Gastric band surgery
Gastric band surgery is a weight-loss procedure that involves fitting a band around the upper part of your stomach. The gastric band reduces the size of your stomach and consequently the amount of food you can eat. It also increases the time food takes to get through your digestive system which will make you feel fuller for longer. However, gastric band surgery is not a quick fix and it is not suitable for everyone. The procedure is normally only recommended as a last resort for morbidly obese people, i.e. those with a BMI of over 40. It can also be available for patients with a BMI of between 30 and 40 if they have an existing medical condition which is made worse by obesity such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure.
Gastric band surgery cost
Gastric band surgery is a cosmetic procedure that is only available on the NHS in exceptional cases. Patients must be referred by their GP to a bariatric surgeon and must meet certain strict criteria, for example they must prove that they have failed to lose weight using conventional methods such as exercise and diet over a long period. However, even if the criteria are met there are very limited funds available for this type of surgery. However, the surgery is now being offered in a growing number of private clinics and costs start at around £7000 in the UK. This normally covers the surgery as well as an aftercare package including check-ups, adjustments and advice on diet and lifestyle. Gastric band surgery may be available cheaper in other countries. In the Czech Republic, for example, costs start at around £5000 and some clinics arrange travel and accommodation for patients at no extra cost. However, it is advised to research clinics and procedures thoroughly before agreeing to go ahead with the surgery.
Life after gastric band surgery
After the surgery, which is performed under general anaesthetic and lasts about 30 minutes to an hour, patients have to stick to a liquid-only diet for two weeks before moving on to softer foods and eventually a normal diet. However, they will only ever be able to eat small portions. A gastric band can be adjusted externally by a surgeon if needed and usually stays in for life. As with every surgery there are risks of infection as well as other complications. During the first week it is possible to lose 2 to 3 pounds a week. However, patients need to be committed to a new active and healthier lifestyle.