a person’s total weight. In some cases, additional procedures may be required to adjust the band or deal with any complications that may arise. The procedure may also be reversed at a later date if need be.
- Some people may develop side effects and complications with this procedure. The most common side effects include nausea, vomiting and surgical complications such as infections, bleeding at the site of the surgery and issues with the adjustment device. Surgical complications connected with this procedure are rare and occur in less than 10% of the cases. Vitamin deficiencies are rare as this surgery does not interfere with the absorption of nutrients by the small intestines.
- However, in some cases, complications may arise in the long term use of this band. This is typically seen when the patient does not undergo regular maintenance or reverts to his earlier, unhealthy diet and lifestyle. Ideally, a patient should get follow up checks every month after such a surgery. This allows the doctor to make any necessary adjustments to the device. Thus, placing the band is only the first step of the process to lose weight. Unless the patient makes a decision to follow the program strictly, success cannot be guaranteed.
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