In every location, but especially in a body conscious area like Los Angeles, the lap band has taken off. A less risky surgery than traditional gastric bypass, but offering many of the same benefits, it is now a relatively common procedure used to help obese patients lose weight in the sunshine state. |
Gastric bypass surgery removes part of the stomach in order to give the patient the sensation of feeling full, sooner. The term 'bypass' refers to the fact that some surgeries in this category also re-route the stomach's opening into the small intestine further down, in order to prevent normal digestion of the food. These surgeries are effective, but risky - there are many cuts, staples, and other things to go wrong.
Gastric banding surgeries are much safer, completely reversible, and just as effective as other surgeries that do not provide bypass. In most cases, bypasses are not necessary, and can cause malnutrition. Banding surgeries involve placing an inflatable band around the stomach near the top of the organ, and leaving a port through which to add or reduce the amount of saline (sterile water) in the band, near the skin.
After the patient has healed a bit, their doctor injects saline into their port. This causes the band to constrict, closing off a small piece of the stomach above it. The food slowly empties into the rest of the stomach through the small opening. Both hunger and the ability to eat large amounts at one time are reduced.
Besides the increased safety of the procedure, the benefits to gastric banding include being able to increase or decrease the size of the opening at any time, and being able to completely reverse the procedure relatively easily. Increasing or decreasing the openings can allow adjustment in weight loss speed, and if the patient decides they no longer want to have the device, removing it instantly returns their digestive system to normal.
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