The gastric band helps to reduce the amount of food consumed daily in order to reach the desired weight loss which is brought about by a reduced intake of calories. The gastric band restricts the stomach by forming a pouch in the top of the stomach using an adjustable band that fills up quickly when food is eaten. It reduces the capacity of the stomach to ca. 20-30ml. This part of the stomach is filled up quickly which creates a feeling of fullness. The food then moves to the bottom part of the stomach as a result of the restriction of the top part. People who have undergone the gastric banding operation can therefore only eat small amounts of food before the mini-stomach is filled. If too much is eaten they throw up.
The gastric band can be left in the stomach for several months. Some people can carry it for the rest of their lives.
The duration of the operation is between one to two hours and is performed with general anaesthetics. The gastric band is implanted into the stomach via laparoscopic surgery: 4 - 5 small cuts enable the special instruments to be inserted into the abdominal cavity.
The gastric band is inserted only if the patient is extremely overweight (if the BMI is far beyond 40) and all other methods have failed. The success of this drastic method is very good. Weight loss is very noticeable. The general anaesthesia has its risks.
The gastric band does not work if an excess of sweets and high calorie drinks are consumed. Sweets, chocolates, beer, chips, coke etc. simply pass through the gastric band. A gastric band will not help you if you are overweight because you enjoy eating these sorts of foods.
The operation costs ca. 4.000 EUR and is not always covered by health insurance.
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There are certain criteria which have to be taken into consideration in order to determine whether gastric banding is a suitable option:
- You have been extremely overweight for the last 5 years
- BMI over 40 kg/m²
- You are aged between 18 and 60 years
- You have health problems related to your obesity problem, e.g. diabetes, joint problems, high blood pressure or sleep apnoea.
- You have already tried to lose weight with the guidance and support of your GP, were at first successful but eventually regained the weight.
- You are prepared to drastically change your eating and living habits und to have regular check-ups. Are you able to give up eating sweets and sweet drinks?
- You do not have an illness that has caused your being overweight (e.g. thyroid or adrenal cortical disorders.)
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