Gastric banding is a restrictive operation, approved by the FDA in 2001, in which a band is placed around the outside of the upper stomach, creating a small pouch and a narrow passage into the rest of the stomach. By tightening or loosening the band, the rate that food travels from the upper to the lower stomach is controlled and patients are satisfied by smaller meals that fill the small upper pouch.
The adjustable gastric band is surgically implanted during a short, laparoscopic procedure. A port is placed under the patient’s skin which allows for adjustments to the band after surgery by filling or removing saline. The adjustments can make it tighter, to increase weight loss, or looser, to slow down weight loss. These adjustments are done with the utmost of safety and usually do not require anything more than a visit to your bariatric surgeon’s office.
This procedure does have a slower initial weight loss than the gastric bypass and regular follow-up is critical for success.
Some potential advantages to gastric banding are that it is the least invasive approach, with the lowest operative complication rate, lowest mortality rate and lowest malnutrition risk. Reversible, if necessary, this procedure enables most patients to return to work within a week.
Although rare, there are potential risks and complications with gastric banding surgery and weight loss occurs slower as compared to gastric bypass.