A vertical banded gastroplasty is one of a number of weight-loss operations that are termed restrictive procedures. These operations are known by this name as they essentially restrict the amount of food individuals can eat.
Lifestyle changes for weight loss will always be considered prior to a vertical banded gastroplasty. However, due to the established longer term health risks that severe obesity is known to cause, for individuals who have been unable to lose appropriate weight with these lifestyle changes a vertical banded gastroplasty may be considered.
A vertical banded gastroplasty is an operation that is performed under general anaesthesia. Although the procedure can be performed as a keyhole (laparoscopic) procedure, in most cases surgeons prefer better visualisation and as such, it is performed by making an incision to the front of the abdomen. The incisions will allow the surgical team to carefully access the top of the stomach.
Once accessed, a small part of the top of the stomach will be folded in to a pouch using staples. The pouch is normally made to be approximately 10% of the normal stomach’s size. A small band is then placed around the lower end of the pouch and stitched in to place. This restricts the amount of food that can pass at one time leading to a rapid fullness when the individual eats.
There are some general risks and complications with any type of surgery which include:
- Anaesthetic risk
- Wound infection
- Blood clots (due to relative inactivity during recovery)
- Nausea and fatigue following the operation
There are also some more specific risks associated with a vertical banded gastroplasty. These can include:
- Deep abdominal infection sometimes leading to sepsis
- Split of the stapled portion of the stomach
- Stricture (narrowing which does not allow contents to pass through) of the stomach due to the fitted band
A vertical banded gastroplasty is a significant undertaking. Patients will be required to stay in hospital for several days after this operation to monitor their health. In general, patients will need to have an all liquid diet for one to two weeks immediately after the operation.
If complications do not arise, this procedure can provide an effective way of patients losing moderate amount of weight as long as they adhere to dietary and lifestyle/activity changes after the surgery.
The advantage of using this procedure is that it does not restrict the ability of the gastrointestinal tract to absorb nutrients from the food that passes. This means that if a sensible, balanced diet is followed their should not be any longer term health problems associated with malnutrition.