New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has recently undergone a gastric banding surgery. This is similar to a gastric bypass but much less invasive and more reversible. The band is an inflatable silicone band that is placed around the top of the patient’s stomach. Once inflated the band cuts down on the size of the stomach so that less food can be eaten in one sitting. This helps many to drop a good amount of excess weight, but there are risks and drawbacks.
The average gastric banding patient loses 40% of their excess bodyweight. While that may sound great, it is a hard life-long commitment and a strict diet must be followed after the surgery. It is definitely not for everyone. Many patients who have the surgery have complications as well.
A small study was done in 2011 and it found that nearly half of the patients with the banding surgery had complications. Of those patients 40% had serious complications. 22% had minor complications. 60% required another surgery to fix some kind of problems associated with the band including erosion and device malfunctions.
Despite the fact that so many have complications, 60% of the patients in the study said that they were happy with their results. The surgery is not for everyone and should be very carefully considered before undergoing it. It is a bit safer than the bypass surgery however.
During the bypass surgery there is a rerouting of the digestive track and food skips right over the small intestine. The surgery itself is more dangerous and the chance of popping the staples or stitches after if you are not completely committed is far worse than the band slipping.