Strike up the Band?

weight-loss-manteca-caIn all of my years as a personal trainer and my involvement in the weight loss industry, I think that the single most frequently asked question today isn’t “What piece of exercise equipment should I buy”?…and this was definitely THE question for many years.  But lately, it is much more the question, “What do you think of getting the band for weight loss?”

The overweight/obesity epidemic is out of hand. The situation has now reached a point that the harm to the public health, which translates into harm for quality of life and definitely harm to everyone’s wallet has reached epidemic proportion, and the situation is not improving.

What are the possible complications of the banding?

  • Infection and migration. An infection may develop either in the port area or in the abdomen, and in some instances this may cause the band to migrate into the stomach.
  • Leakage.  Leakage from the SAGB or from the connecting tube between the balloon and the port may require reoperation. The balloon is made of fragile material, and leakage can occur either shortly after surgery or many years later.
  • Slippage of the band and pouch dilatation. The band may slip, and the pouch (the part of the stomach above the band) may become too enlarged, and a reoperation may be necessary.
  • Punctures in the silicone band and port dislocation The injection port may dislocate and when injecting into the port, there is always the risk of puncturing the silicone tube.
  • Patients may vomit or feel pain after food intake. This can be caused either by a poor eating behavior, or by the narrowing of the SAGB following the injection of fluid into the balloon.

Invasive procedures into the body of any nature carry risk.  But then again, so does being obese.  But when “weighing” this decision, consider another finding from a study last year done in Holland.  Adjustable gastric banding achieves only modest weight loss, and even that benefit deteriorates over time in most patients. Edo Aarts, MD, reported at the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery meeting that five years after surgery, about two thirds of patients maintained 25% excess weight loss. At 10 years the success rate dropped to less than a third (31%). Using 40% excess weight loss as the standard, resulted in a five-year success rate of about 50%, which declined to 20% at 10 years.

So if you are viewing this as an automatic fix to your weight problem, don’t.  Fortunately, there is a risk-free and safe solution to the obesity epidemic.  It takes longer and requires hard work but can reverse this dangerous trend permanently.  And if you have a positive attitude towards it and have the patience it takes, then losing weight without the band might be the better way to go and can “add hours to your day, days to your year, and years to your life.”.

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