Gastric Banding

What is Gastric Banding?

Gastric Banding (Gastric Band Surgery or lap band surgery) is a procedure performed using laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery to apply a reversible/removable medical device that helps to control a patient’s consumption of food. The gastric banding procedure has been performed in Australia since 1994 and has been proven to be a safe and effective weight loss procedure, with data showing an average of 47.1% maintained excess weight loss at 15 years.


How does a Gastric Band work?

The LAP-BAND® (gastric band) is fastened around the top part of the stomach, and is designed to slow down the eating process. The gastric band applies a constant gentle pressure on the stomach which controls:

  • how quickly a person can eat
  • how hungry they get
  • how much food they need to eat before feeling satisfied that they have had enough

Pressure in the gastric band is controlled by injecting fluid in and out of an access port that sits below the skin of the abdomen.

Gastric Band Surgery

Should you qualify for gastric banding, your surgeon will discuss the procedure with you in more detail, including what is involved and the aftercare. The hospital stay is shorter than other weight loss procedures, generally a day in hospital and a week off work.

Although of the available bariatric surgery procedures, this requires the most commitment from patients in order to get a good result. Patients have to learn to work with their band and avoid “cheat” foods.

Complications of gastric band surgery can include port revisions, pouch enlargement/dilatation and band slippage. The re-operation rate for complications in our practice is about 1% per year. Patients who don’t look after their gastric band and have it over-tightened can expect to suffer food intolerances, vomiting and run the risk of a re-operation (around 5-8% per year).

Overall gastric banding is a safe and effective bariatric surgery procedure and the majority of patients will lose more weight with the device than any diet they have followed previously. If you are considering gastric band surgery please contact our clinic today and one of our expert team will be happy to discuss this further with you. You should also download (below) our Laparoscopic Gastric Band (LAGB) Surgery Information document for more information.


Gastric banding is the safest form of bariatric and has a very low complication rate. The popularity of the band in recent times has nose dived substantially. The key issue stems from the fact that it is non-distensible silastic ring. The implications of this are that if you swallow a mouthful of food that is larger than the internal diameter of the ring it will get stuck and you will vomit the food up… While the band remains excellent at stopping people from being hungry most of the time, many people push the band, wanting to feel “full” after they eat.

The feedback that you get from the band indicating that you are full fades over time, with the result being that a patient can eat more without feeling full, even though they are not hungry. This leads to ongoing adjustment of the band to maintain the original effect that it had. The reason for this phenomenon is unclear but is universally observed. Over time, an overtight band will lead to the oesophagus stretching which leads to reflux, regurgitation, hunger and eventual band removal unless people get used to meal planning rather than “restriction” when they eat. The band has no effect on a person’s desire to eat, just hunger, unlike other bariatric procedures such as the sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass which reduce people’s desire to snack or graze for a year or two.

Dr Gary Yee

on Gastric Banding

Gastric Band illustration

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