I am often asked Is the Adjustable Gastric Band Really Bariatric Surgery? all bariatric operations are classified as restrictive or malabsorptive, or in some cases, both. A restrictive procedure physically limits the amount of food you can eat, while a malabsorptive operation reduces the amount of food that can be absorbed in the process of digestion.
The adjustable gastric band is classified as a purely restrictive procedure. However, what makes it different from all other bariatric operations is the fact that the amount of restriction can be adjusted to meet the individual patient’s needs. Most important, the adjustments can be made without the need for any additional surgery.
Adjusting the band ensures that every patient gets a custom fit. As a patient’s circumstances change over time, the tightness of the Adjustable Gastric Band can be altered to meet those changing needs, such as pregnancy or other medical conditions. This is a truly unique feature, which makes the the Adjustable Gastric Band the most versatile surgical option available for managing obesity.
Unlike typical bariatric operations, the Adjustable Gastric Band does not cause weight loss by itself. I commonly refer to the Adjustable Gastric Band as a pair of weight-loss “crutches.” For someone with a broken leg, crutches can allow them to be mobile. However, the crutches don’t walk by themselves. They are simply the tools the patient uses to accomplish the goal of ambulation. It is not enough that the individual wants to walk and buys crutches. They must also supply the energy to use the tool in order to walk.
Like the crutches, the Adjustable Gastric Band is a tool used by obese patients to gain control of their weight. The band provides guidance, encourages better eating habits, and strongly discourages overeating. It is a training tool designed to help the patient accomplish the weight-loss results they have been unable to achieve through willpower alone.
The results will depend in large part on how willing the patient is to change the behaviors that caused their obesity. If they are committed to making real changes in their eating habits and lifestyle, the band will provide the discipline. Through personal commitment, along with the support of a skilled team, remarkable results can be obtained.
But, as with any training process, the keys to success include both the motivation of the student and the quality of the instruction. Once properly installed and adjusted, the Adjustable Gastric Band can be used to help atients control how much food is taken in. In this sense, and in my opinion, the Adjustable Gastric Band is not like traditional bariatric surgical procedures. It is instead a very effective tool for a lifestyle change designed to interrupt the obesity cycle.