A gastric ring can help patients with obesity on their way to a healthier lifestyle and a lower body weight. Whether you qualify for gastric banding, as this procedure is called in technical jargon, depends on various factors.
How does gastric banding work?
Your energy balance determines whether your weight increases or decreases. Therefore, to treat obesity, surgery always anticipates one or both elements of the energy balance. Either the surgeons limit the food intake, or they ensure that the food is digested to a lesser extent. Gastric banding — the placement of a gastric ring — is an example of the first type of surgery; the so-called restrictive treatments.
The principle of the gastric band or ring is simple. An elastic band is placed around the upper part of the stomach, dividing the stomach into a small ‘front stomach’ of about 15 ml and the remainder of the stomach. Because the passage between the front stomach and the actual stomach is so narrow, the small reservoir fills quickly, and the patient feels satisfied faster. Because the feeling of hunger reduces, the patient will eat less and lose weight.
Unlike various other procedures, gastric banding is reversible. The gastric band can be adjusted or removed without any damage.
Who benefits from a gastric sleeve?
To be eligible for obesity surgery, the patient must suffer from extreme obesity (BMI 40 or more). Patients with a somewhat lower BMI combined with other complications, such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes, are also eligible. According to a recent Royal Decree, obesity surgery patients must be at least 18 years old and must have already tried to lose weight by dieting. A gastric ring helps patients to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way but is only successful if patients also adjust their own eating habits. After the operation, the patient must adhere to a strict dietary pattern.
The surgeons of the Obesity Center Brussels apply the gastric band laparoscopically. This facilitates rehabilitation and reduces the chances of scarring. The inserted gastric band is inflatable. The volume can be adjusted via a small ‘gateway’ under the skin, so that the passage becomes larger or smaller. This may be necessary to achieve the desired weight loss.
Advantages of the procedure are that it is reversible and that it is quick and easy. However, gastric banding is not for everyone. Afterwards, as stated, a strict diet applies, and gastric acid reflux may occur. Other operations, such as a gastric bypass or gastric sleeve, yield better results in the long term.