» Gastric Band

Gastric Banding / Lap-Band

An adjustable but permanent silicone ring that grips the upper stomach. It works by helping you feel full very early on during a meal.

Expected results:

You can expect to lose 20 – 25% of your total body weight during treatment.

Who it works especially well for:

This works very well for clients with BMI over 30. It may also be suitable for those patients who are not ready for a stapled procedure.

Additional Information

It takes 30 – 35 minutes to insert the gastric band under a general anaesthetic. Some clients may go home on the same day, others may stay overnight.

Clients should feel the effects of the band early but success is highly reliant on attending your follow-up appointments to ensure the band-fills suit you and your lifestyle.

A gastric band is an inflatable silicone ring which can be used to control the amount of food passing from the stomach into the digestive tract. The operation is done as a laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery procedure while you sleep under a general anaesthetic.

When the gastric band is placed around the upper part of the stomach, it creates a small pouch at the top of the stomach with a small opening, or ‘channel’, to the rest of the stomach. The size of the pouch and the channel both depend upon how much the ring is inflated. During a meal the food enters the pouch before passing through the opening into the main part of the stomach. The rate at which food passes through depends on the size of the channel between the pouch and the main part of the stomach. The more the ring is inflated, the narrower the channel and the more difficult it is for food to pass through.

There is a small port attached by thin tubing to the gastric band. This port is placed just under the skin allowing the gastric band to be adjusted as necessary. Fluid can then be injected or withdrawn to adjust the size of the opening between the upper and lower parts of the stomach.

This method of surgery is recommended for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or over. It is a surgically proven method of weight loss when combined with a supervised diet, activity and lifestyle programme. On average, clients tend to lose 20 – 25% of their total body weight during treatment.

With a gastric band you will feel full quicker and for longer than usual. The procedure is less invasive and easier to reverse than other surgical techniques designed to aid weight loss. The band is adjustable so we can vary the size of the opening between the pouch and the main part of the stomach if necessary. Hospital stay is shorter compared to having a gastric bypass or a sleeve gastrectomy operation.

As with any operation there are risks associated with having a general anaesthetic. Specific to this operation, there is a small risk of wound infection, chest infection, deep vein thrombosis (DVT, or blood clots in the legs), or pulmonary emboli (blood clot on the lungs). Most people will not experience any serious complications from their surgery. The risks increase for people who already have other medical conditions, such as heart disease or high blood pressure. However, any problems that do arise can be rapidly assessed and appropriate action taken.

There is a 5-10% risk of complications associated with the gastric band that can occur after surgery. These can include the band slipping or moving into the stomach, an increase in the size of the stomach or gullet (oesophagus) and displacement or infection of the port. This may result in the band or port needing to be removed, repositioned or replaced. Up to one in 10 patients will need further surgery for these or other complications.

A few weeks before your operation, we will ask you to attend the Pre-admission Assessment Clinic. This appointment is an opportunity to check that you are fully prepared for your admission, treatment and discharge home. You may also have routine investigations such as blood tests, ECG (recording of your heart) or a chest x-ray done at this time to check your fitness for surgery.

Please follow the pre-operative diet sheet for bariatric surgery before your operation.

Make sure you go for a 30 minute walk every day, as this is good cardiovascular exercise. This will help reduce the risk of post-operative complications, as well as help you lose some weight prior to surgery. If you smoke, try your best to stop six weeks before your planned surgery date.

You should also do deep breathing exercises whilst you are having your 30 minute walk each day.

Please do not have anything to eat (not even sweets or chewing gum) six hours before surgery, and nothing to drink two hours before surgery.

  • If you regularly take medicines in the morning, you should take them before 7.00 am, with a small sip of water if necessary
  • If you are diabetic, you must not take your insulin or diabetic tablets on the morning of your operation
  • If you take blood-thinning medications (such as warfarin or aspirin) and/or are allergic to any medications, please contact us well in advance before your surgery

You will be admitted to the ward on the day of your operation. Your temperature, blood pressure, respiration rate, height, weight and urine will be measured to give the nurses a baseline (normal reading) from which to work. We will measure you for special stockings (sometimes known as ‘TEDS’) to prevent blood clots (known as ‘DVT’ or ‘deep vein thrombosis’) from forming in your legs following surgery. We may also start you on anti-coagulant (blood-thinning) injections to help minimise this risk. The surgeon will explain the procedure to you in detail before asking you to sign a consent form. This is to make sure that you understand the risks and benefits of having the operation.

All make-up, nail varnish, jewellery (except wedding rings, which can be taped into place), body piercings and dentures must be removed. One of the nurses will then come and prepare you for the operating theatre.

You will wake up in the recovery room before you are taken back to the ward.

Please tell us if you are in pain or feel sick. We have tablets/ injections that we can give you as and when required, so that you remain comfortable and pain free.

You may feel light-headed or sleepy after the operation. This is due to the anaesthetic and may continue until the next morning. It is also common to have a sore throat for 2 or 3 days after having a general anaesthetic. This sometimes happens because the anaesthetist (specialist doctor) has to pass a tube down your windpipe to give you the anaesthetic gases that keep you asleep during the operation.

Four hours after your operation we will ask you to stand up and start moving around.

Please make sure that you do your breathing exercises 10 times every two hours (between 8.00 am and 10.00 pm) and walk around for 10 minutes every two hours. You can combine doing your breathing exercise with walking around as you did before your operation.

Your wound may have been closed with clips that will be removed in clinic 7–10 days after surgery.

You will be allowed to start slowly sipping unlimited amounts of water, tea, coffee, milk, squash, Ribena, soups or Bovril on the day of surgery.

Provided you are well enough you may be able to go home on the day of your operation.

If possible, please arrange for someone to come and collect you by car on the day of your discharge home, as you will not be able to drive yourself or travel on public transport.

You should continue to go for a minimum of a 30 minute walk every day as this is good cardiovascular exercise.

You may feel different sensations in your wound such as tingling, itching or numbness. This is normal and is part of the healing process. However, if you experience a high temperature or fever, swelling, pain, discharge or excessive redness around the wound site, please contact us.

If you are unable to swallow or are having difficulties in swallowing please contact us using the numbers given to you before you go home.

You will be given a diet plan to follow by the dietician prior to surgery, but in brief you will be expected to follow the basic diet structure as outlined below:

  • Days 2–6 after surgery, you will be on a liquid diet
  • Days 7–13 after surgery, you will be on a puréed diet
  • Weeks 2–4 after surgery, you will be on a soft diet
  • After 4 weeks you can return to a regular diet