What Do Gastric Banding Surgeons Do?

Gregory Hanson

Gastric banding surgeons are responsible for implanting gastric bands. These devices are commonly used to aid patients who are very overweight. This is a common procedure with relatively few associated risks. Surgeons who perform these procedures will typically have some involvement in preparing patients for surgery and in post-operative care. They may be called on to adjust or remove these devices, as well.

Gastric banding makes the stomach smaller, so people feel fuller sooner.
Gastric banding makes the stomach smaller, so people feel fuller sooner.

Weight loss surgery via gastric banding is a viable option for patients who are very obese. A body mass index (BMI) of over 40 or a BMI of over 30 and some serious health problem stemming from weight are normally required before patients are eligible for this surgery. Exact guidelines vary from nation to nation.

Gastric banding surgeons are responsible for implanting gastric bands to aid patients who are very overweight.
Gastric banding surgeons are responsible for implanting gastric bands to aid patients who are very overweight.

A surgeon will consult with a patient before performing this operation. Gastric banding surgeons will discuss the procedure, taking care to explain potential side effects and necessary lifestyle changes. They will also evaluate a patient’s suitability for surgery. This is a minimally-invasive procedure, but it still entails some risk, and patients whose health is extremely fragile should not receive this type of surgery.

When such procedures are warranted, gastric banding surgeons will implant a silicone ring around the upper portion of the stomach. They also implant a control device that is attached to the stomach band. This device, located just inside the body, can cause the ring to inflate or deflate by pumping water in or out of the ring. Such adjustments can fine-tune the effects of the gastric band to the needs of a particular patient.

These surgeons use laparoscopic surgical techniques. Such surgery is conducted through tiny incisions that carry a very small risk of serious scarring. Gastric banding surgeons use small probes and cameras to see inside the body and perform surgical tasks. They use these techniques because they are both safer and less invasive than older surgical methods.

Adjustable gastric banding is typically a very safe procedure. Some complications may arise, however, and gastric banding surgeons may be called on to perform follow-up operations. One common but usually minor side effect involves the band sliding, usually upward. When this happens, the band no longer fulfills its intended function, and it must be moved. Other minor surgeries may be required to repair or reposition the control device for the band.

In a few cases, gastric banding surgeons may be called on to remove gastric band devices from patients. If a patient experiences serious side effects, such as the gradual erosion of the stomach wall or a serious infection, then the device must be removed. A surgeon will typically employ laparoscopic procedures akin to those used to implant the device, although very serious cases may require different techniques.

Gastric banding surgeons use laparoscopic techniques.
Gastric banding surgeons use laparoscopic techniques.

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