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Gastric Banding

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Gastric banding is a type of weight loss surgery, in which an inflatable band is placed around the upper part of the stomach. This creates a smaller stomach pouch, restricting the amount of food that can be consumed at one time. The band also increases the time it takes for the stomach to empty. As a result, you can achieve sustained weight loss by limiting your food intake, reducing your appetite and slowing your digestion.

The gastric band is not typically preferred over other procedures due to its higher rate of complication and slower weight loss results. Our care team at UC San Diego Health's Bariatric and Metabolic Institute uses either the Realize Band or the Lap-Band for our gastric banding procedures. These are the safest, least traumatic and the only adjustable and reversible gastric bands available in the United States.

How Gastric Banding Works

Gastric banding illustrationThe gastric banding procedure works by restricting the amount of food the stomach can hold by placing an adjustable band around the upper part of the stomach.

There is no cutting or stapling needed to separate the upper stomach pouch from the lower stomach. Unlike stomach stapling, the gastric band can be adjusted to suit your needs.

Minimally Invasive Surgery

During gastric banding surgery, the surgeon makes a few small incisions in the abdominal wall. Using laparoscopic techniques, a silicone adjustable band is secured around the upper part of the stomach, creating a small stomach pouch.

The band is connected to tubing which attaches to an access port fixed beneath the skin of the abdomen. The port cannot be seen and can only be felt when pushing on the abdomen. The port and tubing allow for adjustments to be made. Read more about gastric banding adjustments.

The stomach pouch created by the adjustable band controls the amount of food taken in. It allows a small amount of food to pass through, delaying the emptying of the stomach into the intestines. This process creates the sensation of fullness sooner and over time, hunger decreases.

The procedure takes about 40 minutes and can be performed on an outpatient basis with no required hospital stay. Recovery times may vary, but patients can generally return to work and normal activities within four to seven days.

Because the surgery uses laparoscopic techniques, patients experience less post-operative pain, recover quicker and are able to return to normal activities sooner, compared to other forms of bariatric surgery.

Get more info about gastric banding in our Health Library.

Gastric Banding Surgery Outcomes

Within the first year, our patients lose about 50 percent of their excess weight, which amounts to more than 100 pounds on average. Most patients lose about five to 10 pounds a month, depending on their diet and exercise regimens.

Some patients experience a weight loss of two to three pounds a week, but one to two pounds a week is more likely. Twelve to eighteen months after the operation, weekly weight loss is usually less. Potential results, weight loss expectations and beneficial side effects can be discussed in further detail during your initial surgical consultation.

Sometimes adjustments to the band are needed. Learn how gastric band adjustments are done.

BMI Calculator

Ideal body weight for your height should result in a BMI between 19 and 24.9. If your BMI is above 30, you may be a good candidate for surgery. Understand your BMI

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La Jolla

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A Center of Excellence

We are a fully Accredited Bariatric Center in the American College of Surgeons Bariatric Surgery Center Network (ACS BSCN).

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