This operation is considered minimally invasive. The general principle is to reduce the capacity of the stomach eventually reducing the amount of food that ca be consumed in one sitting. After the operation, a person feels satisfied earlier than was the case previously. This effectively leads to less weight gain and in the long run, net weight loss. The food eaten is prioritised for energy production and very little ends up as storage.
The ideal candidate to undergo the operation should have body mass index, BMI, of more than 40. Alternatively, their weight should be 45kg or more above their ideal weight. In some case, a lower BMI of 35 to 40 is considered if there is an underlying medical cause such as diabetes or hypertension. Another requirement is that the individual must be recognised legally as an adult capable of making sound decisions.
There are minor variations between centres with regard to the preparation that has to be undertaken. In most cases, one is asked to modify their diet and frequency of eating in preparation for their new lifestyle. You may be asked to eat smaller portions frequently than few large meals. It is also important to avoid high calorie foods that are likely to increase body weight. If there are any underlying medical conditions, they should be treated before the surgery.
During the surgery, you will be put under general anaesthesia so you probably will not get to see what exactly is done. Some centres may provide you with a video of events if you so wish so that you get the chance to relive the moment. Typically, three small entry points are made on the abdominal wall to be used for the entry of instruments. The main instrument used here is the laparoscope and this will be inserted into one of the entry points.
The beauty of this surgery is that there is no cutting of the stomach. Rather, an adjustable silicon band is positioned on the upper portion of the stomach. The compression effect of this band leaves the stomach as a small pouch that can only hold a fraction of what it could hold formerly. Adjustments may be made on the banding position depending on the initial stomach size.
Some side effects should be anticipated by persons undergoing the procedure. In the immediate period after the operation, patients may complain of nausea, vomiting and abdominal discomfort. Some of these symptoms are the result of ulceration caused by the band. Other complaints include constipation, weight regain and vitamin deficiencies.
Generally, there are few complications associated with the procedure. Death is reported in only 1 in 2000 patients. It is important to point out that the skill of the surgeon is a great determinant of whether or not the results will be satisfactory. For effective weight loss, dietary modifications and physical exercise should continue.