Gastric bands: What are they and do you need one?

Often mistaken as some sort of quick fix for obesity, gastric bands are actually one of the safest and simplest forms of bariatric surgery available. The procedure takes just thirty to forty minutes to perform, and you only need to stay in hospital overnight to recover. More importantly, it is around five to six times more effective than pills and diets in shifting excessive weight.

As with many things with the advances in modern medicine, obesity is a problem which can be resolved with surgery. However, it isn’t a decision to be made lightly and you do need to meet certain criteria before you can go under the knife. Research has shown that those with a body mass of 35 to 40, in addition to weight-related health issues, are eligible for surgery. Surprisingly, the majority of the weight is lost around 18 months after the surgery, losing just a few kilograms a month before then. It also requires more work than people think – the band is simply a restrictive measure. You still need to make lifestyle changes, such as improving your diet, staying away from fat and sugar, and exercising in order to keep the weight from staying on.

If you are choosing to have a gastric band fitted, it is important to gain support from family and friends. The surgery, whilst relatively simple and quick, is still a serious procedure and requires mental and emotional preparation. It also requires a few lifestyle changes before you go under the knife too. If you smoke, quitting is essential at least a month before surgery and a low carbohydrate diet is also advised.

Laparoscopic banding leads to a smaller stomach over time, due to the weight loss. As your stomach shrinks, your band is tightened – this is generally administered six times over the course of year. Once you’ve met your goal weight, you will only require small adjustments, and many can go years without needing any changes at all. All in all, gastric bands are an effective solution to excessive weight loss and can offer the help your body requires in losing weight.

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