Gastric banding surgery is made possible via an inflatable ‘belt’ – constructed entirely of silicone and placed around the top part of the stomach through keyhole surgery. The inner diameter shrinks as the band is filled; squeezing the outside of the stomach as it in turn creates a smaller gap for the food to travel through.

A tiny gap leads to the rest of the stomach below.A correctly adjusted gastric band creates a narrow field of internal space as food slows down as it passes towards the reminder of the stomach. Food filters through the top part (or ‘pouch’) at a far slower rate. The banded person then becomes fuller far quicker as they sense that they are not able to eat. Those who continue to eat will feel discomfort in the gullet, or oesophagus.

The little pouch that has been created needs less food and individuals are sated far quicker than before. Food will still continue to filter into the stomach, which remains unaffected by the procedure.A gastric banding operation makes it highly unpleasant and extremely uncomfortable for any individual to eat large amounts of food. This is a long-term obligation, a form of weight loss that should be paired with changes to eating habits, diet and exercise.

It is quite a common medical procedure in European countries and has proven success with many patients. It is also very safe, with the procedure fully reversible through a second keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery; no cutting, no stitches and no scarring.Other benefits of gastric banding include:

• A slow yet steady weight loss

Five years after gastric banding surgery, studies have shown a sustained weight loss that is akin to other surgical weight loss procedures.

• A safer surgery for all

The procedure is operated under a general anaesthetic, with patients being discharged after a single day. For many, this procedure will happen as a day case surgery – with the patient admitted for surgery and being discharged to a weight loss clinic on the same day of surgery. Other gastric bypass patients need to wait a week or two before returning to normal functions such as work or exercise.

Contact a First Health Finance consultant and enquire regarding medical loans for your gastric banding surgery.

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