Gastric banding is a surgical procedure that is used for weight loss. Due to its effectiveness, more than 550,000 individuals have elected to have this procedure. Using a silicone band that is wrapped around the upper part of the stomach, a small pouch is created causing a restriction on food intake. The passageway to the lower stomach is also narrowed so the food in the pouch is slower to empty into the lower part of the stomach. This causes the individual to feel full after eating only a small amount of food.
Usually this procedure is done laparoscopically. The surgeon makes several tiny incisions and inserts a tiny laparoscope camera into the incisions. A tiny port is then placed in the wall of the abdomen and the silicone band is then connected to it. The port can then be used to inject saline into the inner part of the band for adjusting the size of the pouch.
This procedure is less invasive than other types of surgical weight loss procedures and therefore can usually be done in an outpatient facility. Gastric bands are also adjustable and reversible. They take less time than other weight loss surgeries and they do not cause interference with nutrient absorption.
Adjustable gastric banding also lowers the risk of undigested food going into the small intestines too fast (dumping syndrome). This weight loss procedure is effective for improving health problems that occur due to obesity or excessive weight.
Like all surgical procedures, there are some risks associated with gastric banding. These include infection, bleeding, erosion of the band, band deflation, band slippage, blockage of the stomach outlet, pouch enlargement and gastroesophageal reflux.
Death can also occur due to gastric banding. This risk is about one in every 2,000. Recovery times do vary according to the patient’s general health although most can return to their normal activities in six to eight weeks following the procedure.
According to the National Institutes of Health, candidates for weight loss surgery must have a body mass index over 40. Roughly, this means that women must be 80 pounds overweight and men must be 100 pounds overweight. Individuals who have body mass indexes of 30 to 40 and suffer from weight-related health problems may also be good candidates.
According to the Consumer Guide to Bariatric Surgery, gastric banding costs do vary depending on location, but average about $17,000 to $30,000. More insurance companies are however willing to pay for this procedure when it is medically necessary and the patient meets the insurance requirements of the National Institutes of Health.
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