Realize®® System Gastric Band Surgery

The Realize®® Adjustable Gastric Band is similar to the Lap-Band ®system, and almost all the statements we make about one are relevant to the other. The Realize®® Band is a restrictive type of weight loss surgery. It comprises two devices that are implanted at the same time during surgery. As with the Lap Band® system

How Realize® Band Surgery Is Done

The Realize® Band is made of a strong, flexible silicone. Your surgeon would wrap the band completely around the upper part of your stomach. This creates a small pouch and a narrow passage to the lower stomach. This small passage delays the emptying of food from the pouch and causes a feeling of fullness. A soft balloon inside the band comes into direct contact with the stomach. This balloon holds up to 1.8 teaspoons of saline solution.

The second implant is called the Realize® Injection Port, and it is attached to the abdominal wall under the skin. It is used for fills or adjustments. During fills, your surgeon injects saline into the port to tighten or loosen the Realize® Band. These adjustments are made periodically based on weight loss, food cravings and other physical reactions to the surgery. The Realize® Band and port are connected by a hollow tube.

Adjustable gastric banding with the Realize® Band may also be an option for people for whom the more invasive gastric bypass surgery is too risky.

Fills and Adjustments of the Realize® Band

The stomach needs to heal from surgery before the first fill, so the first adjustment occurs around six weeks after surgery. Many people who have undergone gastric banding surgery report that they can still eat relatively normal amounts of food until the first fill. The fills are done to make sure the band is not too tight or too loose and/or to encourage continued weight loss. The tighter the band, the more quickly the upper stomach fills up, and the less food you can eat. Band adjustments are painless, and your surgeon can make them during a regular office visit. Studies of the Realize® Band found that individuals required an average of four adjustments during the first year, two fills during the second year and two fills during the third year following surgery (Also see: Gastric Banding Adjustments under Fluoroscopy).

Tom's Story

I was tagged as either "fat Tommy" or "fatty-boy". I've fought the "battle of the bulge" my entire life. As I got older, I realized being morbidly obese was definitely having an adverse effect on my life, and it appeared to be getting worse.

Why I chose to draw the line against living with obesity

I'm a Computer Tech Support and Server Administrator and I was finding it difficult to lift a desktop computer. I couldn't walk long distances without getting winded. When I worked on the second floor, I had to climb stairs and would need to take breaks halfway up. Climbing down the stairs was also difficult, because I could not see each step - so I had to go down one step at a time.

Over the past few years, I have gone on numerous job interviews, and when I entered the room, I could tell the interviewer had already prejudged my abilities because of my size. I could actually see the nonverbal gasps by the way their eyes opened wide. Since many of the jobs dealt with customer interaction, I could see they were apprehensive about hiring me because they were afraid of how their potential customers would view me.

I cancelled going to parties, weddings and funerals because I was ashamed of my size. I stopped going to my favorite vacationing spot, because two years ago I broke two chairs – and I was embarrassed to return. I also avoided going to movies, concerts, and restaurants, because I had issues sitting in the seats.

Going into the operation, I was at the lowest point of my life. I weighed the most I ever had. My weight made it difficult to do simple tasks both at work and at home. I stopped socializing. I hated not only myself, but the entire world.

How my life has changed

Since the operation, I consider myself an unofficial walking testimonial commercial for the REALIZE® Band. My weight loss has been called remarkable. I started at 435 pounds, with a BMI of 55.8. As of this past week (22 months after the procedure), I have lost about 185 pounds, with a BMI of 32.1.

In the past two years, I have come to realize many things. One thing is life is a rollercoaster ride. There will be highs and lows, but the ride itself will be exhilarating. The other thing I realize is that when it comes to weight loss surgery, no one prepares you for your gains. You gain confidence in yourself; you gain self-worth; you gain relationships again (old and new); you gain a wonderful group of friends from the boards and support groups, and you gain a wonderful outlook on your life and the future

The best way to compare your weight loss surgery options

The best way to learn about the differences between weight loss surgeries is to attend a weight loss surgery information seminar You'll learn about surgical options and you'll meet our bariatric team members who will support you before and long after your surgery. You may also hear from patients who have had weight loss surgery. There's no pressure to make a commitment—and no better way to get the answers you're looking for. Of course, family and friends are welcome, too.