Since its approval for use in the United States in 2001, the laparoscopic adjustable gastric band has become popular as the safest and least invasive form of weight loss surgery but, despite its popularity, gastric banding surgery is not suitable for everybody.
The contraindications for the use of gastric banding form a long list, but below are just some of the more common reasons for refusing gastric banding.
- 1. You have an inflammatory disease or other condition which affects the gastrointestinal tract, such as ulcers or Crohn’s disease. (Crohn’s disease is a condition which affects the small intestine and occasionally extends into the colon.)
- 2. There is a risk that you will develop bleeding in the esophagus or stomach as the result of conditions such as esophageal or gastric varices. (Varices are abnormally dilated and lengthened veins, arteries or lymphatic vessels.)
- 3. You have portal hypertension. (Portal hypertension is a condition in which, as a result of venous obstruction for example, pressure builds up in the group of veins which carry blood from the pancreas, spleen, stomach and intestine to the liver.
- 4. You are suffering from cirrhosis. (Cirrhosis is a condition resulting in widespread disruption to the normal structure of the liver and is caused by various chronic and progressive conditions including hepatitis and long-term alcohol abuse.)
- 5. You are suffering from chronic pancreatitis. (Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, which secretes digestive enzymes into the intestine to break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats.)
- 6. You are being prescribed long-term steroid treatment.
- 7. You have a gastric injury resulting from previous surgery, such as gastric perforation, and the position of this injury is at or near the location at which the gastric band needs to be placed.
- 8. Your esophagus, stomach or intestine is abnormal. This condition might have occurred at birth or subsequently and might, for example, include such things as a narrowed opening into the stomach.
- 9. You are currently pregnant or are intending to become pregnant.
- 10. You are addicted to either alcohol or drugs.
Any one of these reasons would rule out gastric banding surgery but possibly the most important reason of all for excluding you from surgery would be that you lack the necessary motivation.
Weight loss surgery, in whatever form, can present a host of difficulties, including considerable problems in adjusting to a new lifestyle after surgery, and your surgeon will commonly only allow you to go forward with gastric banding if he is satisfied that you fully understand just what gastric banding entails and have the right motivation.