Gastric band surgery, also known as gastric banding, is considered the safest, most cost effective surgical treatment for obesity today. Gastric banding surgery is generally performed laparoscopically (through key hole surgery) and takes less than an hour to perform. This means, only minimal scarring, shorter aneasthetic times (with subsequently shorter hospital stays!) and faster recovery times. Gastric banding surgery is proven to reduce your excess body weight rapidly and keep it off long term!
It is because of these facts that it is important, as paramedics to understand gastric banding so that we are better equipped to treat the potential complications of gastric band surgery.
How does a gastric band work? A gastric band is basically a silicon band filled with saline (salty water) and inserted over the proximal (top) end of the stomach. This forms a band around the top of the stomach making it physically difficult to eat to excess. As your stomach naturally shrinks with less food, you can adjust the tightness of the band by simply adding or subtracting the amount of saline within the band. This process is done in your bariatric surgeon’s office and takes about five minutes.
Here is a video of the gastric banding procedure being performed:
Benefits of Gastric Banding
The gastric banding procedure is considered one of the most cost effective, safe, bariatric surgery solutions around today. Gastric banding is completely reversible, leaves minimal scarring, and is proven to reduce excess weight rapidly.
Frequently Asked Questions Gastric Banding
1. What happens if the band breaks and leaks? The gastric band is a hollow plastic tube, filled with salty water -- salty water is considered isotonic (meaning that it has the same osmolarity as blood), which means that it will not cause any problem whatsoever to your stomach or surrounding tissues.
2. Is it normal to feel as though the gastric band is tighter in the mornings? Yes, this is because of the fluid shift while you lay flat during sleep. This is a common complaint, and if it becomes a concern to you you should talk to your bariatric surgeon, who may decide to loosen the gastric band a little.
3. How much does a gastric band cost? Gastric banding surgery usually cost around $5000 in Australia, but this can be as high as $20,000 in the US. Some cheaper alternatives may include overseas surgery in countries where the overall cost of health care is much cheaper. In many of these oveseas private hospitals, the surgeons are highly qualified, trained, and experienced bariatric surgeons, but the associated cost of surgery (such as hospital stays) are considerably cheaper. In Australia, gastric banding is considered a health requirement, and not cosmetic, which means that the government may subsidize much of the cost. Even so, it is important to remember that often the quoted price of gastric banding surgery is only the surgeon’s fees and does not include the cost of hospital stays, aneasthetists, dietiticians, etc.
4. Is gastric banding considered cosmetic surgery? No, obesity is recognised globally as one of the greatest risk factors for morbidity and mortality, and consequently, gastric banding surgery is recognised as a necessary surgical treatment option for obesity and morbid obesity.
Gastric banding is a relatively new surgical treatment for obesity and weight loss therapy. It is widely used around the world and many of our call outs to patients who suffer with obesity are likely to have had gastric banding surgery or other bariatric surgery. As paramedics, it is important to know the potential risks and surgical complications associated with gastric band surgery so that we are better equiped to advise and treat people who have signicant or minor complications or discomforts. Gastric banding is not considered cosmetic surgery, gastric banding is an important medical and surgical treatment for people who suffer with morbid obesity and have had no other weight loss options available to them.