The gastric band is a bariatric surgery by which a ring is placed around part of the stomach to limit the amount of food intake.
The cost of a gastric band depends on where you choose to have surgery and your individual needs. The pricing differential depends on many factors, such as cost of living, exchange rates, practicing costs or regulatory conditions, which may differ greatly from country to country.
Gastric band surgery is part of a family of treatments known as bariatric procedures, including gastric sleeves and bypass operations. It is only recommended in cases where patients are classified as dangerously obese, and aims to reduce the amount such patients must eat in order to feel "full".
The band itself is a simple ring which is placed around part of the stomach, and tends to be made out of silicone. It can be fitted very quickly, and the silicone used does not react with body tissue, making allergic reactions very rare.
The first stage is for patients to follow a pre-operation diet which reduces the amount of fat around their stomach. This usually lasts for 2 weeks and avoids solid foods as much as possible. The next stage is to implant the band around the upper part of the stomach, creating two segments, with a smaller "pouch" above a larger section below the band. During surgery, the band is attached to a "port" which can be used to inject saline solution into the band, allowing surgeons to calibrate the tightness of the band. The port is then disconnected and the band remains in place. Any small incisions made to insert the band and port will be sealed and dressed, and should heal within a week or two.
Patients may be eligible for gastric band surgery if they have a BMI of over 40 and are assessed by medical professionals as clinically obese. Doctors will also assess whether the patient has the capacity to lose weight through alternative means, as surgery is generally seen as a last resort, used only when other methods have failed. In some cases, people with lower BMIs may be considered. This especially applies to people who suffer from type 2 diabetes and must carefully control the amount of glucose they consume. All patients will also need to be assessed regarding their ability to deal with a general anaesthetic, which is required as part of the band implantation procedure.
Body Mass Index is an internationally recognised measure of human weight. It is found by dividing your weight in kg by your height in metres squared. So, if you weigh 55kg and are 1.7 metres tall, your BMI will be 55 divided by 1.7 squared (2.89), or 19. Weight in Kilograms / Height squared in Centimeters or weight (kg) ÷ height^2 (m^2) BMIs under 18.5 are generally classed as:
BMIs aren't foolproof. Critics have noted that they can confused fat and muscle mass, while the measure bundles together every different body shape. Others have noted that BMIs do not correlate precisely with rates of ill health. However, there is a consensus that BMIs of 40+ suggest a very serious risk to health.
Expect a period of preparation lasting 2 weeks, while the procedure itself should be quick and almost always painless. Complications are rare, and the process can be reversed if needed. A brief hospital stay will be needed, as well as regular follow up appointments with gastric specialists, but patients require relatively little contact with medical staff following the implantation. After the operation, patients can expect significant weight loss, providing lifestyle changes are implemented properly.
Lifestyle changes are a key aspect of gastric band surgery. Initially, patients will have to follow intensively managed diets as they recover, gradually adding solids to their meals as they go. In the longer term, all gastric band patients have to learn to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Their band will help them restrict the urge to eat, but most people find that they also have to learn how to eat more slowly. Diets need to be designed to be low in fats and sugars, yet high in protein and fibre - a major new lifestyle change for many patients. Aside from diet, exercise is vital. The aim is to make lasting changes to the way people live so that weight loss is sustained and significant, and physical fitness is a key part of the challenge.
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