Is it Worth it to Get an Adjustable Gastric Band?
When you’re considering any elective medical procedure, you need to know the risks, and weigh them against the benefits. The choice of whether or not to have elective surgery is very personal, and every person will make their choice differently. Here, we’ll discuss the major risks and benefits of getting an adjustable gastric band. If you want to learn more about what the procedure and the recovery are like, please visit Adjustable Gastric Band: the Procedure and Recovery. For more about the many resources Doctor Review has to offer, you can check out our Bariatric Surgery Overview page.
Please note that this page is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for qualified, individualized medical advice. You should discuss your potential elective surgery with your own doctor(s), including your primary care physician and the surgeon who will perform your surgery if you decide to proceed.
Any surgery has risks, and they should be carefully weighed before you decide to proceed. There is a risk of a hernia developing in the abdominal wall where the incisions were made. This means that internal organs poke through the abdominal wall, causing pain and potentially other problems. There is a chance of infection, which may require antibiotics and may also lead to a less aesthetically-pleasing result. There is also a chance of excessive bleeding during the surgery, which occasionally requires a blood transfusion. Some people react badly to anesthesia. There is a small risk of death due to any surgery. Although it’s important to be informed, these risks are small in most healthy people; talk with your surgeon to determine your personal risk.
The adjustable gastric band also has some specific risks compared to other types of bariatric surgery. There can be slippage of the band in some people, which would require another surgery to replace it. The band can also, in rare cases, erode into the wall of the stomach. Additionally, because there is constriction of the stomach, if the patient does overeat beyond the capacity of the upper stomach pouch, the food could remain in the esophagus, potentially causing it to become enlarged and potentially causing acid reflux. The patient must be regularly checked to ensure that the device is performing as intended and not causing any problems. Because the patient must now eat less food, it’s also important that the food that is consumed contains adequate nutrients, and nutritional supplementation may be necessary to ensure that the patient is getting sufficient vitamins and minerals. If not, then nutritional deficiencies may occur, although this risk is less with the lap band surgery than with some other types of bariatric surgery.
Additionally, the lap band causes people to lose less weight, on average, than any other type of bariatric surgery, and to lose that weight more slowly than with other surgeries. The average weight loss is around 40-50% of excess weight, which is significant but is less than with other procedures.
The benefits of bariatric surgery can occur in many areas of a person’s life. The dramatic weight loss usually has a huge impact on self-esteem and confidence. Additionally, it gives people the chance to participate in many activities, particularly physical activities, that they were previously unable to be a part of because their excessive weight and lack of energy prevented it. Besides the impact on the person’s lifestyle, bariatric surgery can also impact health. Excessive weight is linked to many diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Many studies have shown a partial or complete improvement in patients with type 2 diabetes who undergo bariatric surgery. The improvement is partly explained by the weight loss, but there are also changes in hormones and other factors that contribute to the improvement in health.
The adjustable gastric band has some benefits that other types of bariatric surgery do not. The procedure is less invasive than any other, as it doesn’t involve removing any part of the digestive tract. It has the lowest rate of complications, making it the safest type of bariatric surgery. It’s fully reversible; the band can simply be removed if that becomes necessary. Additionally, the band can be adjusted as necessary to achieve the patient’s goals.
Another advantage of the lap band is that it doesn’t bypass any part of the small intestine. Because the small intestine absorbs nutrients, bypassing the small intestine can lead to deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, and protein, because these factors can’t be adequately absorbed by the remaining small intestine. The adjustable gastric band avoids this problem, as it leaves the small intestine completely intact.
According to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons, the average fee for bariatric surgery is around $12,000 to $26,000. This varies between surgeons and in different regions, so check with the surgeon you’re considering to find out the exact price. Additional costs, including the anesthesia, operating room fees, medications, and possibly additional items, may not be included in this fee. For more detail, please see our Adjustable Gastric Band Cost page.