Gastric Band Surgery
Everything you need to know about gastric band weight loss surgery, from experts in bariatrics.
Last review: 06/06/2022. All content on this page is reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team lead by Mr Rishi Singhal.
Gastric Band Overview
What Is Gastric Band Surgery?
The gastric band is the safest weight loss procedure, and for many it’s also the best. With a track record stretching back 25 years, it’s proven to be safe and effective. A small, hollow silicone band is placed around part of the stomach which can be tightened or loosened as required to maximise weight loss. Our team has done over 20,000 band procedures and it’s an option everyone contemplating bariatric surgery should consider. Above all others, there are two key requirements for success with the band:
- Your commitment – To follow the diet and eating habits required for success
- Great aftercare – Clinic support and appropriate adjustment of the band
- Safe – gastric band surgery has a low risk of complications when performed by experienced band surgeons.
- Fully reversible – The anatomy of the stomach is not altered in any way. Unlike sleeve and bypass there is no cutting of the stomach.
- Successful – 50-60% excess weight loss (most in first year)*.
- Day case surgery – Over 90% of patients go home on the day they had their surgery.
- Fast recovery – Usually a 35-45 min procedure with minimal scarring. Most patients are back to work in a week depending on job.
- Adjustable – The band can be tightened and loosened according to your needs. This is helpful in the case of pregnancy. The band can be loosed during pregnancy and then adjustments resumed later.
The adjustable gastric band (also known as the Lap-band) has two main parts. The first is the band itself which is a small, hollow silicone band that is placed around the stomach. The other part is the access port which is small and disc shaped. It is usually about 0.5cm deep. The band and the port are connected by a tube.
So, when you have a band adjustment, we access the port by injecting into it with a syringe. We inject a small amount of saline (salt water). As we inject more fluid into the band it tracks up the tubing and causes the band to tighten around the stomach. Equally, by removing fluid from the band we can cause it to loosen around the stomach.
There are several high quality lap-bands available in the UK, and all have the necessary CE marks to prove their safety.
Am I eligible for the gastric band?
There are many factors to consider for eligibility but we generally offer the gastric band procedure to those with a minimum body mass index (BMI) of 30.
How is the the gastric band implanted?
The gastric band is implanted laparoscopically (‘keyhole’ surgery) and usually takes around 30-45 minutes. The procedure is done under general anaesthetic. This is for two reasons; your comfort during surgery and also to achieve the muscle relaxation in the abdomen that is necessary. On this page we give a technical breakdown of how the procedure is done.
How much weight will I lose with the gastric band?
Not only is the gastric band a very safe procedure but it is also very effective. How successful you are with the band depends on how well you are able to adapt to the diet and eating regime required for success. Our team is here to help you with that every step of the way.
Your weight loss will vary according to how well you are able to follow the rules for band success. They are to eat slowly, to eat foods of the right texture and to cut out high-calorie soft foods and drinks. As a guide, you can expect to lose 50-60% of your excess weight over the first 2 years although many patients will do much better than this (see before and after photos and stories from successful gastric band patients here).
For a woman who is 5 foot 5 inches tall and who weighs 18 stone at the time of her band procedure this means that she could expect to lose, on average, about 4 stone. This would vary up or down according to how well you are able to develop the eating habits required for long term success with the band.
Taking an example of a man who is 5 foot 10 inches tall and weighs 21 stone at the time of surgery, we could expect weight loss, on average, of about 5 stone.
Real People, Real Stories, Real Lives Changed With The Gastric Sleeve
Benefits & Risks
What are some health benefits of weight loss surgery with the gastric band?
Gastric banding has a major, often dramatic, impact on a wide variety of obesity associated health conditions. In addition to the health benefits, gastric banding is shown to improve quality of life and increase life expectancy.
- Approximately 60% of type II diabetics are cured
- 70-80% of patients with high blood pressure reduce or stop medication
- 80% will have improvement in cholesterol levels
- 90% will have improvement in reflux symptoms
- Most people with sleep apnoea are cured
- Mobility improves dramatically and joint pain decreases
- Improvements in mood and self-esteem
Most patients experience marked improvement or complete resolution of symptoms
Infertility and PCOS*
90% of patients experience correction of underlying hormonal problems and restored fertility
Patients with asthma see marked improvement in symptoms and a reduction in medication
Liver Disease (NASH)
80% of patients will have complete resolution of liver disease
Back Pain and Arthritis
Patients experience marked reduction in joint and back pain and increased mobility
Reduced depressive symptoms and anxiety, improved social interaction and overall quality of life
Cost & Finance
How Much Is A Gastric Band?
The fixed price for a standard gastric band package will depend on the location of your procedure. Most band cases are day cases (you go home on the day of surgery), but there will be some patients for whom it is necessary to schedule an overnight stay, for example, if you are a diabetic patient or need a longer period of observation for some other reason.
In order to help as many people as possible gain access to our services, we have developed a number of finance plans tailored to the needs of our patients.
Gastric Band FAQ's
It is impossible to be precise because criteria vary between Trust areas. What we can say is that very few Trusts offer gastric band surgery. There are a number of reasons for this, the main one being that the patients they treat tend to be both heavier and higher risk than those we see in private practice, meaning that the gastric sleeve or gastric bypass is the better option. The other challenge that gastric bands pose for the NHS is that patients require long term follow up in specialist clinics and this can be a burden to maintain. The sleeve and bypass procedures certainly require less follow up.
If you are in a part of the country where your local NHS Trust does gastric band surgery, and your GP refers you, you are likely to have a BMI of 45kg/m2 or over and have one or more weight related co-morbidities, e.g. type 2 diabetes. It’s important to remember that patients only become eligible for weight loss surgery on the NHS when they have followed a long term non surgical weight loss programme. This can pose a very practical barrier for most patients. These obstacles are not present for private practice patients.
Your long term success with your procedure is dependent on high quality aftercare. Anyone who has had weight loss surgery will tell you this is crucial. All too frequently, overseas surgery packages have no aftercare.
In the UK surgeon outcomes are monitored closely. There is a duty of candour and transparency. In many overseas countries the same standards do not apply.
We have seen many botched procedures from overseas that come with limited aftercare and warranties. You won’t receive any support from any serious problems that arise post-op, and you will ultimately go onto the NHS waiting list for your procedure to be put right.
Based on our patient data, the risk of gastric band slippage with Healthier Weight is 1% (1 in 100) although the national average is 4-5% (4-5 in 100). By following our post-op diet recommendations both immediately after surgery and then in the long term (eating small portions, slowly), you can reduce your risk of slippage.
With a gastric band, you may eat most foods that don’t cause you discomfort. However, because you can only eat small amounts, it is important to include foods which are rich in protein but low in fat and sugar. We encourage you to eat vegetables, fruit, whole grains, lean meat and fish. You will receive detailed nutritional information following your band surgery.
There are not really any foods that you should avoid, and that is one of the benefits of the gastric band. In order to maximise your weight loss, however, it is important to avoid or reduce the calories you consume through soft foods or liquids. When you are eating soft foods the ‘squeezing’ of food through the stomach doesn’t occur and you will not get the early feeling of fullness that you want. So, a band gives you complete flexibility but you need to be careful about the textures of what you eat. Following the advice that we provide on eating with a band will give you the best possible chance of successful weight loss, and minimise eating discomfort.