If you’re to the point where you want to learn more about the surgery, congratulations! Being a well-informed patient is one of the best ways you can help yourself achieve your weight loss goals. To understand how the REALIZE Personalized Banding Solution works, we need to review some simple anatomy. Below is more information about the digestive system and adjustable gastric banding surgery. We’ve also provided an animation that should help to make it all clear.
To gain access to the abdominal cavity, small incisions are created on the abdomen. Trocars, which serve as passageways for the surgical instruments, are placed into the incisions. The surgical instruments are placed through the trocars into the abdominal cavity. The surgeon examines the abdominal cavity using a laparoscope or a video camera.
In preparation for the band, a tunnel is created behind the stomach. The REALIZE Band is introduced to the abdomen through a trocar. The REALIZE Band is positioned around the upper portion of the stomach then secured using the locking mechanism.
A tube attached to the REALIZE Band will be connected to the injection port. The port is used to adjust the band tightness after surgery. An incision is made on the upper abdomen to insert the REALIZE Injection Port beneath the skin. The tube is secured using the locking connector on the port. The injection port and tube are placed beneath the skin.
The REALIZE Band does not alter your digestive function. Food consumed passes through the digestive tract in the normal route. Approximately four to six weeks after surgery, you will visit your clinician and begin a series of periodic procedures to adjust your band. These adjustments may be necessary as long as you have your gastric band.
One of our surgeons may tighten the REALIZE Band by injecting saline into the injection port. As the saline is introduced to the REALIZE Injection Port, it travels through the tube to the band. The addition of saline to the band creates a smaller opening between the stomach and the upper stomach pouch. This smaller opening pouch restricts the amount of food you can eat before feeling full.
The Digestive System
The food you eat goes from your mouth, down the esophagus, and into your stomach. Once food collects in the stomach, strong digestive juices break it down so that the small intestine can absorb its nutrients. While food is in the first part of the small intestine, it is mixed with bile from the gallbladder and other juices from the pancreas. Food moves along the small intestines, where nutrients in the food are absorbed and turned into energy to fuel the body. After nutrients are absorbed, the remaining food that is not needed to fuel the body moves into the large intestine (also called the colon). From here, the excess food is eliminated from the body as waste.
Since the stomach is divided into smaller parts, most patients feel full faster, thereby decreasing their need for large amounts of food to satisfy their hunger. No part of your stomach is stapled or removed during surgery. Likewise, the intestines are not rerouted and can continue to absorb nutrients from food.
So how does it work?
The REALIZE Personalized Banding Solution makes you feel full sooner which results in less food consumed at one time and makes it easier for you to participate in healthy eating and lifestyle habits.
The adjustable REALIZE Band divides the stomach into two parts: a small upper pouch and a lower stomach. The upper pouch can only hold about 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of food. For this reason, you will feel full sooner and longer than usual.
To maximize the benefits of the REALIZE Band, you should eat several small nutritionally balanced meals each day. Remember it will still be important to eat foods that are low in calories, fat, cholesterol, and sugar. Also:
Remember to chew slowly and take smaller bites and
Include protein in your meals which will help you feel full longer
Avoid high-calorie drinks
Drink more water
Our bariatric team will give you advice regarding the large variety of foods that is appropriate to maintain healthy and balanced nutrition.
You might be asking yourself, what sizes does the REALIZE™ Adjustable Gastric Band come in? Simply stated, one size fits all. That’s right, because it’s an adjustable band, it can be tailored to your individual needs.
The purpose of an adjustment is to ensure that you feel satisfied when you eat and that you are losing weight gradually, about 1-2 pounds per week.
The adjustments are done by one of our doctors, a clinician or a nurse practitioner, by adding sterile saline to the band through the port. Adjustments can also involve removing saline from the band through the port.
When filling the band, saline travels from the port through the tube and into the band, making the band fit more snugly around your stomach.
Here is some additional information you should know about adjustments:
Because we want to make sure that your stomach completely heals from the surgery, your first band adjustment won’t usually occur until 4-6 weeks after your surgery.
Adjustments do not require more surgery. In fact, an adjustment can be made in a doctor’s office or a clinic, and usually only takes 5-10 minutes.
An adjustment when fluid is added is referred to as a “fill”. Fills tighten the band around the stomach so you’ll feel full sooner and longer than you did before the fill, because the food will empty from your upper stomach more slowly.
Employers who offer coverage vary by state and insurance provider. If you’re thinking about gastric banding surgery in the near future, start looking at your insurance benefits today. Some insurance plans cover all, or part of, the cost. By calling 1-866-REALIZE, we can help you check to see if your employer provides insurance coverage options. You can also use our guide “Advocating Bariatric Surgery Insurance Coverage at Your Workplace” as you begin the process of determining insurance coverage.
The REALIZE Financing Program
Financial barriers shouldn’t stand in the way of your good health. If your health insurance doesn’t fully cover the cost of the REALIZE Band surgery, or if you don’t have health insurance, you’ll have to arrange for payment on your own. The Realize Financing Program is there to help make the process easier for you.
To learn more about the Financing Program, please call 1-866-REALIZE, and leave your full name and telephone number. Or, you can visit www.Realizeband.com and submit an Invitation to Apply directly to a Loan Consultant. All inquiries will receive a personal telephone call from a Loan Consultant before the close of the following business day.