Adjustable Gastric Banding
What you should know
Gastric banding is a type of weight loss surgery. During surgery, caregivers put a soft band around the top part of your stomach. This divides the stomach into one small pouch and one large pouch. When you eat, food collects in the small pouch. Because the pouch is very small, you will feel full quickly. There is a small opening in the smaller pouch that allows food to pass into the larger pouch. Between meals, the food moves slowly into the larger pouch and is digested normally. Over time, you may lose weight because you feel full sooner and cannot eat as much food during a meal. Your caregiver can tighten or loosen the band as needed after the surgery.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
- You may bleed too much or get an infection. You may get blood clots. Your esophagus or other organs may be injured during surgery. The gastric band may slip out of place, break or leak. The band may cause a scar or may erode the stomach tissue. You may have problems during laparoscopic surgery that cause you to need a laparotomy (open surgery). After surgery, you may lose weight and then gain it back. You may not lose any weight. If you get pregnant while you are quickly losing weight, this could harm you and your unborn baby.
- If you often eat too much and do not follow instructions, you may stretch out your stomach pouch. If you eat too much, too fast, or do not chew well enough before swallowing you may have other problems. These problems include feeling sick to your stomach, having a stomachache, and throwing up. You may get acid reflux (heartburn) or a stomach ulcer. Food that is not chewed well enough may get stuck in the opening between the small and large stomach pouches. You may not get enough protein and vitamins from your diet, especially if you vomit a lot. This may lead to some hair loss, anemia or other medical problems. You may need another surgery later. As in any surgery, you may even die from complications.
- It is important to follow your weight loss team or caregiver's instructions for the rest of your life. This includes changing your eating habits and lifestyle, taking vitamins and supplements, and going to regular medical appointments. If you do these things, you will decrease your risk of having problems after surgery.
Two weeks before your surgery:
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop taking aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before surgery.
- You may need to have a medical exam. Bring a list of your medicines or your medicine bottles when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you take any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicines. Tell your caregiver if you have any allergies.
- You may need an echocardiogram, chest x-ray or blood and urine tests. Ask your caregiver for information about these and other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
- Find a bariatric (weight loss) support group. Begin attending meetings before you have your surgery.
- Buy vitamins and supplements as directed by your caregiver. Ask your caregiver for a list of the right foods to buy for after your surgery. Have these foods available at home before your surgery. Buy a blender or food processor, a strainer, and measuring cups and spoons.
- Practice eating less, and slowly begin doing exercise that you can continue regularly after surgery. Ask your caregiver to help you plan a diet and exercise program that is right for you. Ask if you should keep a food and exercise diary.
The night before your surgery:
- Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
- If you have diabetes, ask your caregiver for special instructions about what you may eat and drink before your surgery. If you use medicine to treat diabetes, your caregiver may have special instructions about using it before surgery. You may need to check your blood sugar more often before and after having surgery.
The day of your surgery:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
- Ask your caregiver before taking any medicine on the day of your gastric banding. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, blood pressure pills, or heart pills. Bring a list of your medicines or the pill bottles with you to the hospital.
- Do not wear contact lenses on the day of surgery. You may wear your glasses.
- An anesthesiologist may talk to you before your gastric banding. This caregiver may give you medicine to make you sleepy during surgery.
- You or a close family member may be asked to sign a consent form. It gives your caregiver permission to do gastric banding surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen with gastric banding, and your choices. Be sure all your questions have been answered before you sign this form.
- Ask a family member or friend to be available to drive you home when you leave the hospital. Do not drive yourself home.
What will happen:
- You may be weighed and asked to change into a hospital gown. You may be given medicine in your IV to help you relax or make you drowsy. You will be taken on a cart to the operating room.
- Small incisions (cuts) are made in your stomach. A laparoscope (tube with a camera on the end) and other instruments are put through the incisions. Caregivers use them to place a gastric band around the top part of your stomach. The band is connected to a long, hollow tube and a port. The port is a small hollow pillow that is attached under your skin in your upper stomach. Caregivers may sew the gastric band to stomach tissue to hold it in place. They may inject salt water into the gastric band, or they may leave the band empty. Caregivers will close your incisions with stitches or staples.
You will be taken to the recovery room. You will stay there until you wake up. You will then be taken back to your room. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is OK. Bandages will cover your incisions. These bandages keep the areas clean and dry to help prevent infection.
This is a room where your family can wait until you are ready for visitors after your surgery. Your doctor or nurse will find them in the waiting room to tell them how the surgery went. If your family leaves the hospital, ask them to leave a phone number where they can be reached.
Contact a caregiver if
- You have questions or concerns about gastric banding surgery.
- You have a fever.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Learn more about Adjustable Gastric Banding (Precare)
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