The adjustable gastric bands have the advantage of being the lowest risk, least invasive and most easily reversible bariatric surgical operation. They are restrictive in nature due to the ability to adjust the degree of restriction through a simple procedure.

The procedure involves placing an adjustable band around the upper part of the stomach. (The band is filled by adding saline fluid through a port that lies under the skin of the abdomen.) These anatomical changes function to provide a sensation of fullness after a very small meal and reduce hunger between meals.

The disadvantages include an overall expected weight loss that is less than other weight loss surgical procedures. On average, patients may expect to lose 40% of their excess weight. However, if the patient is particularly compliant, they can expect much better weight loss.

Gastric banding advantages

  • Lower operative complication and short-term mortality rate than other procedures
  • Minimally invasive surgical approach
  • No stomach stapling or cutting, or intestinal rerouting
  • Adjustable
  • Reversible
  • Low malnutrition risk

Gastric banding disadvantages    

  • Slower weight loss and results are highly variable
  • Regular follow-up critical for optimal results
  • Requires an implanted medical device
  • In some cases effectiveness may be reduced due to slippage of the band, the access port may leak requiring minor revisional surgery, gastric obstruction or band erosion may occur requiring urgent surgery

Gastric banding recovery timeline

  • Hospital stay is often same day or less than 24 hours
  • Most patients return to normal activity in about 1 week
  • Full surgical recovery usually occurs in about 2 weeks


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