Gastric Band Surgery: Who Is It Right For?
A laparoscopic adjustable gastric band procedure, or gastric band surgery for short, is becoming increasingly popular among a population that is becoming increasingly ever more overweight. Sadly, many people elect to undergo gastric band surgery as the only option remaining open to them. However, gastric band surgery is by no means right for everybody.
In terms of the Body Mass Index (BMI), the international standard by which a person’s weight-to-height ratio is calculated, nobody with a BMI under 30 should be offered gastric band surgery. A BMI of 30, however, while not precluding an individual’s eligibility for gastric band surgery, should only compel the consultant surgeon to recommend surgery if the patient in question has a serious weight-related health condition, such as diabetes. The same can also be said of patients with a BMI of 35.
In the majority of cases, patients should consider gastric band surgery only if they have a BMI of at least 40. Gastric band surgeons have occasionally been criticised for operating on patients with a relatively low BMI (30-35), but it should be noted that the BMI is merely a guide for physicians. Some patients, while clinically defined as obese, may have a relatively high proportion of muscle mass, which is denser and heavier than fat tissue. Other patients, meanwhile, might have below-average muscle mass, thereby skewing BMI results. Consultants are equipped with sufficient experience and expertise as to properly diagnose patients in the vast majority of cases.
BMI is by no means the only criteria for gastric band surgery. In order to benefit from the procedure, which involves an inflatable band being installed around the upper stomach to create a small pouch that fills with food comparatively quickly; patients must be motivated to lose weight. Clearly, anyone who is entertaining the prospect of surgery has already failed to lose weight naturally – but is greater effort required?
The question is one that must be considered with great care. While gastric band surgery is usually highly effective at compelling patients to eat less, thereby enabling them to lose weight, it is by no means a miracle cure. Gastric band patients still control what and when they eat. The concern with some gastric band patients is that continued overeating after surgery could result in serious medical consequences, so it is essential that any person considering the surgery is prepared to follow a strict diet after the operation.
Ultimately, gastric band surgery should be considered as a last resort. If someone has spent years dieting and exercising to no avail, a gastric band procedure could indeed prove effective. In almost all cases, it is essential that genuine efforts to lose weight through dieting and exercise are made prior to taking the surgical route…