Vertical Banded Gastroplasty—Open Surgery
(Stomach Stapling; Bariatric Surgery; Weight-Reduction Surgery)
by Karen Kassel, MS, RD, MEd
Vertical banded gastroplasty, also called stomach stapling, is surgery that divides the stomach into 2 parts to treat obesity. It causes weight loss by decreasing the amount of food you can eat.
This is only one type of weight loss surgery. It is currently a less common choice, but still may be suited for some.
Reasons for Procedure
This surgery treats severe obesity. A calculation called body mass index ( BMI) is used to determine how overweight or obese you are. A normal BMI is 18.5-25.
This surgery is a weight loss option for people with:
The success of vertical banded gastroplasty depends on your commitment. If lifestyle changes are made and maintained, the benefits of bariatric surgery include:
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Long-term complications include vomiting and gallstones.
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Each bariatric surgery program has specific requirements. Your program will likely include the following:
Leading up to your procedure:
General anesthesia will be used. You will be asleep for the surgery.
Description of the Procedure
An 8-10 inch incision will be made to open the abdomen. Surgical staples will be used to divide your stomach into 2 unequal portions. The upper portion will be a small pouch. It will empty through a tiny opening into the lower portion. The small pouch can hold only ½ to 1 cup of soft, moist, and well-chewed food. A normal stomach can hold 4-6 cups.
Next, a plastic band will be wrapped around the tiny opening. This will prevent it from stretching. This band can be adjusted after surgery. The incisions will then be closed with staples or stitches.
Immediately After Procedure
The breathing tube will be removed. You will be taken to the recovery area.
How Long Will It Take?
About 2 hours
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
Average Hospital Stay
You will be in the hospital for 2-5 days. Your doctor may choose to keep you longer if complications arise.
At the Hospital
While you are recovering at the hospital, you may receive the following care:
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chance of infection such as:
You will need to practice lifelong healthy eating and exercising habits. After your surgery:
Your new stomach is the size of a small egg. It is slow to empty. This will make you feel full quickly. Nutritional steps include:
Call Your Doctor
Contact your doctor if your recovery is not progressing as expected or you develop complications such as:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Weight Loss Surgery
Bariatric surgery. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T483434/Bariatric-surgery . Updated October 23, 2017. Accessed December 22, 2017.
Bariatric surgery. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at:
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Updated December 2016. Accessed December 22, 2017.
Bariatric surgery. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/bariatric-surgery. Accessed December 22, 2017.
Maciejewski ML, Livingston EH, Smith VA, et al. Survival among high-risk patients after bariatric surgery. JAMA. 2011;305(23):2419-2426.
9/2/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T483434/Bariatric-surgery : The Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery (LABS) Consortium. Perioperative safety in the longitudinal assessment of bariatric surgery. N Engl J Med. 2009;361(5):445-454.
6/24/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T483434/Bariatric-surgery : Pontiroli AE, Morabito A. Long-term prevention of mortality in morbid obesity through bariatric surgery. a systematic review and meta-analysis of trials performed with gastric banding and gastric bypass. Ann Surg. 2011;253(3):484-487.
Last reviewed November 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 12/20/2014
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