Learn More About Life After Your Lap-Band Surgery

Recommendations & FAQ

More About Your Lap-Band Procedure

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Additional Recommendations

  • Eat three small meals a day

    The Lap-Band System creates a small stomach that can only hold a certain amount of food. If you try to eat more than it will hold, discomfort and/or vomiting will occur. Repetitive vomiting will contribute to complications such as “slippage,” where some of the stomach slides up above the band, causing heartburn and blockage. Treatment may require an operation to revise the position of the Lap-Band. It is essential to learn how much your stomach can hold comfortably and then not exceed this amount.

  • Eat slowly and thoroughly

    Food can only pass through the narrowed area in the stomach if it has been “chopped” into very small pieces. That is why you have to chew very well and plan to take more time to eat meals.

  • Stop eating as soon as you feel like your not hungry

    Once the upper pouch above the band starts to stretch from food, the brain receives a signal that enough has been eaten. In other words, you have a feeling of satiety (fullness). But it takes a little while to become aware of these signals. So you may eat more than is good for you. This can lead to nausea and vomiting. Take your time over your meal and try to recognize the feeling of fullness in yourself. Then stop eating immediately.

  • Don’t drink while you are eating

    The Lap-Band will help you lose weight the most effective with solid food. If you drink at mealtimes, the food becomes more liquid, allowing more food to be consumed. It is preferable for you not to drink anything while eating and for two hours afterward to retain the feeling of fullness for as long as possible. Try to avoid liquid calories as much as possible such as juice, sugary drinks, shakes, and alcohol.

  • Don’t eat between meals

    After you have had a meal, don’t eat anything until the next meal. Eating snacks in between meals lessens successful weight loss. It is extremely important to follow this principle. Until your band is properly adjusted, you may get hungry between meals. It is better to eat a nutritious snack than to increase your portion size at your meals. Eventually, as the band gets tighter, you will lose your desire to snack.

  • Eat healthy, nutritious, and fresh food

    Foods high in protein and vitamins, such as fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, and cereals, are recommended. Avoid foods high in fat and sugar. Eating small meals requires careful food choices to take in enough vitamins, minerals, and protein. (Consider proteins, vegetables, and carbohydrates in that order.) Fruit is good to eat but avoid juices. Most of our patients take a vitamin supplement and a calcium supplement, as well as some extra form of fiber. Note: Solid food is more important than liquid food. Liquids are transported directly through the band and do not make you feel full.

  • Avoid chunks of fibrous food

    Food that is stringy or fibrous such as asparagus, might block the narrow opening of the band. It is difficult to sufficiently chew this food into small enough pieces to pass through. Almost all food that is cut into tiny pieces and chewed well can be eaten.

  • Drink enough during the day

    Water is required to break down fat. That is why you need to drink enough fluids each day. Remember, only water, tea, or coffee (without milk/cream and sugar) or diet, non-carbonated drinks are allowed! You have to keep the food and drinks completely separated during the day. Consider drinking 1-2 cups of water before starting each meal.

  • Exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day

    This rule is just as important as the rules for dieting. In addition to a good low-calorie diet, physical exercise, which consumes energy—and thus calories—has been shown to be very important to successful weight loss. Physical exercise can also help you to improve your general health. Excess weight makes it challenging to exercise as much as you should, but usually, the more weight you lose, the easier it gets. Start with simple exercises such as walking or swimming, and gradually increase your program to include more intensive forms of exercise such as cycling, jogging, and aerobics. Important: you should always check with your primary care physician regarding the amount and type of exercise you should do.

Support Classes

These are held each month, and the first few are specific to those who have just had surgery. Other classes are ongoing support to help you through issues. These are taught by experienced patients also trained in focused areas of support such as psychological, dietary, exercise, and general healthy band living.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What about vomiting?

    Immediately after, you should have anti-nausea medication to help. Use it. 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 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 lap-band compare to those with the gastric bypass?

    Lap-band patients tend to lose weight a little slower than gastric bypass patients but are less likely to gain the 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.

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

    Regular follow up are expected and vital to successful weight loss. 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?

    Adjustments are performed by an experienced nurse or Dr. Hansen 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. When the incisions have healed, the port should not cause discomfort nor be a limitation.

  • 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 weight.

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

    This varies depending on where you carry extra weight, how fast you lose it, and the elasticity of your skin which is related to age. Your skin turns over every seven months. If you lose weight rapidly, it doesn’t have time to “tighten up” and then “puddles.” If weight loss is more gradual, then there is less “hanging.” 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 are a change in altitude, stress, and hormones during menstrual periods for women.

  • 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 happens if I get sick?

    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 to lose 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 medications?

    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.

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