As you are probably aware, there are many surgical options available for morbidly obese people who can not lose weight through diet and exercise. While many of the surgical options are invasive and involve cutting and permanent change to the structure of your stomach, gastric band surgery does not. So, if you are tired of trying to lose weight through diet and exercise and failing- resulting in your self-esteem being battered and your hope diminishing, you might want to talk to your primary care physician to find out if gastric band surgery is right for you.
Gastric band surgery (also referred to as lap band surgery) is a less invasive, more flexible option for weight loss surgery. During gastric band surgery, a series of small incisions are made around your abdomen. Each incision is no more than 1 centimeter large. Through the incisions, the actual prosthetic devise, called the band, is inserted into your body and the circular part is placed around your stomach. The surgeon decides how small a part of your stomach to create a pouch in and affixes the band so that it is secure.
Once this is complete, you will have a small pouch as your functioning stomach. This pouch will not only decrease your appetite, it will also reduce the amount of food you can physically consume in a sitting. Obviously, this reduces the amount of calories you can take in within a day and leads to some significant weight loss.
One of the best things about gastric band surgery is that it does not affect your body’s ability to absorb vitamins and nutrients. Other weight loss surgeries, like gastric bypass, force your digestive system to work differently and have an adverse affect on your body’s ability to get vital nutrients and vitamins. This can result in hair loss as well as several immune system disorders.
Gastric band surgery, however, is not a miracle cure for obesity. Your post surgery weight loss will only be as successful as you make it. Your stomach can stretch if you consume too many calories and force more food into your pouch than you need. Luckily, gastric band surgery allows for the continued adjustment of the band. This means that if you do stretch your stomach, your doctor can readjust the band to shrink the size of the stomach again. This will help you even if you don’t extend your stomach. The adjustable band allows your physician to set you on a course for gradual weight loss.
In the beginning, you might think your band is not set for a small enough pouch and that your weight loss will progress too slowly. In reality, your surgeon did the right thing and practically ensured you steady and safe weight loss. After a few months with the band, you will need to see your physician and at that point, you may discuss with him or her the possibility of getting the band moved to further reduce the size of your stomach.
After a couple of years, you will probably have reached your goal weight- providing that you have made healthy changes in your diet. You may find that this relatively rapid, bulk weight loss results in some hanging skin. You would be surprised to see how much of a difference exercise can make in reducing the amount of excess skin you have. Since skin is elastic, much of it may bounce back to where you want it. If you are older, the skin might have lost some elasticity and you may find that further surgery, like a tummy tuck, is necessary.