REALIZE Band® System
The REALIZE BAND® SYSTEM is a gastric band very similar to the Lap-Band System. Both the Lap-Band and the Realize Band existed in Europe and were used for weight loss for years prior to being introduced in the United States. Over the past 10 years, both gastric band systems have been modified and improved substantially, and their results have improved as well.
The REALIZE BAND® involves placement of a small, adjustable ring over the upper stomach to create a small stomach pouch. The ring is attached to tubing which itself is attached to a small port that lies under the skin. The tightness of the ring can be adjusted during routine office visits. If a patient does not experience adequate weight loss, fluid is added through the port and the band tightens, resulting in an earlier sense of fullness during meals. If too much fluid is present, or if the band is too tight, fluid can be removed from the band allowing the patient to eat more. Using these adjustments, the band can be fine-tuned for each patient. This ability to adjust the system after surgery is a unique feature of gastric band systems.
Clinical Trial Data
- In a multi-center U.S. clinical trial, REALIZE Band patients lost an average of 40% of their excess body weight within the first year and kept it off for at least three years
- Thirty-five percent of patients lost 50% or more of excess body weight and 10% of patients lost 75% or more of excess body weight
- One year after surgery, patients reported improvements in their quality of life, including better general health. Three years after surgery the following improved: Vitality, mental health and social functioning and reduction in bodily pain
- After three years, patients experienced a 22% increase in “good” cholesterol (HDL) and a decrease in “bad” cholesterol (LDL), total cholesterol and triglycerides. In addition, patients experienced a statistically significant reduction in type 2 diabetes
When do I know that I need an adjustment?
Patients should be able to eat normal food if they chew well, eat slowly, and generally follow our simple basic nutritional guidelines. If they do this, we expect to see an average of 1-2 pounds of weight lost per week during the first year. Patients should feel full after eating a small portion of solid foods. If the band is too tight, patients will often experience heartburn or difficulty eating and the band will need to be loosened. As stated in the discussion about the Lap-Band, success with the Realize Band System depends on good communication and follow-up with our program, adherence to our basic nutritional guidelines, and a regular exercise. Our Lifestyle Management Program is designed to support our patients’ success with the gastric band process.
What are some of the unique aspects of the Gastric Bands?
- Gastric banding can be done as an outpatient procedure.
- Gastric banding is reversible.
- Gastric banding allows patients to fully digest vitamins and minerals.
- Gastric banding can be performed as a single incision procedure in certain patients.
- Gastric banding is not only effective for patients with a high BMI, it is also safe and effective for patients with lower amounts of excess weight.
What should be my weight loss expectation with the REALIZE BAND® System?
Our surgeons are experts in the Realize Band System and we find that patients will lose an average of 50% of their excess weight, although many patients lose substantially more weight, especially if they follow an exercise program. This weight loss typically occurs over a period of 2-3 years, with the majority of weight loss in the first year. Excess weight is defined as a person’s current weight minus their ideal body weight (which is generally quite thin). All experienced centers in America and the world have found that patients will lose about 50% of their excess weight with this system, but patients will not be successful if they do not adhere to a recommended eating and exercise pattern (statistically studied data). Again, weight loss with the Realize Band System has been shown to be much greater than weight loss with a traditional diet.
Other post-operative aspects of the Realize Band System.
Band slips have been reported to occur in about 5 percent or more of patients during the first 5 years after the band is inserted, but at least one program based at the Hospital has reported that only about 2 percent of its patients have been found to have slipped bands requiring an operation. There are other, more rare potential complications that can occur with gastric banding procedures. The most common complaint with the Realize Band System, however, is heartburn, which is generally a result of the band being too tight, and is corrected with a simple adjustment.