02.Who should consider it?
When all else has failed, surgery may be an effective treatment for morbidly obese people suffering associated health issues. Even critics agree there’s a place for gastric banding in the treatment of obesity, with certain provisos.
- It should be promoted as a tool for weight loss, not a miracle cure. Many gastric banding procedures are offered as part of a package, which includes sessions with a dietitian, psychologist and exercise physiologist to educate the patient and help resolve lifestyle and emotional issues that contributed to their obesity.
- Your GP should also be involved. Some packages include regular or even unlimited visits to the clinic for monitoring and general support; one even promises support “for life”. It’s important to establish whether these visits are part of the upfront cost, bulk-billed or if you have to pay at some point.
- Surgery must be marketed ethically, without the hard sell or pressure and with enough information about the potential risks, complications and life after banding for the person to make an informed choice.
- There’s increasing concern gastric banding is being offered to teenagers and people with a body mass index (BMI) below 35 – even close to 30. Some argue its application should be limited to people aged 18-65 with a BMI above 40, or above 35 with one or more associated conditions (such as type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes).