The digestive process begins in the mouth, where chewing and saliva breakdown food. Digestion continues in the stomach, where food is turned into a liquid called chyme. Chyme next passes into the small intestine. Here, enzymes from the pancreas and liver further digest food. It is also in the small intestine where all nutrients and vitamins are absorbed. Small fingerlike projections lining the small intestine, called villi, enable digested food to enter the bloodstream. Vertical Banded Gastroplasty is a type of restrictive bariatric surgery that limits the amount of food a patient can eat without altering the digestive process. During the procedure, a small circular hole is made in the stomach a few inches below the esophagus. A small vertical pouch is then made by placing a row of surgical staples from the window toward the esophagus. This new gastric pouch will hold approximately ½ to 1 oz of solid food. Next, a band is placed through the window and around the outlet of the pouch. The band prevents the outlet from stretching. The band also controls the size of the opening from the pouch to the stomach. This delays the emptying of food from the pouch and gives the patient a feeling of fullness. Patients will need to modify their eating habits following this surgery. Risks can include band breakdown and failure of the staple line.
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