The WHO (World Health Organization) says that obesity has reached extremely high proportions worldwide. In fact, it is estimated that at least 2,8 million people die due to obesity or overweight each year.
Overweight and obesity are defined by the OMS as an abnormal accumulation of fat tissue, which has a lot of consequences for health. The diagnose of overweight and obesity is made by the Body Mass Index (BMI). It is considered overweight when there is a BMI higher than 25 and obesity when it is higher than 30.
Due to the important consequences that obesity has in general health, experts have developed some definitive treatments for those patients who have not been able to lose weight with conventional measures like diet and sport.
WHAT IS A GASTRIC BAND SURGERY?
The experts define the gastric band surgery as a type of bariatric surgery (please follow the link to read on Bariatric Surgery Consultation) that has the main objective of reducing the stomach capacity through the placement of an adjustable band around the upper part of the stomach. This way, the pouch of the stomach is smaller and the person will fill it up quickly when eating; in fact, the stomach can only contain about an ounce of food.
The gastric band placed around the stomach is adjustable. The doctor places a tube that connects the skin with the band to inject or remove saline solution inside the band. When the doctor injects saline in the band, it becomes tighter and when saline is removed, the band becomes loosened, which allows adapting the band to the patients' needs to reduce side effects or to increase the weight loss.
WHO CAN HAVE A GASTRIC BAND SURGERY?
The gastric band surgery is considered a good option for those people who need to lose a lot of weight because they suffer from obesity and some related comorbidities, which affect their general health condition.
As it was said before, the BMI is a good indicator to categorize a person's weight. However, it doesn't specifically determine the percentage of fat that a person has, so it is not the only characteristic considered to determine whether a person needs to undergo this procedure or not.
The patient must have a BMI of 40 or more, or a BMI of at least 30 and at least one serious comorbidity related to obesity. Likewise, the patient has to be at least 18 years old and must have tried to lose weight with a proper diet and exercise plan without success.
Finally, the overweight or obesity must not be caused by a disease or medical condition, the patient must be compromised to adjust his/her eating habits, must not consume alcohol in excess and must not be pregnant (if the patient is a woman).
The gastric band surgery is not a procedure for those people who just want to lose a few pounds of weight or change a specific area of their body. However, it is important to know that only a qualified doctor can determine if a patient is an ideal candidate for a gastric band surgery and what the best technique for each one of them is.
HOW IS A GASTRIC BAND SURGERY PERFORMED?
The patient must visit a qualified doctor to determine whether he/she is actually a good candidate for a gastric band surgery or not. The day of the procedure, the patient will be under general anesthesia.
The most common method to place the band around the stomach is the laparoscopic surgery, which consists in performing a small incision in the skin and introduce a tiny camera inside the belly to see the stomach and the organs surrounding it.
After that, the surgeon will place the band around the upper part of the stomach. This procedure does not involve any cuts of the stomach. In most cases, the surgery takes between 30 and 60 minutes to be completed.
After this procedure, the gastric band will limit the amount of food that can be eaten by the patient, so he/she will feel full quickly and will limit the portions of his/her meals.
HOW MUCH DOES A GASTRIC BAND SURGERY COST?
The cost of a gastric band surgery is usually high and it may widely vary according to the method used to perform the procedure, the BMI of the patient and his/her general health condition, the goals of weight loss. The used technique such as laparoscopic, the clinic location are also factors that influence the price.