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    Weight Loss Surgery: Vertical Banded Gastroplasty (VBG)

    by Kaye Bailey

    Vertical Banded Gastroplasty (VBG) is a purely restrictive procedure. In this procedure the upper stomach near the esophagus is stapled vertically for about 2-1/2 inches (6 cm) to create a smaller stomach pouch. The outlet from the pouch is restricted by a band or ring that slows the emptying of the food and thus creates the feeling of fullness.

    Advantages

    The primary advantage of this restrictive procedure is that a reduced amount of well-chewed food enters and passes through the digestive tract in the usual order. That allows the nutrients and vitamins (as well as the calories) to be fully absorbed into the body.

    After 10 years, studies show that patients can maintain 50% of targeted excess weight loss.

    Risks
    Postoperatively, stapling of the stomach carries with it the risk of staple-line disruption that can result in leakage and/or serious infection. This may require prolonged hospitalization with antibiotic treatment and/or additional operations.

    Staple-line disruption may also, in the long-term, lead to weight gain. For these reasons, some surgeons divide the staple-line wall of the pouch from the rest of the stomach to reduce the risk of long-term staple-line disruption.

    The band or ring applied may lead to complications of obstruction or perforation, requiring surgical intervention.

    Characteristically, these procedures, while creating a sense of fullness, do not provide the necessary feeling of satisfaction that one has had "enough" to eat.

    Because restrictive procedures rely solely on a small stomach pouch to reduce food intake, there is the risk of the pouch stretching or of the restricting band or ring at the pouch outlet breaking or migrating, thus allowing patients to eat too much.

    Around 40% of patients undergoing these procedures have lost less than half their excess body weight.

    As is the case with all weight loss surgeries, readmission to a hospital may be required for fluid replacement or nutritional support if there is excessive vomiting and adequate food intake cannot be maintained.


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