How the REALIZE® Adjustable Gastric Band helps you lose weight
During the gastric band procedure, the REALIZE Band is placed around the uppermost part of the stomach, dividing it into two parts: a small upper pouch and a lower stomach. The upper pouch can hold only about 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of food. As a result, you eat less food at one time, feel full sooner, and feel satisfied longer. The goal is to lose weight gradually, at a healthy rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week.
No part of your stomach is stapled or removed during surgery, and your intestines are not rerouted, so you can continue to absorb nutrients from food.
The REALIZE Band is made entirely of biocompatible materials, which means it's able to be placed inside your body without causing harm. The side of the REALIZE Band that fits against your stomach is lined with a soft balloon. After the gastric banding surgery, saline (a safe fluid) is delivered into the balloon to control the band tightness.
The degree of band tightness affects how much food you can eat during a meal and the length of time it takes for food to empty from the upper pouch. When the band is adjusted to the proper tightness, you'll feel full sooner and stay fuller longer. As the REALIZE Band helps you eat less food, your body will stop storing excess calories and start using its fat supply for energy.
The procedure to place the REALIZE Band
The REALIZE Band is implanted using laparoscopic (minimally invasive) surgery while you're under anesthesia. Laparoscopic surgery is performed using small incisions—and usually means a shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, smaller scars, and less pain than open surgical procedures.
How laparoscopic surgery works
A small incision (less than 1/2 inch) is made near the belly button. Carbon dioxide (a gas that occurs naturally in the body) is introduced into the abdomen to create a work space for the surgeon. Then a small laparoscopic camera is placed through the incision into the abdomen.
The camera sends a picture of the stomach and abdominal cavity to a video monitor. It gives the surgeon a good view of the key structures in the abdominal cavity. A few additional, small incisions are made in the abdomen. The surgeon watches the video monitor and works through these small incisions using instruments with long handles to complete the procedure. The surgeon creates a small, circular tunnel behind the stomach, inserts the gastric band through the tunnel, and locks the band around the stomach.
If the thought of surgery makes you anxious, we encourage you to attend a bariatric information seminar, hosted by a REALIZE Band trained surgeon. There's no better way to have your questions answered and to get all the information you need about a healthy lifestyle. You'll learn what happens on the day of bariatric surgery, what expectations you should have for recovery, and more.
The low-profile REALIZE Port
During the REALIZE Band procedure, a port made from an implant-grade medical plastic and silicone is fastened usually about 2 inches below the rib cage on the left or right side. (The exact location will depend upon your body shape and your surgeon's decision.) The port is used to deliver saline into the balloon via thin, flexible tubing.
The REALIZE Port, which is completely enclosed inside the body, has the lowest profile of any injection port to minimize its appearance under the skin, even as you lose weight. You may be able to feel the port by gently pressing on your abdomen, but you probably won't notice it at all. The port design also allows your surgeon to locate it easily for band adjustments.
Band adjustments help you meet your weight loss goals
The REALIZE Band is adjustable, which allows your bariatric surgeon to personalize your band fit over time. After an adjustment, you'll be satisfied with less food, so you can keep losing weight gradually (1 to 2 pounds per week).
As you lose weight, your REALIZE Band fit will change. Periodic band adjustments ensure that the amount of saline in your band (often called a "fill level") is comfortable for you and keeps you on track to meet your weight loss goals. Fast and easy band adjustments take place at your surgeon's office, clinic, or hospital.
Intended for long-term use
The REALIZE Band is intended for long-term use. Because adjustable gastric banding surgery does not permanently change the anatomy of the stomach and intestines, the REALIZE Band can be removed, if necessary. Please keep in mind that surgery reversal is not simple, and weight gain is usually observed in people who have had their bands removed and do not continue a healthy eating regimen.