Saturday, December 5, 2009

By Philip Youngwood

According to the Department of Health*, obesity is one of the biggest health problems in the UK with one in four adults affected. Obesity is not a simple problem to fix, as many people have trouble losing weight through diet and exercise.

Medical procedures, such as gastric banding surgery, can be performed to help very overweight people lose a considerable amount of weight. Gastric banding and gastric balloons usually take under an hour to fit, whereas a gastric bypass takes a couple of hours to complete.

Gastric banding, otherwise known as lap banding, aims to make you feel full after eating a small portion of food. The way it works is by restricting the capacity of your stomach, therefore leading to eating less and losing weight.

A band is placed around your stomach during the procedure to create two compartments, keeping a narrow opening between the top and bottom so that food can pass through it slowly. As there is a limited space for food, it quickly creates the sensation of fullness. The food makes its way through the rest of the digestive system once the food passes through the opening into the lower part of the stomach.

The procedure requires a general anaesthetic as the gastric band is fitted by keyhole surgery. The gastric band surgery lasts between 30 minutes to an hour, and requires the patient to stay overnight to recover and recuperate. If needed, adjustments can be made to the gastric band during follow up appointments depending on how much weight is lost, and how quickly it is being lost.

Those with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more can be suitable for a gastric band; they can also be used by patients with a BMI of 35-40 who suffer from other weight related diseases such as diabetes.

Nonetheless there are risks as well as benefits, as with all procedures, and it is important to weigh these up before proceeding. Your doctor will illustrate the risks associated with the surgery, such as the possible slippage of the gastric band, which can lead to blockages and needs urgent correction.

*Department of Health (2009). Obesity.

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1 Comment:

  1. Rebecca said...
    thanks for the information, i have got to go for scans in a couple of days to see whether i can have a Gastric band.

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