Common questions answered about gastric band surgery

Written by: Mr Sanjay Agrawal
Published: | Updated: 20/03/2019
Edited by: Nicholas Howley

Why should you consider gastric band surgery, what risks do you need to know about, and what is recovery like? We put patients’ most common questions to leading bariatric surgeon Mr Sanjay Agrawal:

How effective is gastric band surgery?

Patients who have a gastric band fitted tend to lose around 50% of their excess body weight. This makes gastric band surgery a highly effective form of bariatric surgery.

What are the advantages over other options?

Gastric band surgery is an alternative to other forms of bariatric surgery such as a gastric bypass, mini-gastric bypass or gastric sleeve. Gastric band surgery has many advantages over these other options:

  • It is a reversible procedure - so if there are any problems with the band these can be addressed.
  • It is a less invasive form of surgery – particularly compared with the traditional gastric bypass
  • You’ll spend less time in hospital – and your recovery will be faster
  • Treatment can be personalised to you – the gastric band can be adjusted to control the effects and customise your weight loss plan

Are there any risks involved?

All forms of surgery carry some risk but gastric band surgery is very safe. Any complications that can occur are generally rare. After gastric band surgery there is the small chance of:

  • Infection
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Gallstones – this can happen if you lose weight too fast
  • Problems with the gastric band’s position – such as slipping out of place
  • Reacting poorly to the general anaesthetic

Around 1 in 10 patients will need further surgery to manage complications.

Finally, there is a chance that you fail to lose weight or maintain weight loss after surgery.

What happens after the operation?

After the operation you can go home on the same day if you feel up to it, but many patients wish to stay overnight.

Initially you’re likely to experience swelling and bruising around the place the incision was made, and you might feel sick if you try to eat too much. Luckily, these symptoms are only temporary.

Because your intake of food will be severely restricted, you’ll be given supplements of iron, calcium and vitamins to tackle any deficiencies.

You should be able to recover fully after 1-2 weeks.

Is the surgery reversible?

Gastric band surgery is reversible and this is one of its main advantages. If for whatever reason you need it removed, this can be achieved using minimally-invasive methods.

By Mr Sanjay Agrawal

Mr Sanjay Agrawal is one of London's leading consultants in the specialty of bariatric, laparoscopic and pper GI Surgery and is certified as a 'Master Surgeon in Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery™ (MSMBS™)'. He has a broad range of surgical expertise and is one of the country's prominent experts in obesity and weight-loss surgery.

Mr Agrawal has undergone extensive training in the UK, Belgium, Japan and India and has undertaken more than 2,000 general surgical procedures so far. In addition, he has an experience of over 1,000 laparoscopic bariatric procedures to date.

Mr Sanjay Agrawal is a well-respected and very active member of the medical community, dividing his time between consultation and surgery, teaching, committee membership, publishing books and articles and even finding time for television appearances as an expert in his field. 

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