Gastric Band Perth
What is gastric band surgery, and are you a candidate?

Gastric band surgery, also known as lap band surgery, involves the insertion of an adjustable band around the upper stomach via laparoscopy (a type of keyhole surgery performed in the abdominal or pelvic area). This band is an inflatable ring of silicon rubber that reduces the capacity of the stomach, thus restricting the amount of food that can be consumed.

The band slows the emptying process into the stomach and the intestines. Patients also benefit from an early sensation of fullness which can reduce appetite and aid weight loss.

Gastric band surgery was initially undertaken with a permanent, fixed device but nowadays, removal of the silicon band can be performed with minimal risk.

The band is also adjustable as its inner surface can be inflated or deflated with a saline solution. The band is connected by tubing to an access port, which is placed under the skin during surgery. After the operation, the surgeon can control the amount of saline in the band by entering the port with a fine needle through the skin.

While gastric band surgery was a very popular weight loss surgery in the 1990s and 2000s, it has since been overtaken by gastric sleeve procedures. However, it does have advantages in some circumstances.

Gastric band surgery is suited to patients who are severely obese and have struggled to lose the weight through diet and exercise. It can also help to reduce comorbidities associated with obesity including type two diabetes, high blood pressure and heart health.

Being reversible, it is also an option for people who do not feel comfortable with a permanent procedure. However, it is important to realise that the removal of the band will frequently result in weight regain if a healthy and balanced lifestyle is not adhered to.

What are the risks of gastric band surgery?

A high risk of gastric band surgery is slippage of the band, which can cause severe discomfort and can occur even years after surgery. This is estimated to occur in one in six patients.

Other risks include erosion and deflation, obstruction of the stomach, dilation of the oesophagus, nausea or vomiting.

There is also the risk of perforation during the gastric band surgery. This is more prevalent if there is scarring behind the stomach as it can be difficult to place the band. This may result in a hole in the stomach which can leak stomach contents and result in a serious infection.

As with all surgical procedures, other risks can include blood clots, bleeding or infection at the wound, and risks relating to the use of anaesthesia or the patient’s ability to tolerate a foreign object implanted in the body.

It is important to note that while the procedure works to help with weight loss, a patient must be very strict with their diet to avoid complications.

Side effects of the gastric band if this strict diet is not adhered to include vomiting and pain associated with food getting stuck.

All foods must be chewed thoroughly and carefully, and certain foods are off limits including chicken breast, steak and bread.

What is the expected recovery time after gastric band surgery?

Gastric band surgery is done under general anaesthetic. It can be performed as day surgery, or patients may spend 1 or 2 nights in hospital.

Following surgery, patients will start on liquid foods only, then transition to pureed foods. Solid foods can be introduced in a few weeks.

Your bariatric surgeon can adjust the band, possibly several times, to the size that works for you for both weight loss and how you feel. Anaesthesia is not required for this adjustment.

Going forward, anti-inflammatory agents such as aspirin should be used with caution as they may contribute to an increased risk of band erosion.

How does gastric band surgery compare to other weight loss surgery options?

Gastric band surgery offers the advantages of being reversible and adjustable. It is also considered a minimally invasive approach to weight loss surgery and the least traumatic procedure in terms of post-operative pain and recovery time since it does not involve any cutting, stapling or re-routing of the stomach.

A disadvantage of gastric band surgery is that weight loss does not occur as rapidly as with other procedures.

It also involves an ongoing restricted lifestyle as certain food including vegetables and salads can be difficult to eat while foods such as chicken breast, steak and bread cannot be consumed. Any indiscretions could result in vomiting and pain from food getting stuck.

How much does gastric band surgery cost?

The total gastric band surgery cost may comprise of the Medicare rebate, a private health fund rebate, and an out-of-pocket cost.

Perth Obesity Surgery is committed to providing an accurate assessment of a patient’s situation from the initial consult, complete with an explanation of all charges involved. We charge a once-off, all-inclusive fee that covers the costs involved from the day of your initial consultation through to post-operative care.

More information on our weight loss surgery costs can be found here.

Not sure if gastric band surgery is the right choice for you? Book a consultation with a Perth Obesity Surgery bariatric surgeon for a personalised care plan.

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Below 18.5 - Underweight
18.5-24.9 - Normal
25.0-29.9 - Overweight
30.0 and Above - Obese