Gastric banding is a method in which a band or ring is applied around the upper portion of the stomach, dividing it in two, like a sand watch, with a small sac in the superior section which will only be able to contain a reduced amount of food. The patient will rapidly feel plenty with small portions, and therefore loose weight fast. This procedure does not need to cut nor staple the stomach. A gastric band can reduce the overweight in a 50%, similar to what the sleeve gastrectomy can do.
Advantages of gastric banding
It is a minimal invasive procedure since there is no need to cut, staple or compress the stomach as with other techniques. Patients are usually hospitalized only for one day.
The band is adjustable, meaning the surgeon can tighten or loosen it by injecting or extracting liquid at the valve underneath the skin (also called subcutaneous port).
This surgery is reversible, even though it is meant to be placed indefinitely, since it has been observed that when the obese patient looses weight and retires the band, it is highly probable they will regain that weight through time.
Risks of laparoscopic gastric banding
The band is a foreign object that can generate infection or rejection from the patient's organism. Leaks can also appear, as well as bending of the catheter that connects the port to the band, which will require new surgical procedures for their correction.
The band might not provide enough plethora sensation even when an adequate adjustment is made; in this case the patient tries to eat more and will present with persistent vomit. Some patients with a band in place will have an increased intake or liquids and soft food rich in calories (ice creams, milk shakes, sodasnormal, sweetened juices, etc.) with a lower weight loss or even a weight gain.
The band can dislodge caudal and the small stomach that remains above can dilate. This can be a cause of partial obstruction and vomit, having the need to remove the band with a surgical procedure.
Risks include infection of the band or the access port, bleeding and band dislocation, among others. The use of the band requires good discipline and frequent contact with the physician in order to make the necessary adjustments and obtain the expected results. Unfortunately, one out of every three patients might not achieve good results with this method, either because the weight loss is insufficient or because of complications with the gastric band.
Due to the reasons above mentioned, we do not consider it as an alternative in treating morbid obesity in our hospital.