Important Facts On Gastric Banding And Sleeve Gastrectomy

By Martha Foster

Having a balanced diet and engaging in physical activity regularly are two of the most well-known options of weight loss. While they may be effective in a majority of New York residents, there are cases where a more aggressive approach is needed. Surgical options such as gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy are often considered as a last resort for such cases. They are types of what is referred to as bariatric surgery.

The two types of procedures are restrictive surgeries. This means that they reduce the size of the stomach which effectively reduces the amount of food that it can hold. Persons who have had the procedures begin to have early satiety which reduces their food intake. Over time, they begin to lose weight since most of the food that is eaten is used to provide energy and very little, if any, is stored as fat.

As the name suggests, gastric banding involves the use of an elastic band made of silicone. This band is slipped onto the upper portion of the stomach using a laparoscopic approach. In laparascopic surgeries, procedures are conducted through small incisions made in the abdomen as opposed to open procedures where one large incision is needed. The squeeze that is provided by the band on converts the stomach into a small pouch.

To retain control on the band, the surgeon connects it to an area just below the skin using a plastic tube. Sterile water or saline can be injected into this tube or drawn from it to increase or reduce the squeeze. The final effect is increased or reduced capacity. Increasing the capacity may be necessary if there are unwanted side effects. Reducing it, on the other hand, is necessary if the benefits are not being realized.

The results of gastric banding greatly vary from one person to another. Studies show that most people achieve weight loss of between 40 and 50% in a few months. While it is a generally safe procedure, there are a number of side effects that one should anticipate. Those that are most commonly encountered include vomiting, nausea, minor bleeding and infections. Adjusting the squeeze helps reduce the nausea and vomiting.

Sleeve gastrectomy involves the removal of a large part of the stomach to leave between 20 and 25% of the original. The resultant shape is tubular or sleeve-shaped (hence the name). Weight loss is mainly due to two effects. The first is the reduced volume which also reduces food intake and contributes to early satiety. The second is the increased transit time that reduces food absorption.

Sleeve gastrectomy may be used in adolescents and children. Studies have ruled out any major effects on growth in children less than 14 years. The side effects that one should anticipate include nausea, aversion to food, leakage of food, infections and esophageal spasms among others. After some years, the stomach may dilate slightly but this is hardly a cause for worry.

These two surgeries are performed as day cases. One can, therefore, be released to go home on the same day. Resumption of the normal daily routine can occur within a day or two. As for the diet, one needs to be on liquid diet and mashed foods for at least two weeks. The food to be eaten for the first two weeks should be either liquid diet or mashed foods.

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