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Columbia University Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery
Surgical Procedures & Innovations  Gastric Banding

Placement of gastric band around stomach
Placement of gastric band around stomach

Gastric banding, which is usually performed laparoscopically, is one of the least invasive approaches to obesity because neither the stomach nor the intestine is cut.

The amount of weight you lose with gastric banding depends on your motivation and commitment to a new lifestyle and eating habits. Gastric banding can help you achieve longer lasting weight loss by:

  • limiting the amount you can eat
  • reducing your appetite
  • slowing digestion.

How It Works

Laparoscopically placed around the upper part of the stomach, the band divides the stomach into a small upper pouch above the band and a larger pouch below the band. This small pouch limits the amount of food that a patient can eat at any one time, and will result in a feeling of fullness after eating a small amount of food.

Animation: Gastric Banding Animation: Gastric Banding

Length43 seconds
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Band Adjustment

Adjusting the size of the opening between the two parts of the stomach controls how much food passes from the upper to the lower part of the stomach. This opening (stoma) between the two parts of the stomach can easily be decreased or increased, by injecting or removing saline from the band. The band is connected by a tube to a reservoir placed beneath the skin during surgery. The surgeon or nurse practitioner can later control the amount of saline in the band by piercing the reservoir through the skin with a fine needle. The ability to adjust the band is a unique feature of gastric banding and is a normal part of follow-up.


Because the band is removable, adjustable and does not permanently alter the anatomy, it provides an option for patients who may not otherwise consider surgery for treatment of their obesity. Other advantages include a shorter hospital stay and no effects on the absorption of nutrients.

Expected Weight Loss

Estimated weight loss is approximately 40 - 60% of one's excess weight, to be achieved over two years.

In general, most patients find they are unable to easily tolerate red meat, pasta, rice, fresh bread and fibrous foods. You will be asked to eat three meals a day with one to three planned snacks, chew your food very well and swallow slowly. You must drink only calorie-free or low caloric beverages and wait at least one hour after eating to drink.

Read more about the technology we use in performing weight loss surgery.

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