Adjustable Gastric Banding
You will most often hear Adjustable Gastric Banding being referred to as LAP-BAND System or REALIZE Band. These are the two approved devices used in the United States today.
How the Gastric Band Works
The way both types of adjustable gastric band works is the same. Using a minimally invasive laparoscopic technique, Dr. Whittwell fastens the band around the upper part of the stomach. When in place, the band divides the stomach into an upper and lower portion separated by a narrow opening called a stoma. This has the effect of significantly decreasing the amount of food your stomach can hold before it signals that it is full.
Along with not being able to hold as much food as before, your stomach empties more slowly because food has to pass through the narrow stoma before continuing through the rest of the digestive system. The result is that people with an adjustable gastric band feel full sooner and stay full for longer. Because you are now eating less, you begin to lose weight.
Gastric Band Adjustments
The unique feature of gastric bands is that they can be adjusted during an office visit with Dr. Whittwell. You may hear these adjustments referred to as a "fill" which is slightly misleading. In reality, during an adjustment the band can be filled a little to make it tighter, or emptied to make it looser. These adjustments provide extra control for both comfort, and the speed at which you lose weight.
Weight loss with an Adjustable Gastric Band
Patients who have an adjustable gastric band tend to lose weight more gradually than patients who have had gastric bypass procedures. However, many people prefer this procedure as it does not involve cutting, stapling, or rerouting of the internal organs and is considered to be a reversible procedure if necessary.