|By Martin Hutchinson|
original news on BBChttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7432878.stm
|Fern Britton has shed three stone since the band was fitted|
Television presenter Fern Britton has caused controversy after it was revealed that her recent weight loss followed a «gastric band» operation, and was not simply down to dieting and exercise.
But how does a gastric band work, who should receive them, and is there still a stigma attached?
For some obese people, attempts at conventional dieting and exercise will fail, and their weight means a far higher risk of health problems later in life.
It is at this point that their doctor may suggest gastric banding.
The principle is a simple one. Most people eat when they feel hungry, and when their stomachs are full, they stop.
|GASTRIC BAND A fluid-filled balloon is clipped around the upper end of the stomach with a band This restricts the flow of food into the lower stomach, making the patient feel full sooner The band can be adjusted via the reservoir which is sited beneath the skin|
The operation leaves a silicone loop tightened about three-quarters of the way up the stomach, creating a much smaller space at the top, with a tiny gap leading to the rest of the stomach.
Much less food is needed to fill up this little «pouch» at the top, at which point the person feels full.
The «pouch» then slowly empties through the gap into the rest of the stomach, and appetite returns.
Dr Ian Campbell, Medical Director of the charity Weight Concern, said: «If you reduce the volume of food you can comfortably put in your stomach, you’ll eat less.»
The NHS does offer gastric banding, but many people choose to have the operation privately, at a cost of around £7,000.
On average, people will lose up to 50% of their excess weight in the two years after they have one, almost immediately cutting the risk of diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure.
But it is not recommended to all obese people — guidelines from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence say that it should be considered only after other, non-surgical solutions, have been fully exhausted, and patients need to be free of psychological problems, and receive the correct advice and counselling.