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.
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.
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.