When the LAP-BAND® is implanted, it is usually empty or only partially inflated. The goal is not to lose weight at this point, but to get you familiar with your band and to promote healing.
Your first few weeks are important. Take every precaution to avoid vomiting and putting pressure on your “new” small stomach.
About 4 to 6 weeks following the surgery, you will most likely have your first band adjustment. The timing varies according to each individual. You and your surgeon will determine the appropriate time, based on your:
One of your LAP-BAND’s greatest advantages is the ability to adjust it based on your individual needs. This ensures that you and your surgeon can determine the appropriate level of restriction for your health, comfort and weight-loss success.
To adjust your LAP-BAND, your surgeon or clinical professional injects or removes saline fluid through the band’s access port under your skin. The saline is added or removed using a special needle. While you may feel a small prickling sensation, most patients describe the process as painless. Do not ever attempt to adjust your own band, nor allow anyone but your surgeon or a properly trained medical professional to adjust your band. Self adjustments or adjustments performed by untrained medical professionals without proper equipment can damage your band or cause adverse reactions.
Success comes from finding the ideal “fill” volume of your band. This only comes through routine visits with your surgeon and ongoing adjustments.The ideal zone is often referred to as the Green Zone: the point at which the LAP-BAND is most effective for a particular patient.
The Green Zone: The optimal fill volume where a patient feels full after eating small meals and experiences prolonged satisfaction after these meals. Patients are losing 1-2 pounds a week or are able to maintain weight loss after goal weight has been reached.
There is a range outside the Green Zone where the band may be too tight or too loose.
The Yellow Zone: If the band is too loose, the patient will feel hungry and small meals do not satisfy. Saline needs to be added to the band so that smaller meals will provide a sustained feeling of fullness.
The Red Zone: If the band is too tight the patient will have difficulty eating and swallowing may be difficult or painful. At times food regurgitation can even occur. It may cause an obstruction so that even saliva or fluid cannot pass the band. In this case saline needs to be removed from the band.
The goal is to create the right physiological response so that patients are generally not hungry and are satisfied by small meals. The Green Zone is best achieved by small incremental adjustments and by listening carefully to the patient. Some important questions to keep in mind are:
It’s likely you will need more than one band adjustment. Think of it as tightening the belt to your pants as you lose weight. The adjustments help provide restriction and satiety — the feeling of fullness after eating a small meal. This is healthy and expected, but the number of adjustments varies from individual to individual. There is no pre-set number of adjustments to achieve your weight loss results.
The prospect of losing weight is exciting, but it’s important not to hurry adjustments. Your success relies on open communication and a solid partnership with your medical team.
Once you resume eating solid foods, it’s important to monitor your diet. Liquids and soft foods will not be filling, because they pass into your digestive system quickly. Therefore, it’s best to steer clear of high-calorie drinks and sweets. Instead, choose water, Crytal Light, broth, tea or coffee (without sugar).
Chewing food carefully is important. It helps you to feel full sooner. It also prevents blocking the stomach pouch outlet with large chunks of food.
It’s best to eat three small meals a day. Try to keep meals balanced by including meat, vegetables, fruit, and/or dairy products.
It’s no secret that exercise is good for you, although it can be difficult and painful when you’re carrying excess weight. As you begin losing weight with the LAP-BAND, you’ll find this task easier and even enjoyable.
The goal is to find 30 minutes a day, three to five days a week to exercise. Although this may seem daunting, every little bit helps, so get started even if it’s just a few minutes of stretching. In the beginning, you may want to start by simply parking your car farther away from a store or using some water bottles as weights to do some bicep curls, or just cleaning the house. You’d be surprised at the number of low-impact activities you can do to burn calories. In time, you will be able to include exercise such as aerobics, jogging or cycling.
Be sure to check with your doctor about the exercise program you are planning, and update the program together as your fitness level increases.