Gastric band surgery

What is the gastric band?

Gastric banding is a procedure that limits the amount of food you can eat by inserting a band around the stomach. This helps a person feel full sooner and for longer than usual.

How does the gastric band work?

  1. Doctors insert an adjustable silicone band into the body and place it around the upper part of the stomach.
  2. The band divides the stomach into two sections: a small upper pouch, and a larger lower stomach.
  3. Less food can fit into the pouch, and fewer calories are absorbed.
  4. Patients feel full sooner, and the feeling of fullness lasts longer, leading to weight loss.
  5. The band can be adjusted to suit patient needs by changing the amount of saline in the band through a port in the patient’s abdomen. 

What are the health benefits of the gastric band? 

  • Clinical studies show that patients may experience a variety of benefits after surgery
    • An average of 41% excess weight loss(9, 10)
    • Improvements in type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, and high cholesterol(11, 12, 32, 33)
    • Increased physical activity, productivity, wellbeing, economic opportunities, and self-confidence(11)
    • Minimally invasive procedure leads to shorter hospital stays and recovery time
  • Several patients saw improved or resolved health conditions after the gastric band surgery:
    • Type 2 diabetes controlled (20-59%)(11,12,32,33)
    • High blood pressure resolved (42%)(13)
    • High cholesterol improved* (71%)(11,12)
    • Obstructive sleep apnea resolved (45%)(11,12)                                                                                                                       

*Figure is for hyperlipidemia. Hyperlipidemia is a general term used for high fats in blood, which may include cholesterol and/or triglycerides.

What are some advantages and disadvantages of the gastric band?


  • Can cause significant long-term weight loss (an average of 41% excess body weight)(9, 10)
  • Can lead to improvement of obesity-related health conditions(11, 12, 13, 32, 33)
  • Reversible (not a permanent procedure like the bypass, sleeve, or duodenal switch)
  • Limits the amount of food that can be eaten
  • No cutting or removing any part of the stomach or intestines
  • Food is absorbed normally
  • Band can be adjusted for patient’s needs


  • Requires lifelong dedication to specific diet and exercise routines
  • Improvements in health and weight are less substantial than other bariatric surgeries 
  • Reversible (some patients may desire a permanent solution)
  • Requires a foreign object to be inserted into the body
  • Band requires adjustments over time
  • Possible complications may include:
    • Nausea/vomiting
    • Outlet obstruction (blockage)
    • Pouch dilation (stretching)
    • Band slippage
    • Gastric leakage
    • Gastric tearing

For more information on the risks of gastric band surgery, click here.


Metabolic and bariatric surgery is as safe or safer than other commonly performed procedures, including gallbladder surgery.(27,54) When performed at a Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery Center of Excellence, bariatric and metabolic surgery has a mortality rate of 0.13%. This means that out of 10,000 people who have this kind of surgery, on average 9,987 will survive surgery and 13 will not.(27) Gallbladder removals have a mortality rate of 0.4%. This means of 10,000 people who have their gallbladder removed, on average 9,960 people will survive surgery and 40 will not.(54)

All surgeries present risks. These risks vary depending on weight, age, and medical history. Patients should discuss the risks with their doctor and bariatric and metabolic surgeon.