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Basics Relating To Gastric Banding And Sleeve Gastrectomy

By Martha Foster

Lifestyle changes are one of the most effective approaches in achieving weight loss. While their effect can be clearly appreciated in a majority of New York residents over time, there is a smaller group of people in whom these lifestyle changes alone cannot achieve the desired results. These people form the bulk of potential candidates for surgical weight loss procedures which include gastric banding and sleeve gastrectomy. The two operations are examples of bariatric surgery.

Bariatric operations are also termed restrictive operations. The reason as to why this is the case is due to their effect in reducing the stomach capacity. The amount of food that is eaten in one sitting is markedly reduced. There is early satiety and reduced food consumption. The reduced intake of food causes weight loss in subsequent weeks and months.

Gastric banding is achieved by use of a silicon band using laparascopic approach. When the band is slipped onto the upper part of the stomach (the fundus), it squeezes it to leave just a small outlet. The estimated capacity of this pouch is one ounce of food. Laparascopic procedures, use small entry points (ports) that result in smaller scars later on. This is in contrast to open surgeries in which large incisions have to be made.

The band is usually connected to the skin using a small plastic tube. This helps the surgeon (and the patient) to exert some control over the band. By injecting or removing saline (or water) into this tube, the pressure that is exerted on the stomach can be increased or reduced as desired. An increase in the squeeze may be needed if the rate of weight loss is too slow. A reduction may be needed, on the other hand, if there are adverse side effects of the operation.

The results of gastric banding greatly vary from one person to another. Studies show that most people achieve weight loss of between 40 and 50% in a few months. While it is a generally safe procedure, there are a number of side effects that one should anticipate. Those that are most commonly encountered include vomiting, nausea, minor bleeding and infections. Adjusting the squeeze helps reduce the nausea and vomiting.

Sleeve gastrectomy involves the removal of a large part of the stomach to leave between 20 and 25% of the original. The resultant shape is tubular or sleeve-shaped (hence the name). Weight loss is mainly due to two effects. The first is the reduced volume which also reduces food intake and contributes to early satiety. The second is the increased transit time that reduces food absorption.

Sleeve gastrectomy is safe for use in children and adolescents. There are no adverse effects on growth for children aged less than fourteen years according to studies. The main side effects of this operation include leakage, aversion to food, vomiting, esophageal spasms and infections among others. With time, the stomach may dilate. This occurs over years and is rarely a cause for worry.

The two procedures are considered day cases in most centers. What this means is that you can go home on the same day of the operation. One can resume their normal daily routine within a day or two. Usually, one has to be on a light diet comprising of liquids and mashed up foods of about two weeks. This is followed by soft foods for another two weeks then the regular diet.

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