Gastric Band Surgery PDF Print E-mail
Gastric Band

Gastric banding is a surgical procedure that involves fitting a band around the upper part of your stomach. It is a highly effective weight loss surgical procedure that limits how much food you can eat. Also known as lap banding, the operation helps overweight people achieve substantial and long-term weight It is usually only recommended as a last resort for people who are morbidly obese (those with a BMI of over 40), or those with a BMI of between 30-40 who also have a condition that poses a serious health risk, such as diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), or heart disease.If you are very obese, gastric banding can be used as a way of helping you to lose weight by controlling the amount of food that you eat.

The procedure       

How does gastric banding work?

An inflatable band is placed around the stomach to divide it into two parts. This creates a smaller pouch at the top, taking in less food to make you feel full. The food then passes slowly through the opening into the lower part of your stomach and continues on as normal. 

Once the gastric band is in place it can be adjusted externally (outside the body) at any time by a surgeon. This means the band can be made either tighter or looser, depending on the amount of food your surgeon wants to restrict you from eating.


 Your surgeon can make the band tighter by adding salt water (saline) into the band. This slows down the amount of food that can pass through your stomach - meaning your stay feeling full for longer. To loosen the band, some of the salt water fluid is removed, meaning food passes through quicker to your digestive system. Generally, a gastric band is loose to start and then tightened when you are used to eating less food.

A gastric band is designed to remain permanently within your stomach. However, it can be removed, and in the majority of cases leaves you with no permanent changes to your stomach. The procedure to fit a gastric band can involve a certain degree of complication, for example there is a risk of infection, and in rare cases, leaking into your stomach may occur. Some patients find that after a year or two of rapid weight loss they are left with excess skin. This is not a definitive list and symptoms will vary with each patient. Please ask your consultant for more information.


You should be able to go home one to two days after the operation. Most people need two weeks to recover after the operation. You will need to visit hospital regularly to have the banding adjusted. You will need to attend follow-up appointments with your doctor, dietician and patient support groups.On average people lose around half of their excess weight within two years of surgery. Average actual weight loss is around half a stone per month, though this varies with each patient. Most people can expect to lose a significant amount of weight loss within nine to 12 months. These figures are a guide.  
Last Updated ( Saturday, 23 January 2010 )