What is a Gastric Band ?

A gastric band is a device that is implanted into a person in order to help them lose weight. During surgery (known as bariatric surgery) and band will be put around the stomach to separate it into two sections; the smaller section on top and the larger section on bottom. The smaller section on top will hold a very small amount of food, about 2 ounces. When this part of the stomach fills up, the patient will feel full, even though the lower half is still empty. Although the food will still eventually pass through the larger part of the stomach, the band slows this process down, enabling the patient to eat a very small amount during each meal; since their brain is tricked into thinking they are full due to the smaller section of the stomach being full.

Although this is a good way to lose weight, it is also a drastic measure to take and, therefore, reserved for certain patients. Anytime surgery is required, especially a surgery where a patient will be put to sleep, you want to make sure to be the best option since all surgeries carry risks. This should only be used for patients who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 40 or those who have a BMI over 35, but who also have poor health due to their weight. Patients who have acquired, or are at risk of acquiring, diabetes, sleep apnea, or osteoarthritis due to their weight may be good candidates for bariatric surgery, since being overweight is likely to worsen their health and make their conditions more severe.

If you are overweight, it is best to try things like diet and exercise before you try anything as drastic as a gastric band. However, if it is not working for you or your poor health requires quick weight loss, you may want to talk to your doctor about bariatric surgery.

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