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Lap Band Surgery FAQs

Considering Lap Band for Weight Loss Surgery? Here are the most common questions.

Written by Healthy Magazine |

Will I be sick a lot after the operation?

You should be a lot healthier than before the operation once you start losing weight. If you are feeling sick or having pain it may mean that you are not chewing your food well or that you are not following the dietary rules properly. Vomiting should be avoided as much as possible. It can cause the band to slip which may require surgery to fix. Surgery and anesthesia can cause short-term nausea which can usually be treated with medications.

How long will it take to recover after surgery?

Most of our patients spend less than four hours in the hospital. We recommend our patients take one to two weeks off work to recover.

How much weight will I lose?

Weight-loss results vary from patient to patient, and the amount of weight you may lose depends on several things.

First of all, the band needs to be adjusted appropriately and that can take several adjustments. Also a lot depends on how committed you are to your new lifestyle and the changes that you need to make in your eating behaviors. The surgery is not magic and the pounds don't just disappear without effort. We are happy with one pound a week, although usually we see a little quicker weight loss at the beginning. It usually takes a couple of years to lose 100 pounds.

How do the weight-loss results with the lap-band compare to those with the gastric bypass?

Lap-band patients tend to lose the weight a little slower than gastric bypass patients but are less likely to gain weight back due to its adjustability. You should focus on long-term weight loss and remember that it is important to lose weight gradually while reducing obesity-related risks and improving your health. Ultimately your weight loss will be the same.

Does the lap-band require frequent office visits after surgery?

Check-ups are a normal and a very important part of the lap-band surgery follow-up. We see patients at two weeks out from surgery and then again at five weeks when you will receive your first fill if needed. We like to see our patients every two to four weeks after that until your band is tight enough and then once a month for the first year and/or until weight-loss goals are achieved and then every six months to a year after that.

Does the Lap-Band limit any physical activity?

No, it does not affect or hamper physical activity including aerobics, stretching and strenuous exercise.

How is the band adjusted?

They are almost always done by a nurse in the office. A local anesthetic is given and a needle is passed through the skin into the access port to add or remove saline. This process most often takes only a few minutes. Most patients say it is nearly painless.

Do I have to be careful with the access port just underneath my skin?

There are no restrictions based on the access port. It is placed under the skin in the abdominal wall. and once the incisions have healed it should not cause discomfort or limit your movements or any physical exercise.

Can the band be removed?

Although the band is not meant to be removed, it can be and usually is done laparoscopically. However with the band gone the stomach returns to its former shape and the person usually regains their weight.

Will I need plastic surgery for the surplus skin when I have lost a lot of weight?

Sometimes the skin will mold itself around the new body tissue, especially if the weight is taken off slowly. The need/desire for plastic surgery is very individual and we can suggest the names of plastic surgeons.

Is it true that the lap-band seems "tighter" in the morning?

This is VERY common. We think it has to do with the distribution of water in your body. Other things that can make your band seem tighter is a change in altitude, stress, and hormones.

Will I feel hungry or deprived with the lap-band?

The lap-band helps you eat less and feel full in two ways—first by limiting the amount of food you can eat and second by slowing down the time it takes for the food to be digested. When your band is properly adjusted, you will feel full on a lot less food and not get hungry for several hours.

What will happen if I become ill?

One of the major advantages of the lap-band is that it can be adjusted. If your illness requires you to eat more, the band can be loosened by removing saline from it. When you have recovered from your illness and want to lose weight again, the band can be tightened by increasing the amount of saline. If the band cannot be loosened enough it may have to be removed.

What about pregnancy?

Becoming pregnant can be easier as you lose weight. We can loosen the band to make sure you are able to eat enough and tighten it so you don't gain too much during your pregnancy. We don't want you losing weight while you are pregnant.

What if I need to have another surgery or procedure?

We need to empty your band prior to any procedure that includes putting a tube down your throat such as general anesthesia, endoscopy, etc.

Will I need to take vitamin supplements?

We recommend a good chewable or liquid vitamin to be taken every day as well as calcium and fiber supplements.

What about other medication?

You should be able to take prescribed medication. You may need to use capsules, break big tablets in half or dissolve them in water so they do not get stuck in the stomach and make you sick. You should always ask the doctor who prescribes the drugs about this.

What if I go out to eat?

We will teach you several strategies when eating out. Most of our patients will split a meal or plan to take a lot of it home or only eat a small amount.

What about alcohol?

Alcohol has a high number of calories. It also breaks down vitamins. An occasional glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage (as long as it is NOT carbonated) is not considered harmful to weight loss.

Will I suffer from constipation?

There may be a reduction in the volume of your stools. It is important to get enough fiber in your diet which may necessitate the use of fiber supplements.

If I have my surgery done somewhere else can I have my adjustments done at your office?

If you live in the area and have had your Lap-Band placed elsewhere, we are not currently able to see you for adjustments.

Article Reviewed: November 10, 2013
Copyright © 2015 Healthy Magazine

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