The gastric band is an adjustable, reversible weight-loss surgery. Gastric banding provides an effective and safe method for long-term weight maintenance when combined with our program of nutrition counseling, exercise training and medical care.
Adjustable Gastric Band for Weight Loss: How It Works
At Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, our Washington University surgeon uses laparoscopic surgery for gastric banding. This minimally invasive technique uses only a few small incisions, to help you recover faster and with less pain and risk of complications.
The gastric band creates a smaller stomach pouch — without surgically dividing it — to reduce your stomach’s capacity. Doing so limits the amount of food you can eat and slows the passage of food from the top to the lower portion of your stomach.
Gastric banding steps include:
- Your surgeon implants an inflatable silicone ring (band) around the upper part of the stomach to create a small pouch.
- The lower, larger part of the stomach is below the band. A small outlet (opening) created by the band connects the two parts of the stomach.
- Using tubing, the surgeon connects the band to a reservoir (container), which is placed under the skin during surgery.
- Using a fine needle inserted through the skin, the surgeon injects sterile saline into the reservoir to adjust the size of the band’s outlet. Adding saline to the band makes the opening from the pouch to the lower part of the stomach smaller, slowing the passage of food. Removing saline makes the opening larger. Most patients need to three to five adjustments to set the band opening at the ideal size, though this can vary.
About one month after surgery, the surgeon examines you to make sure the gastric band contains enough saline. The band outlet should be small enough to enable gradual weight loss, yet large enough to ensure that you can eat enough food for proper nutrition.
Adjustable Gastric Banding Surgery: Advantages
There are several reasons the gastric band may be the right choice for your weight-loss surgery:
- No cutting or suturing: There is no need to cut or stitch the stomach or small intestine, which eliminates the risk of leaks or breakdowns.
- Lowest risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies: Since the digestive tract is not altered and the food you eat follows the normal digestive path, your body can still absorb nutrients from food. That means you will not need to rely on nutritional supplements as much as with other surgery types.
- Adjustable or reversible procedure: Surgeons can adjust the band for a smaller or larger opening or remove the band, depending on your weight-loss goals.
- Improvement of other conditions: Many patients see improvement in some obesity-related health conditions, such as depression, diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.
- Less trauma to the body: The gastric band procedure involves less trauma than other types of bariatric surgery, resulting in shorter hospital stays and quicker recoveries for patients.
- Pregnancy still an option: Women still have the option to become pregnant, since the band can be adjusted larger for more food and nutrients to be consumed.
Watch this video to learn more about adjustable gastric band surgery.
Our Options for Weight-Loss Treatment
The adjustable gastric band is just one part of our comprehensive weight-loss program. Find out more about our bariatric surgery program and services, including physical therapy through our on-site Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation Center (STAR), nutrition support for weight loss and health checks.
We offer a full range of nonsurgical and surgical weight-loss treatments. Our options include:
Contact Us for Weight Loss Treatment
For more information or to schedule an appointment with a bariatric physician, please call Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital at 314.542.WEST (9378) or toll-free at 844.542.9378.
If you are interested in having a weight loss procedure, you must first attend one of the following information sessions. A Washington University physician will discuss our procedures and explain eligibility.
Referring physicians can call the Doctors’ Access Line at 800.252.DOCS (3627) 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also visit our referring physicians page.
Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital is conveniently located just one mile west of I-270 in Creve Coeur, Missouri – a west county suburb of St. Louis.
Our bariatric physicians have two locations on campus:
- The Washington University Bariatric Endoscopic Therapy office is located in Medical Office Building 3, Suite 100. The address is 1020 North Mason Road, at the corner of North Mason and Executive Parkway.
- The Washington University Bariatric Surgery office is located in Medical Office Building 1, Suite 120. The address is 1040 North Mason Road, at the corner of North Mason and Olive Boulevard.
Get directions and maps.