The use of conventional dieting measures to achieve a lasting weight loss in the morbidly obese is destined to fail. Only about 3% of severely overweight people are able to maintain a BMI of less than 30 long-term using traditional means. It was this fact that led to the development of the first surgical treatment methods in the 1950’s.

What kind of surgery is available?

There are three basic types of surgical treatment for obesity:

Group 1: Surgical procedures that target digestion. The gastrointestinal tract – and therefore the passageway for food – is shortened, so that less food is digested. These are serious procedures that cannot be reversed.

Group 2: Surgical procedures that limit the intake of food. One of these is gastric banding, which became very popular in many countries throughout the world in the 90’s.

Group 3: Surgical procedures that combine both the first two groups. The intake of food is restricted and the passage of food shortenend. This is a serious, non-reversible type of surgery.

Gastric Bands

A long-term implant – an inflatable ring of medical-grade silicone – is placed around the upper portion of your stomach, separating it into a very small part at the top and a much larger part below. The diameter of the opening between the two parts can be adjusted to ensure the patient is able to achieve the optimum weight loss without feeling any discomfort.

To adjust this opening, the doctor can tighten or loosen the band by adding or removing liquid from the system via the adjustment port, which is implanted just under the patient’s skin.

It is important for patients to know that gastric banding is reversible surgery – the stomach can be returned to its original shape at any time by surgically removing the band.