Gastric Band Fills
*Please note that due to long-term data showing unacceptably high complication rates after gastric band placement, very few surgeons use the band today.
Gastric Band patients need more follow-up than patients undergoing other weight loss procedures due to one of the band’s advantages – its adjustability. Some surgeons don’t fill the band during surgery, but rather wait a few weeks post op, as there is some natural swelling around the area of the band placement after surgery. While adjustment intervals will vary based on the patient, they can expect about 6-8 adjustments in the first 2 years after surgery, then periodically thereafter.
During the procedure the surgeon places an “injection port” beneath the skin and attaches it to abdominal muscle tissue. The injection port is invisible to the casual observer. Attached to the injection port is tubing that extends to the band. By using a specially-made needle, the surgeon can inject or remove the desired amount of saline solution into the injection port. The saline solution travels up the tubing and fills pillow-like reservoirs within the band, causing it to tighten and create more restriction. Band fills and adjustments are quick and typically can be performed in the surgeon’s office.
Depending on the patient’s insurance or cash-pay plan, band fills or adjustments may or may not be covered in their initial surgical costs, or by their insurer. If a patient is considering gastric banding surgery, they should fully understand the costs of follow-up visits, including band adjustments.
If a patient has had surgery out of town, out of state or in another country, they may need to visit another surgeon for their band fills. In these cases, patients should expect to pay a fee every time they receive an adjustment.