When all other forms of weight loss have failed you and shedding the kilos becomes a matter of life or death, many turn to gastric banding. This revolutionary surgery has been changing lives for decades.
While modern advances have improved upon the original procedure, a few misconceptions have remained throughout the years. So, we would like to arm you with as many facts as possible, enabling you to seek treatment with the right information.
1. This is a quick and easy way to lose lots of weight
False. This procedure was never considered a fast way to shed fat. It’s been specifically designed for the morbidly obese, and used to help them adopt healthier eating habits. It’s not a miracle cure, won’t prevent you from craving junk food, and requires a serious lifestyle change.
In addition, although the procedure is done laparoscopically, it still involves surgery. A small incision is made in your stomach, and a thin tube inserted into the opening. Consequently, there are post-op rules to follow and doctors’ visits to attend after treatment to ensure your band stays where it should.
2. Bands don’t work as well as the bypass surgery
Not necessarily. This has been a hot topic of debate in the past, with medical professionals and patients weighing up the pros and cons of both. The problem is that every individual reacts to treatment in different ways. We can’t predict these subjective results for anyone.
What we can say is that gastric band surgery is regarded as safer by many people. In international studies, patients who’d had the procedure showed low morbidity and very low mortality rates. While it took longer for them to lose the weight, they experienced better results after five years.
3. The operation is extremely dangerous
Granted, surgery of any kind comes with potential complications, but decades have passed since the procedure was invented. With enormous advances in modern medicine and technology, the risk of serious injury is drastically lower.
These days, with laparoscopic gastric banding, treatment isn’t as painful, and scars are quick to heal and less visible. What’s more, it can help reduce the severity of diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and other diseases related to morbid obesity.
4. I can go back to eating anything I want after surgery
That’s inaccurate. We want to stress that even though the procedure only requires small incisions and a short recovery period, it still puts your body under strain. It’s also not a permanent fix. Patients have to follow a strict diet after treatment to get your body accustomed to the gastric band.
Therefore, it is imperative that you commit to changing your eating habits or face consequences, such as:
- A slipped band
- The debt of corrective treatments
- Weight gain
- Worsening illnesses
5. A gastric band stops you from over-eating
It won’t. Trying to get through a big meal in the weeks following your surgery will definitely be uncomfortable, perhaps even painful, but the amount you ingest is still ultimately your choice. Plus, if it causes the band to slip, you could eat too much, and regain all the weight.
People also face unique post-op experiences, and have to consciously decide to alter their habits for noticeable changes. Your weight was the result of many years of bad habits. Breaking the cycle takes more than minor surgery.
If these myths have raised any other questions for you about gastric banding in South Africa, seek the answers from trained medical professionals. Should you decide to have the procedure, consider contacting FHF to provide the financial support you need.