Gastric Band Surgery Cost and Procedure Information
This gastric band overview page will explore what a gastric band is. It will cover what the procedure involves and it will also touch on some of the reasons you may choose to have any form of weight loss surgery. There will be a specific focus on gastric band surgery.
Why have a gastric band operation?
Gastric band surgery is a form of weight loss surgery. The medical term given to all types of weight loss surgery is bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery can provide an effective way to tackle obesity. It can result in significant weight loss that is both long-lasting and beneficial for your health. The procedure achieves this by reducing the amount of food that you can physically consume. A band is placed around the stomach, which creates a feeling of fullness after eating smaller amounts of food. This, therefore, reduces your calorie intake, and the result is a gradual weight reduction.
The operation results will differ for everyone, and you must follow the surgeon's instructions. Your surgeon will encourage you to make healthy lifestyle changes in addition to your surgery. This will maximise the benefits and help you achieve the results you desire. Most people who have a gastric band will experience up to a 50% excess weight reduction. They also experience an improvement in obesity-related symptoms.
What does a gastric band operation involve?
A gastric band is an adjustable silicone band. The band wraps around the upper part of the stomach. By placing a band at the top of the stomach, you will feel fuller after eating a smaller volume of food. Effectively, the amount of food you will need to eat before feeling full will decrease significantly after the band is in place. As a result, you will consume less food and thus fewer calories. This enables a gradual and long-lasting weight reduction.
Placing the gastric band around the top of the stomach requires an operation. This is carried out under general anaesthetic. You can expect the procedure to last around two hours. There are different methods for carrying out the operation, and your surgeon can discuss the options with you. Your surgeon will consider the following when advising you on the best treatment options:
- Your general health
- Past medical history
- Your goals of treatment
For gastric band surgery, generally, the band is placed around the stomach using a keyhole technique. This means the surgeon uses instruments that are passed through small holes made in your skin. The surgeon can then visualise the stomach without making any large incisions. The surgeon will then pass a silicone band around the upper stomach. This effectively creates a small pouch at the top. The size of this can then be adjusted later if necessary without further surgery.
What makes an ideal candidate for gastric band surgery?
Gastric band surgery is an effective way to lose weight. It can significantly reduce your BMI. It may also improve obesity-related health conditions. That being said, the procedure is not suitable for everyone.
Gastric band surgery is ideal if you:
- Have a BMI above 40 or a BMI above 35 and an obesity-related condition
- Have previously tried diet and lifestyle measures to reduce your weight
- Are aware of all the different procedure options available to you
- Wish to achieve long-term weight loss
- Plan to improve your diet and lifestyle in addition to surgery
We advise you to gather lots of information about all the treatments that are available for weight loss. This will empower you to make the best decision for yourself. Your surgeon will equally want to make sure you have the most appropriate procedure to achieve your goals. Your surgeon will explore lots of areas during your consultation, including:
- past medical history
- previous operations
- any medications you take
- what you are hoping to achieve
The gastric band procedure will only be suitable for you if you are willing to make lifestyle changes in addition to the surgery. You must be committed to long-term weight loss and making positive changes to your lifestyle habits. To achieve this, you must be willing to attend follow-up appointments after the procedure. You must also be willing to engage with a dietitian in order to ensure you eat well following the surgery.
Is a gastric band right for me?
There are lots of different weight loss treatments and surgeries available. We, of course, encourage you to try methods of weight loss such as dieting, healthy food choices and exercise, before embarking on a surgical treatment approach. As there are different surgical options available, it is good to be well informed of your options. This will ensure you make the right decision for yourself.
Gastric band surgery is an effective treatment if:
- You have a BMI over 40
- You have a BMI over 35 and other obesity-related health conditions such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease.
The treatment will enable you to lose weight and reduce your BMI. However, it does require lifestyle changes to occur in addition to the gastric band procedure. Nevertheless, the surgery, combined with positive lifestyle changes, can enable you to reduce your BMI. It can also improve any obesity-related health problems you may suffer from.
Goals of the treatment therefore include:
- A reduction in BMI
- An improvement in obesity-related health conditions
What will a gastric band not resolve?
The benefits of gastric band treatment are vast and can help you to achieve your weight loss goals. However, as with any other treatment, there are limitations. For this reason, it is very important to discuss your goals in detail with your surgeon. This will ensure you pick the most suitable procedure to achieve your desired outcomes.
Some of the limitations of gastric band surgery are listed below. These can be covered in greater depth during your consultation with your BAPRAS surgeon.
A gastric band will not improve your dietary habits
A gastric band will enable you to feel full more quickly. This will reduce the portion sizes that you eat. However, it will not change the food content that you do decide to eat. As you will be eating less food, it is even more important than the food you eat is nutritious and healthy. Your diet is something that you will need to control yourself. You will not automatically feel a desire to eat more healthily simply by having a gastric band. Instead, you will need to dedicate some time to improving your diet. You may benefit from engaging with a dietician for advice about what you should and shouldn’t eat. Your patient care adviser at Medbelle will also be happy to direct you to advice for healthy eating.
A gastric band is not a cure for obesity
A gastric band operation is just the beginning of your journey to a lower BMI and healthier lifestyle. Although a gastric band will enable you to lose weight, it will also require hard work and determination. A gastric band will provide the most effective results if paired with a healthy diet, regular exercise and good lifestyle choices. Therefore, you should be prepared to make healthy changes in your life to supplement the surgery and achieve your weight loss targets.
Weight loss effects are not instantaneous
A gastric band is not a quick fix. Although many people will achieve significant weight loss soon after treatment, you should not expect to see a BMI reduction straight away. The gastric band works by reducing your food intake. Therefore, you will be consuming a reduced amount of calories. It will take time for your weight to reduce as a consequence of this. However, this process of gradual weight loss will achieve a reduced BMI in a controlled and long-term way. We are confident that you will be happy with the end results.
What does gastric band surgery involve?
The gastric band procedure is a surgical operation. It will last approximately one to two hours. You will be under general anaesthetic during this time. This means you will be asleep during the operation, and you will be unaware of the procedure.
Your surgeon will make between three and five small incisions into your tummy during the operation, depending on their approach. These holes allow small instruments to be inserted into the tummy. Air is then pumped into the holes. This allows the surgeon to look around the inside of your tummy and perform the operation. The operation will involve the surgeon making a small opening behind your stomach. This allows them to feed through the silicone band. The silicone band is looped around the upper portion of the stomach and then secured. This is the gastric band, and it is what will control the amount of food that can enter the stomach.
The surgeon will then attach a small tube to the gastric band. This tube will link the gastric band to an injection port just underneath the skin. The injection port allows the surgeon to inject a fluid that will travel through the tube to the gastric band. The purpose of this is to inflate or deflate the gastric band. Depending on the amount of fluid in the tube, the gastric band will be tight or loose. Essentially, the effect of the gastric band is under the control of the fluid in the injection port.
After the gastric band, tube, and injection port are firmly in place. The surgeon will then complete the surgery. The small incisions that have been made will be stitched up neatly to reduce scarring. You can then be taken to recovery to gradually wake up following the procedure.
What should you expect during your gastric band procedure?
First, you will meet with your surgeon to discuss treatment options and the details of the planned procedure. They will also be able to answer any questions that you may have. You must have a full understanding of the procedure and its risks. That way, you can be sure you are making the right choice to go ahead with the surgery. If you have any concerns, make sure to ask your surgeon. They will be happy to address any questions you may have.
After this discussion, if you’d like to go ahead with the surgery, you will be asked to sign a consent form detailing that you understand the reason for the surgery, the intended benefits and possible risks.
General anaesthesia is the anaesthetic of choice during a gastric band procedure. This means you will be completely unaware of the surgery. You will feel no pain and will be asleep during the course of the operation.
Before you have the general anaesthesia, you will have a thorough assessment of your general health, medical conditions and medications. This will ensure that it is safe for you to have the anaesthesia. You will also meet with an anaesthetist. This is a doctor who specialises in pain relief, anaesthesia and comfort during surgery. They will be the doctor who gives you your anaesthesia. As soon as you receive the anaesthetic, you can have the procedure.
Some people can wake up from anaesthesia feeling groggy or nauseous. If you have concerns about this, make sure to speak to your anaesthetist, who can provide you with more information.
Gastric band operations may vary slightly depending on the type of band used and how the surgeon wishes to approach the operation. However, most operations are very similar. As per the information above, the procedure uses a keyhole technique. The medical term for this is laparoscopic. This means instead of one large incision being made, three to four small incisions will be made. This will reduce scarring and recovery time.
The operation will take between one and two hours. Your surgeon will discuss any specific details with you and answer any questions you have about the operation.
After the procedure
Once the surgeon finishes the operation, staff will take you from the operating theatre to a recovery bay. There will be many healthcare professionals to look after you once you wake up. You may feel quite tired and a little confused after the procedure. This is normal and is just part of the general anaesthetic wearing off. The medical team will monitor you to make sure that you are recovering well and are not experiencing any pain.
Generally, you will need to stay in hospital overnight following the operation. This is to ensure that you are recovering well and are not experiencing any problems following the operation. The medical team will be on hand to look after you and provide you with adequate pain relief.
You will be able to go home the following day, as long as you are feeling well and the surgeon is happy with your progress. We would advise you to arrange transport in advance as you will not be able to drive. You may also wish to have a family member or friend look after you for the first 24 hours. We can also assist in arranging transport if you wish.
We hope this gastric band procedure page provides you with much of the information you need about the operation. We understand that there is a lot of information to take in. If you have any concerns or questions you’d like answering, please contact your patient care adviser at Medbelle.
Risks & Complications
Gastric band risks and complications
What are the risks and complications of gastric band surgery?
Every medical treatment and procedure will have risks associated with it. A gastric band operation is no exception to this. It is important that you are aware of the risks and complications that can occur with gastric band surgery. This ensures that you make an informed decision about whether to proceed with treatment.
The risks and complications of gastric band surgery will include general surgical risks, such as infection, and risks specific to weight loss surgery. This gastric band risks and complications page will explore some of these risks and provide you with the relevant information. However, your surgeon will cover this in more detail. If you have any specific concerns, be sure to make a note of them to discuss at your consultation.
As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection. Your surgeon will do everything to minimise this risk and reduce the likelihood of you developing an infection after the procedure. When infection does occur, the infection is most often minor and can be treated with a short course of antibiotics. In severe cases, you may be required to be re-admitted to the hospital to have a stronger course of antibiotics.
The best thing that you can do is to be aware of the signs of infection. This means that, should you experience an infection, you can spot it immediately and seek medical help.
Signs to look for include:
- A high temperature above 38 degrees
- Redness at the site of incision and spreading outwards
- An unpleasant, foul-smelling discharge coming from the wound
- Pus coming from the incision sites
- Pain which is not improving with pain relief medication
If you experience these symptoms, we advise you to seek medical attention immediately. This will enable you to get the treatment you need quickly, thus minimising the infection spreading.
Following surgery, you will be more stationary than usual as you recover. A lack of movement in the body can cause the blood to pool and clot. These clots can become very dangerous if they travel to the lungs as they can interfere with your breathing. This is a well-known complication of operations, and as such, you will be assessed thoroughly for your risk. Preventative methods can then be used, for example, compression stockings or blood-thinning medication.
Whilst we do not anticipate that you will experience this side effect, it is again important to be aware of the signs. These can include:
- Swelling of one calf
- Redness and warmth in the lower leg
- Chest pain that becomes worse on breathing
- Shortness of breath
Should you experience any of these signs following your gastric band procedure, we ask you to seek medical help immediately.
Slipping of the gastric band
During your operation, the gastric band will be positioned around the upper part of your stomach. It will then be firmly secured. This will then remain in place and reduce the volume of food that you can consume.
In some cases, the gastric band can slip slightly out of place. This can lead to feelings of heartburn, vomiting and nausea. If you experience these symptoms, we recommend that you see your GP. If it is found that the gastric band has indeed slipped, then you may require a second operation to reposition or replace the gastric band.
Gallstones are small, hard stones that develop in the gallbladder. This is an organ situated near your liver that stores bile. Gallstones often form in individuals with a high cholesterol diet, but they are also common throughout the population. Gallstones are particularly common in the first couple of years following weight loss surgery. This is because rapid weight loss can result in gallstone formation.
Some individuals can have gallstones without experiencing any problems. However, gallstones can sometimes become stuck, or they can lead to an infection in this region of the body. Symptoms that might present as a result of this include:
- Yellowing of the eyes or skin, known as jaundice
- Itchy skin
- Pain in the upper right-hand side of your tummy
- A high temperature, possibly accompanied by chills
Once again, should you experience these symptoms, you should seek medical attention. In some cases, you may require an operation to remove the gallbladder.
Weight loss surgery can, in some cases, cause the stomach or gut to become too narrow. This means it can be difficult to consume food and absorb it. This can result in choking, difficulty swallowing, vomiting and pain. You can reduce the chance of this occurring by cutting food into small pieces and chewing thoroughly. If the gut does experience a blockage, your surgeon can pass a small flexible tube down the food passageway in order to widen the blockage.
Malnutrition refers to an individual who is not receiving enough nutrients. Even if a person is eating lots of calories, they can become malnourished if they do not eat a good variety of foods.
Malnutrition is a risk in gastric band surgery because you will consume less food, and the gut may work less effectively. If you eat less food, there is a lower likelihood of getting the daily level of vitamins and minerals that you require, and the body may not be able to absorb everything you consume. Despite this, it is possible to get the correct level of nutrients if the food that you do choose to eat is both healthy and varied.
In order to minimise the risk of malnutrition, you will most likely be advised to take nutritional supplements for the rest of your life. Your surgeon will discuss this with you during your consultation. In addition to this, you may initially have some blood tests to ensure that your body is responding to these supplements and that your body is getting the nutrients it requires.
If you were to become malnourished, you might experience a reduction in your energy levels, shortness of breath, pallor of your skin and palpitations.
Excess skin folds
Successfully losing weight may mean that you are left with excess skin folds. Folds of skin particularly form around the breasts, tummy and limbs. If this is something that affects you and causes you distress, there are treatments to correct the excess skin. This involves cosmetic surgery to remove the excess skin.
The gastric band risks and complications page covers just some of the risks, but this list is not exhaustive. We understand that this information can be overwhelming and a little daunting. However, it is important to be fully aware of the procedure as a whole before deciding to go ahead. Your BAPRAS surgeon will discuss all of these complications with you in further detail. They may also be able to indicate if you have any specific risks, given your previous medical history.
We encourage you to ask lots of questions about any concerns that you may have. Ensure that you inform yourself about all the risks before consenting and going ahead with the treatment.
Gastric band preparation
How should I prepare for my gastric band operation?
This gastric band preparation page gives you some insight into how you can prepare for the day of surgery. The gastric band procedure carries the lowest risk of the weight loss surgeries, and the hospital stay is short with a fast recovery time. Regardless, it is still an operation and therefore, you should prepare for this adequately. By preparing in advance, you will ensure that you have a more comfortable experience and relaxed recovery.
Everyone will have slightly different needs for their operation, but below is a list of things that you can do to help prepare yourself for the day of surgery.
Review all the material you have
You will have read lots of information about the surgery: what it involves, the risks and complications and the instructions you need to follow beforehand. It is a really good idea to have this information handy on the days leading up to surgery. You can familiarise yourself with what to expect. Importantly, you should review the instructions you’ve been given regarding stopping or continuing any medication that you take and when you should stop drinking and eating before the operation.
Prepare your kitchen
You will be lacking in energy when you return home after surgery. It’s a great idea to pre-prepare some meals and snacks before you leave for the hospital. That way, when you return home, you won’t need to worry about doing a food shop. Your surgeon will be able to advise you on the types of foods you should eat following surgery. This is likely to involve pureed foods initially.
Equally, we suggest that you put everything that you might need in an easy to reach place. You might like to put useful items on your kitchen worktop. This will reduce the need to stretch up into cupboards whilst you are recovering.
Get the support of family and friends
The recovery is generally quite quick with gastric band surgery. However, it might be useful to inform your friends and family that you are having surgery in advance. They may be able to take some time off to help you on your initial days at home. You could also arrange for a loved one to pick you up from the hospital so that you don’t have to worry about getting home safely and comfortably after surgery.
Give yourself time to relax
No matter how determined you are to get back to normal life quickly, we do encourage you to get sufficient rest after the treatment. You should return to your normal activities gradually. For this reason, we advise that in advance of your procedure, you schedule some time off. Postpone any social engagements and book a week or two off work.
We hope the advice featured in this gastric band preparation page is useful in preparing you for the day of surgery. Should you have any concerns, do get in touch with your patient care adviser at Medbelle.
Gastric band aftercare
This gastric band aftercare page will explore what you can expect after your operation.
What should I expect after my gastric band surgery?
Immediately after surgery, you are likely to feel tired and groggy. The operation takes one to two hours, and you will wake to feel the effects of the anaesthesia. You may also feel some pain, particularly at the sites of the incision. The healthcare team will help you manage this with suitable pain relief medication. You should expect to take pain medication for the first two weeks, but in the third week, you should aim to reduce this as the pain should have subsided by this time.
The aim of treatment is, of course, to lose weight. This weight loss, however, is not instantaneous. Everyone will respond slightly differently to the treatment. However, it usually takes at least 8 weeks for the effects of the procedure to be seen. The benefit of this is that the weight is lost in a gradual and controlled way. Most people can lose up to half of their excess body weight, and this is a gradual process that can occur over a two year period. Of course, this will be achieved in combination with a healthy lifestyle plan.
The gastric band procedure, along with a healthy diet and exercise regime, can ensure that you achieve your surgery goals in a healthy and sustainable way. It is important to note that the gastric band procedure is a reversible operation. This means that you can choose to have the gastric band removed at a later date. The stomach would return to its original state and, as such, weight could be put back on. The only way to avoid a return in this weight would be to continue with a healthy exercise and diet plan.
What should my diet look like after gastric band surgery?
You need to allow your stomach time to heal after the operation. Therefore, for the first few weeks following the surgery, you should eat pureed foods. You should also eat very small portions. This means that you should aim for 4-5 very small meals, rather than 3 large meals. You should also ensure that you drink 2 litres of fluid per day.
There are different ways to prepare pureed foods. You can use a food processor, masher or blender. The food should be relatively liquid-like, and therefore you can add sauces or water to the food in order to change the consistency. You should only be having around 6 tablespoons of this pureed food per meal, with lots of water. It can be surprising how full that you can feel. It is important that once you feel full, you stop eating any more.
Gradually, after a few weeks, you can begin to introduce solid foods. It is important not to attempt this prior to 2 weeks after your operation. This should be done slowly, and it is important that you chew this food very carefully. Again, once you feel full, stop eating any further food.
Eventually, you can return to a normal diet of three meals per day. You should aim to not snack in between these meals. You may find certain foods are difficult for you to eat, such as tough meats. You may benefit from speaking with a dietician about what your meals should incorporate. This can ensure you get all the nutrients you need from your three small meals each day.
When can I return to normal activity?
Although you can leave the hospital the day after your surgery, you will not be able to fully return to your normal activities for four to six weeks. We recommend taking a week or two off work to recover and then gradually introducing your normal activities.
After the operation, it is important that you give your body and your stomach the chance to rest However, it is important to start incorporating exercise as you are able. This can start with light exercise such as walking. Once you have recovered from the procedure, you should aim to exercise regularly. This exercise should be to a level where you feel slightly short of breath. You may wish to speak to your GP about developing an exercise plan. This, in combination with a healthy diet, will ensure you reach your treatment goals.
Will I have any follow-up appointments?
After gastric band surgery, you can expect to see healthcare professionals regularly. Importantly, in the weeks following surgery, you will need to see your surgeon again. This is because they need to inflate the gastric band.
During the operation, the gastric band is placed around the upper stomach. It is then connected via a tube to an injection port beneath the skin. The injection port provides a means of injecting fluid into the gastric band and inflating it. Four to six weeks after your operation, you will meet with your surgeon to have this fluid injected so that the gastric band inflates. This allows the entry into the stomach to be adjusted. The more the band inflates, the smaller the entry into the stomach becomes, and the less food that can be eaten.
You can expect to meet your surgeon several times in the first few months so that the fluid level can be altered. This is so that the right amount of inflation occurs so that you lose weight in a controlled and expected way.
In addition to the follow-up appointments with your surgeon, you will also need annual appointments with your GP. Your GP will keep an eye on your gastric band aftercare, and they will be able to ensure that you are keeping on track with your weight loss journey. Your GP may also measure aspects of your health, such as your vitamin and mineral levels. This will be in the form of a blood test. It is normal to see healthcare professionals frequently in the year after your procedure, so please be prepared for numerous clinic appointments.
We hope this gastric band aftercare page provides you with some information about what to expect after surgery. For any other questions, speak with your Patient Care Adviser.
Frequently Asked Questions
We understand that you may have many questions about gastric band surgery. This gastric band FAQs page explores some of the common questions people often have. However, if you feel your questions haven’t been answered, do remember that your initial consultation will provide you with the perfect opportunity to discuss these with your surgeon.
Gastric Band Surgery FAQs
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All of the information found on our website is sourced from highly reputable experts, government-approved authorities and is widely used by healthcare professionals.
- https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/weight-loss-surgery/ NHS
- Uptodate.com Up to Date
- https://asmbs.org/patients/bariatric-surgery-proceduresAmerican Society of Metabolic and Gastric Surgery
Our content is written by our Medical Quality Managers and Patient Care Advisers, all of who have medical backgrounds and training. Prior to publishing, all the information is reviewed by a surgeon specialised within the relevant field.