When you are living with diabetes, being obese can be downright deadly. That’s why it’s important to get your weight under control: so you can control diabetes more effectively. When you’ve already tried diets and you have a significant amount of weight to lose, it’s probably time to consider surgery, and gastric banding may be the right solution.
Adjustable gastric banding, also known as the lap band surgery, is a procedure that is performed solely to assist people in losing weight. Its effectiveness is due to the band’s ability to make the stomach smaller, and the doctor’s ability to shrink and inflate the band when necessary. The insertion and securing of the lap band is done through a laparoscopic process using several small incisions and a camera. After surgery has concluded, you must first recover from the procedure before your doctor will inflate the ring.
If you have never heard of gastric banding before, you may be wondering how the doctor inflates the ring after surgery – but that is all a part of the genius of the device. The gastric band itself isn’t just a band, it also has a thin tube attached which is connected to an access port that is left just under the skin. The doctor may then inject a saline solution to inflate the band, as well as pull some out to shrink it if the band ends up being too tight.
Just as with any surgery or weight loss procedure, there may be some side effects, risks and complications. Some noted side effects include the possibility of getting an infection around the access port, that the band may slip out of place, you may end up with an expanded esophagus due to the food not being able to get into the stomach, or you may just have a piece of food obstruct the opening between the upper and lower parts of your stomach. Risks include those that most surgeries offer, like blood clots in the legs or lungs, anemia, the development of gallstones, or bleeding at the incision.
Despite the risks and side effects that may occur, the reason lap band surgery is performed so often is because the rewards outweigh the risks of remaining overweight. In a study conducted in 2000, they had no fatalities from the surgeries, had a re-operation rate of less than 5%, and showed results of continued weight loss after a 12 year period. Another study showed that one year after having the procedure done, 84.6% of patients realized an average of a 65% loss of their excess weight, with those same patients obtaining a minimum of a 30% excess weight loss.
Previously lap band surgery was covered by most insurance and was FDA approved as long as you had a body mass index of at least 40 kg/m2 (with additional conditions, it dropped to 35). In February of 2011, however, the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) lowered their approval minimum to just 30, providing the patient had at least one additional comorbid condition related to their obesity. Some examples of such conditions include Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea.
If you think you might benefit from lap band surgery, you should check with your doctor – particularly if you have diabetes. Gastric band surgery had helped so many in their battle with weight loss, and it may be able to help you, too.
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