Below are the most commonly asked questions about the LAP-BAND® System. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact us. We'd be happy to help you!
Q: HOW MUCH WEIGHT WILL I LOSE WITH A LAP-BAND, AND HOW QUICKLY?
A: As with any weight-loss program, results vary according to the individual. Losing 2 to 3 pounds a week during the first year is possible, but it will more likely be 1 pound per week. It's important to set realistic weight-loss goals. Many patients are eager for an overnight transformation, but it's best to lose weight gradually. Rapid weight loss can create health risks and problems. Your goal is to improve your health and prevent or resolve problems associated with severe obesity. In the 12 to 18 months following surgery, your weekly weight loss will typically slow down. Don't be discouraged; this is normal! You are still on your way to your ideal weight. For many, obesity surgery is the ideal tool to finally achieve healthy weight loss, but it is not a miracle cure. The pounds don't melt off magically. Your success depends on several things, most importantly your commitment to lifestyle changes that include exercise and healthy eating habits compatible with your LAP-BAND.
Q: HOW DO LAP-BAND WEIGHT LOSS RESULTS COMPARE WITH THOSE FROM GASTRIC BYPASS?
A: Surgeons report that gastric bypass patients typically lose weight faster in the first year. This may seem like a benefit, but it's temporary. At five years, many LAP-BAND and gastric bypass patients have achieved comparable weight loss. Remember, it's important to lose weight gradually to improve your health and reduce obesity-related risks. It's best to focus on healthy, long-term weight loss.
Q: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECOVER FROM SURGERY?
A: Generally speaking, the LAP-BAND is implanted using laparoscopic surgery techniques, which allows most patients to leave the hospital in less than 24 hours. Most return to work and light activities after about a week, and resume exercise after four to six weeks. These are typical time frames.
Q: FOLLOWING THE SURGERY, WILL I FEEL SICK OR UNCOMFORTABLE?
A: You may experience some discomfort as your body adjusts to the band. The surgeon will prescribe a special liquid and soft-food diet for the first few weeks following your procedure to allow your stomach to heal. If you frequently feel nauseated or sick, it's possible you aren't following the diet rules properly or chewing your food well. Please contact us if this problem persists. Avoid vomiting, as it can stretch the small stomach pouch. It can also force part of the stomach to slip through the band and diminish your LAP-BAND's success.
Q: AFTER SURGERY, WILL I NEED TO HAVE REGULAR CHECK-UPS?
A: You will need regular check-ups to ensure progress and to adjust your band. Your first band adjustment will most likely occur 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. To determine the timing on adjustments, your surgeon will consider:
- weight loss
- food intake
- comfort level when eating
- exercise routine
- the amount of fluid in your band
As a reminder, the band is a tool but it requires the patient's participation to achieve the best results. Think of the band as a belt to hold up your pants. As you lose weight, you need to tighten your belt. The band works in a similar fashion, so don't be afraid if you feel your appetite increasing or find yourself able to eat larger meals. This is not a sign of failure, but rather an indication that you need to come in for a visit and perhaps have your band adjusted.
Q: DOES THE LAP-BAND LIMIT PHYSICAL ACTIVITY?
A: No. Once you have recovered from surgery, you can enjoy physical activities, including aerobics, stretching and strenuous exercise. In fact, once you've healed, it's encouraged.
Q: WHAT DOES A BAND ADJUSTMENT INVOLVE?
A: Adjustments are typically done in an outpatient clinic. The physician or trained medical professional inserts a fine needle through your skin into the access port. Saline is then added or removed. The process usually takes just few minutes and most describe it as painless.
Q: CAN THE BAND BE REMOVED?
A: The LAP-BAND System can be surgically removed, although it is not meant to be. Once removed, the stomach usually returns to its original shape because there was no stomach stapling or cutting when the LAP-BAND was placed. Be aware that removing the band will most likely result in returning to your original weight or gaining more because you will no longer have a tool to create the restriction or satiety.
Q: DO I NEED TO PROTECT THE ACCESS PORT BENEATH MY SKIN?
A: You don't need to do anything to protect or accommodate the access port. It's hidden beneath the skin on the right side of your abdomen. Once your incisions heal, your port site should not feel uncomfortable or limit physical activities. Most likely you will only be aware of your port during LAP-BAND adjustments.
Q: I'VE HEARD THAT THE LAP-BAND SEEMS "TIGHTER" IN THE MORNING. IS THAT TRUE?
A: A "tight" feeling in the morning is common, particularly if your band is tight or newly adjusted. Water content in the body changes throughout the day, which can cause the band to feel more restrictive at times. Additionally, some women report that during menstruation the LAP-BAND feels tighter.
Q: WHAT HAPPENS IF I BECOME PREGNANT?
A: The LAP-BAND is ideal for pregnancy. As you lose weight, it will be easier to become pregnant, in part because your menstrual cycle may become more regular. If you become pregnant, the band can be loosened to allow more nutrition for your baby. After delivery, the band can be tightened so you can resume your weight-loss program.
Q: WHAT IF I BECOME ILL?
A: If your illness makes it necessary to eat more for increased nutrition, your band can be adjusted. This is one of the major advantages of the LAP-BAND. Once you have recovered, the band can be tightened again. Depending on the severity of the illness, if your band cannot be loosened enough, it may need to be removed.
Q: CAN I TAKE MEDICATION?
A: Your LAP-BAND will not prevent you from taking prescribed medication. We recommend the use of capsules, chewable tablets, or liquids formulations. However, if these options are not available for your particular medication(s) we recommend cutting larger tablets in half or dissolving them in water to prevent them from getting stuck in the stomach, which could cause stomach irritation. Discuss your medication regimen with the physician who prescribes your medication.
Q: CAN I GO OUT TO EAT?
A: You can definitely enjoy normal activities such as dining out. But remember, you are in the process of changing your lifestyle and eating habits. If you go out, it's best to order a small meal, such as an appetizer. Eat slowly. Pace yourself to finish when everyone else does. If you are someone's guest, you may want to alert them in advance that you will not be eating much. This can help prevent awkward situations or people urging that you eat more.
Q: CAN I DRINK ALCOHOL?
A: Yes. An occasional glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage will not derail your weight loss efforts. Be aware, however, that alcohol is high in calories and breaks down vitamins. If you drink heavily, it may diminish or negate the LAP-BAND's effectiveness.
Q: WILL I SUFFER FROM CONSTIPATION?
A: You should not experience constipation. A decrease in the volume of your stools is normal, because you will be decreasing your food intake and eating less fiber. If difficulties arise, please get in touch with us immediately. And don't forget to drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day.