FAQs About Lap Banding
Q. Will I be sick a lot after the operation?
A. The Lap-Band System limits food intake. If you feel nauseated or sick on a regular basis, it may mean that you are not chewing your food well enough or that you are not following the diet rules properly. However, it could also mean that there is a problem with the placement of the band, so contact your doctor if the problem persists. Vomiting should be avoided as much as possible as it can cause the small stomach to stretch. It can also lead to slippage of part of the stomach through the band and reduce the success of the operation. In some cases, it can require another operation.
Q. How long will it take to recover after surgery?
A. If Lap-Band surgery is performed laparoscopically, patients typically spend less than 24 hours in the hospital. Patients are advised to avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activity for 2 weeks following surgery.
Q. How much weight will I lose?
A. Weight loss results vary from patient to patient, and the amount of weight you lose depends on several things. The band needs to be in the right position, and you need to be committed to your new lifestyle and eating habits. Obesity surgery is not a miracle cure, and the pounds won't come off by themselves. It is very important to set achievable weight loss goals from the beginning. A weight loss of 1-2 lbs per week in the first year after the operation is possible, but one pound a week is more likely. 12-18 months after the operation weekly weight loss is usually less. Remember that you should lose weight gradually. Losing weight too quickly creates a health risk and can lead to a number of problems. The main goal is to have weight loss that prevents, improves, or resolves health problems connected with severe obesity.
Q. How do the weight-loss results with the Lap-Band compare to those with the gastric bypass?
A. Most people who have gastric bypass surgery quickly begin to lose weight and continue to lose weight for up to 12 months. In clinical studies, most Lap-Band patients steadily lost weight over a three year period.
Q. Does the Lap-Band require frequent visits to my doctor after surgery?
A. Many surgeons see their patients several times in the first year after surgery. Adjustments are performed during some of these visits. It is typical for follow-up visits to be scheduled every three to six months during the second and third year, depending on the individual case.
Q. Do I have to be careful with the access port just underneath my skin?
A. The access port is placed under the skin in the abdominal wall, and once the incisions have healed it should not cause discomfort or limit any physical exercise. The only sensation you may experience from the port occurs when you go in for adjustments. If you feel persistent discomfort in the port area, talk to your doctor.
Q. Will I feel hungry or deprived with the Lap-Band?
A. The Lap-Band helps you eat less and feel full in two ways- first by reducing the capacity of your stomach and second by increasing the time it takes food to get through the digestive system. After a small meal, the amount of which varies from person to person, you should feel full. If you follow the nutrition guidelines when you choose your food and then chew it well, you should not feel hungry or deprived. Remember that the Lap-Band is a tool to help you change your eating habits.
Q. What about pregnancy?
A. Becoming pregnant can be easier as you lose weight. Your menstrual cycle may become more regular. If you need to eat more while you are pregnant, the band can be loosened. After pregnancy, the band may be made tighter again and you can resume losing weight.
Q. Can I eat anything in moderation?
A. After your stomach has healed, you may eat foods that don't cause you discomfort. However, because you can only eat a little it is important to include foods full of important vitamins and nutrients such as those recommended in the nutrition section of this booklet and as advised by your surgeon and /or dietitian. If you eat foods that contain lots of sugar and fat or drink liquids full of "empty" calories, such as milkshakes, the effect of the Lap-Band may be greatly reduced or even cancelled.
Q. What about other medication?
A. You should be able to take a prescribed medication, and your medications will be reviewed prior to discharge. Your surgeon may tell you to avoid taking aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers because they may irritate the stomach. The problems these drugs may cause could result in band removal.
Q. What if I go out to eat?
A. Order only a small amount of food, such as an appetizer. Eat slowly. Finish at the same time as your table companions. You might want to let your host or hostess know in advance that you cannot eat very much.