The Realize Band is an adjustable gastric band designed to help you lose weight. Originally created in Sweden, the Realize Band has had over 100,000 satisfied patients worldwide and has quickly grown in popularity in the U.S. as a comfortable and effective method of weight loss. The combination of the REALIZE Band and innovative online patient support program marks a new approach in bariatric surgery.
How Realize Band Surgery Works
The Realize Band is a donut-shaped balloon made of strong, flexible silicone. The band is wrapped around the upper part of your stomach, creating two parts: a small upper pouch of about four ounces, and the lower stomach. A narrow passage leads from the new pouch to the rest of the stomach. This slows down the emptying of food from the pouch and causes an early feeling of fullness.
Tightening and loosening the Realize Band narrows and widens the passageway to the lower stomach and affects how much food you are able to eat during a meal. Dr. Rapp controls the Realize Band by injecting a saline (salt water) solution into the band through a special port under the skin of your abdomen.
Adjustable gastric banding with the Realize Band is usually performed laparoscopically, meaning that Dr. Rapp makes several small incisions as opposed to one large one. This involves less tissue trauma than open surgery, resulting in shorter hospital stays, faster recovery, smaller scars, and less pain. The entire procedure typically takes about one hour.
Candidates for Realize Band Surgery
Patients usually need a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40 to qualify for Realize Band surgery. This translates to about 100 pounds overweight for men and 80 for women. You must also be at least 18 years old.
If you do not meet these requirements, you may still be eligible for the Realize Band procedure if you suffer from obesity-related illnesses.
How to Prepare for the Realize Band Surgery
Weight loss surgery is not a quick fix, nor is it a decision to enter into lightly. Once you are well-informed about the procedure and have made your decision, a series of preoperative evaluations will be taken to ensure that you are both physically and mentally capable of undergoing the operation.
To prepare, it is also helpful to begin practicing your new life changes.
- Quit smoking at least 30 days before the surgery, as smoking increases the risk of complications from the surgery.
- Do not drink alcohol for at least 48 hours before the surgery.
- Eat several small, balanced meals each day.
- Start a high-protein liquid diet, which allows Dr. Rapp to better visualize the stomach during surgery.
After the Realize Band Surgery
- Diet: As with any weight loss operation, it will take time to get used to eating solid foods again. Post-operative diet usually begins with liquids only for the first two weeks. This helps reduce stomach swelling. Sipping at least eight cups of a low-calorie, non-carbonated liquid per day is recommended during the first 1-2 weeks after surgery to prevent dehydration. The liquid diet is followed by at least two weeks of semi-solid puréed foods. With Dr.Rapp’s permission, you may then reintroduce solid foods.
- Exercise: Keeping active after the surgery will reduce the risk of pneumonia and blood clots. However, it is important to be cautious when bending at the waist or picking up heavy objects.
- Weight Loss: Weight loss with the Realize Band is more gradual than with most other weight loss operations. People typically lose about one to two pounds per week.
Studies have shown that patients lose an average of 40 percent of excess body fat in the first year after Realize Band surgery. The Realize Band can also improve many obesity-related health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and acid reflux.
Compared with other weight loss surgeries, Realize Band surgery has many advantages, including:
- Minimally Invasive. The procedure involves less tissue trauma than open surgery.
- Adjustable. The band can be tightened or loosened to change how quickly you feel full.
- Reversible. Realize Band surgery does not permanently change the anatomy of the stomach and intestines. The band can be removed if necessary.
Risks and Complications
It is important to know all the facts about gastric banding before deciding to undergo the Realize Band operation. Risks and complications can include:
- Stomach pain
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Slippage of the band with persistent vomiting
- Erosion of the band into the inside of the stomach
- Leakage and deflation of the band
- Enlargement of the stomach pouch
- Blockage of the stoma (stomach outlet)
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Pulmonary embolism
- Stroke or heart attack
Fact Sheet: REALIZE mySUCCESS™
- REALIZE mySUCCESS is a program that provides support to help patients successfully achieve long-term weight loss with the Realize™ Adjustable Gastric Band
- Through REALIZE mySUCCESS, patients and their doctors can set goals together and continuously watch the progress being made—especially for the first three years,
as patients adjust to new lifestyles, and so their doctors can step in precisely when needed to keep them on track
- Content developed by professionals in health, nutrition, obesity and psychology to help patients develop personalized health plans, get information about exercise and nutrition, get alerts about potential health issues, and track their overall progress
- Online tracking tools and personalized functions help keep patients motivated and informed
- Doctor/Patient Communication: REALIZE mySUCCESS allows patients to stay connected to the healthcare practice. Patients’ local healthcare teams can review patient progress and provide suggestions to maintain goals between doctor visits
- Easy to use interface: Interactive tools allow patients to set online goals and track their successes
- Practical tips, advice and triggers: Personalized program for patients includes a food diary with recipes for suggested eating and activity plans. Information is tailored to patients’ needs regardless of whether they’re preparing for surgery or looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle post-surgery
- Support: Helpful reminders help patients maintain healthy lifestyle habits and keep track of band adjustments, while 3-D models allow patients to see the changes their bodies are going through. Maintains a database of an extended support group of friends and family
How Does it Work?
- With the assistance of their healthcare team, patients can gain access to REALIZE mySUCCESS prior to surgery to create their personalize weight loss program. They can enter information about their extended support team, access myFoodDiary, enter initial stats through myStats
- As part of the myPersonalPlan, patients’ initial log-in creates a baseline for weight and measurement through myStats
- After surgery, patients are provided with a Realize Medical Information Card that provides access to REALIZE™ mySUCCESS. The Medical Information Card features a 16-digit unique ID number.
Talk with Dr. Rapp about whether Realize Band is right for you.