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Weight Loss Operations: Gastric Band

By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD

A gastric band acts like a belt around the top part of the stomach and creates a small pouch. Food enters the pouch and then passes slowly through the opening created by the band into the main part of the stomach.

Ultimately, a gastric band severely restricts the amount of food that you can comfortably eat and helps to keep you fuller for longer. It’s fitted using keyhole surgery in a one-hour operation under a general anaesthetic. Most people are in hospital for no more than 1-2 days.

The band can be tightened or loosened to alter the amount of food that can be eaten and the rate at which it passes into the main part of the stomach – in fact, most people have their band adjusted several times in the early months until the setting is optimal for their individual weight loss. These adjustments take only a few minutes and don’t require an anaesthetic.

Whilst a gastric band is usually fitted with plans to leave it there permanently, one of the main advantages is that it can be removed without leaving any permanent changes to your stomach.

Studies show that people lose between 50 to 65 percent of their excess weight within two years of having a gastric band fitted. However, you still need to be prepared to restrict what you eat. Ultimately, this involves pureeing all your food for around the first four weeks, followed by mashing for the next few weeks, before finally returning to solid food – and even then, you will only be able to eat small amounts.

Complications are rare with this procedure – statistics show the death rate associated with this procedure is around 1 in every 2,000 operations.

For more information read Juliette's Weight Loss Surgery Info.

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