What is a gastric band, is it safe and what do I do afterwards?

A gastric “band” is basically a silicone tube with a balloon device on one end and an inflation port on the other. It is fitted at the very top of the stomach with a small ‘inflation port’ underneath the skin on the left-hand side of your stomach. It works by lowering your appetite and, in turn slowing your eating down.

The tightness of the band can be adjusted by altering the volume of liquid within the band by a simple injection into the port. The operation takes less than an hour, although there is the time taken in both putting you to sleep and waking you up afterwards so the overall time away from the ward is three to four hours.

Having a gastric band fitted is a simple and safe procedure. There are no permanent changes made to your stomach and it can be removed if necessary. However, it may not work for everyone some people can require further surgery. The procedure is a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure and patients can return home on the same day.

As well as being safe, the gastric band is also very effective when used as it should. How successful you are with the band depends on how well you stick to the diet and eating regime required, but in general, most patients can expect to lose a high percentage of their excess weight in the first 2-3 years.

The golden rule with a band is to eat slowly and to eat foods of the right texture. It goes without saying that you will also need to reduce the consumption of food and drink that is high in calories, e.g. sugar and alcohol. Sorry!
If you follow the rules and get a little more exercise, you will be giving yourself and your band a greater chance of success!