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Lap band (gastric banding) introduction
Obesity is a growing concern. Recent statistics show that 30% of Americans meet the criteria for obesity. By medical standards, obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of over 30 kg/m2. While lifestyle modification remains the cornerstone for treatment, surgical options are becoming more popular. One of the surgical treatments for obesity is called gastric banding, commonly known as lap-band surgery. Some of the specifics of gastric banding will be addressed in this article.
What is gastric banding?
Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) is a surgical procedure that involves the placement of an adjustable belt around the upper portion of the stomach using a laparascope. The band is made of silicone and can be tightened by adding saline to fill the band (like blowing air into a doughnut-shaped balloon). The band is connected to a port that is placed under the skin in the abdomen. This port is used to introduce or remove saline into the band.
LAGB ultimately restricts the size of the stomach and the amount of food it can hold. It also slows the passage of food to the intestine. By doing so, signals to the brain from the gut allow for a sensation of fullness and satiety with the consumption of less food. This signal is sent from a small pouch created by the band in the upper stomach. When the pouch fills, the same signal is sent to the brain that occurred previously when the entire stomach filled.
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