Gastric Banding Procedures – Are They Safe?

For people who are morbidly obese, and for whom conventional weight loss methods are no longer effective, weight loss surgery is something that might be considered. One of the most popular of these procedures is the gastric band, not to be confused with the gastric sleeve. There are many reasons as to why this one is so popular, not in the least because it carries very few risks and because insurance companies usually provide coverage for it. However, just because it carries few risks, doesn’t mean it carries no risks at all. It is important for you, if you are considering the procedure, to be aware of these risks so that you can properly decide whether or not it is the right option for you.

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The Safety of the Gastric Band

Of all the different weight loss procedures, the gastric band is considered the safest of all, with the gastric sleeve coming second, and the gastric bypass last. One of the reasons for this is because it is done laparoscopically. In fact, the procedure is now advancing so much that some surgeons are being trained in performing it with just a single incision.

However, even the gastric band is a surgical procedure, which means that problems are possible. Bleeding and infection are always possible with abdominal surgery. Usually, this happens almost straight after surgery, which means doctors tend to spot it before you even leave the hospital. Another risk, which will not be spotted as it happens, is that the band can slip. In this case, further surgery will be required to either replace or remove the band itself.

With all gastric surgery, there is the chance of bloating, blockage, and acid reflux. Usually, these three conditions are caused by you not following your diet properly, or the diet not being appropriate. You must discuss this when you have your next consultation with your nutritionist and/or dietician.

One particular problem with the band is that it can deflate, loosen, or even disintegrate, although this is rare. You will have to have regular consultations with your physician, as they will be able to see whether you are progressing properly, which means the band is working. The band deflating, loosening, or disintegrating are also the only three problems that have the potential to be life threatening if they are not addressed properly.

mos health pix paul lewis..  Gastric band specialist Mr Paul Super..patient Kim Beedie at Hartlands Hospital Birmingham. gastric band showing how the centre membrain inflates

Should You Have the Surgery?

Choosing to have surgery is a huge decision that will impact all of your life, for the rest of your life. Hence, before you commit to it, you need to properly consider your options. Overall, however, most of those who have had the surgery will tell you that it is more than worth it. Yes, there is a chance of complications, but that chance is minor. And the chance of developing complications as a result of being morbidly obese are far more realistic, and also far more likely to shorten your overall lifespan.

Facts about Obesity and Possible Solutions

Obesity is all around us. It is a global pandemic that affects all of the developed world. Let’s take a look at some facts about obesity before considering some of the things that could be done to make a difference.

Facts about Obesity

  • Obesity is the fifth most likely cause of death globally. Obesity-related illnesses score higher.
  • Every year, some 2.8 million adults die because of obesity.
  • 44% of diabetics, 23% of people with cardiovascular disease and between 7% and 41% of cancer patients are obese.
  • 1.5 billion adults are currently overweight. Some 500 million of these (300 women/200 men) are obese.
  • 43 million children under the age of 5 are overweight.
  • Each year, some $100 billion is spent on obesity.
  • Almost everybody knows at least one person that will die of obesity or an illness related to it.

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What Can Be Done?

Obviously, obesity is a really big problem and we cannot dig our heads in the sand and hope it will go away if we just ignore it. Over the past 10 years alone, the statistics have grown to staggering proportions. So much so, in fact, that for the first time in the history of mankind (as far as is known) this generation will have a shorter life expectancy than the previous one. Luckily, there is a commitment to finding solutions and to find them fast.

One issue is that many people, and particularly those who do not suffer from obesity or who were overweight and managed to lose it, believe that obesity is someone’s own fault. While it is true that lack of education and lack of opportunities to eat healthy and move a lot are the important factors that cause obesity, it is often not someone’s ‘fault’ as such. Additionally, this type of judgmental attitude is not beneficial to anybody.

The approach to obesity has to be threefold:

  1. The development of proper medical treatment for people who are already obese, for instance in the form of bariatric surgery.
  2. A public commitment from food manufacturers to make their meals healthier.
  3. A commitment from people to actually turn their life around and make healthier choices.

The Healthy Choices Element

It is certainly true that it is difficult to eat healthy when we are surrounded by processed and genetically modified crops. However, how often do you walk to work instead of taking the car? How often do you take the escalator or elevator instead of taking the stairs? How often do you have a quick chocolate bar instead of some carrot sticks? You don’t have to have the time to go to the gym to be healthy. You don’t have to have the money to eat organic to be healthy. There are many things that people can do. And if you are considering bariatric surgery, as many people now are, you will also have to make those changes to your lifestyle if your surgery is to be a success overall.