The Basics of Laparoscopic Gastric Banding Surgery

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Lap Band SurgeryLaparoscopic gastric banding surgery is a type of bariatric surgery used for weight loss. It is often used as a valid option for people who suffer from obesity and who have not been able to lose weight with more traditional methods.

In a laparoscopic gastric banding surgery, the surgeon places a band around the upper part of the stomach, which helps limit the amount of food ingested and makes the patient feel full sooner.

How to Prepare for Laparoscopic Gastric Banding Surgery

Laparoscopic gastric banding is an intrusive surgery and it should not be taken lightly. Patients should prepare for it with plenty of time in advance. Your surgeon will inform you of the exact steps you need to take to be prepared, but following are some common guidelines:

  1. Take the tests ordered by the surgeon.
    Start an exercise program, exercising at least 3 times per week, 30 minutes a day.
    Read medical literature about the surgery and what the typical expected results are.
  2. Stop smoking.
  3. Follow the diet that the doctor orders. Often, this will include a soft or liquid diet high in protein and low in calories
  4. Stop taking aspirin, cold medicine, blood thinners and other types of drugs as indicated by the surgeon. You should also inform the surgeon about any medication that you take regularly and he may ask you to stop taking it or to replace it with an approved medication.
  5. Depending on your medical history, you and your doctor will decide if you need a cholecystectomy, a surgery that removes the gallbladder, before a laparoscopic gastric banding surgery.

A few days before your surgery, your doctor may ask you to take these steps:

  • Wash your abdomen with an antimicrobial solution that the surgeon will prescribe.
  • Avoid Glucophage or other medications that include metformin.
  • Start a clear liquid diet.
  • Clean your bowels with a bowel preparation.

How the Surgery Is Performed

Before the surgery, the patient is sedated with a general anesthesia, so that he or she doesn’t feel any pain. It starts with the doctor placing a tiny camera inside the abdomen with a tube, called a laparoscope. The laparoscope allows the surgeon to perform the surgery in a much less invasive way, requiring only small openings in the patient’s body.

Typically the surgeon makes from one to five incisions in the abdomen, one of which is used for the laparoscope and the others for instruments. The surgeon then places the band around the upper part of the stomach. The band is made of silicone and is inflatable and flexible.

The surgeon then closes up the wounds. If everything goes as planned, the whole procedure may only take about an hour.

After the Surgery

Many patients can go back home the same day or the day after the surgery. Normally, activity that doesn’t involve exercise or physically demanding tasks can be resumed after 2 days, although most patients take one week off from work.

After the surgery, you should stick to a liquid or soft diet for a couple of weeks. More solid foods will be added gradually according to the instructions of your doctor. Normal nutritious eating is typically allowed after 6 weeks.

Depending on your development, the band might be loosened or tightened. There is no need to have surgery for adjusting the band. It is done with a needle through an access port under the skin of your abdomen. Adjustments are done to regulate the amount of food you eat before feeling full or in the following cases:

  • Problems with eating
  • Not losing weight or not losing enough weight
  • Vomiting

For many, the weight loss achieved after laparoscopic gastric banding surgery is quite easy, although the new ways of eating may take some getting used to. For people considered to be mortally obese, this form of bariatric surgery may be literally life saving.

Laparoscopic Gastric Banding in the Bahamas

Laparoscopic gastric banding surgery performed by the experienced surgical team at the Bahamas Medical Center can make this potentially life-saving surgery available to patients who might not otherwise be able to afford this procedure. (Typically bariatric surgery is not covered by insurance.) Speak with the staff at the Bahamas Medical Center today to learn more about surgical options and the details of a weight-loss vacation in the Bahamas.