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. Typically, 50% of excess weight is lost, and the weight loss has been shown to be maintained at 5 years. A weight loss of 2 to 3 pounds a week in the first year after the operation is possible, but one pound a week is more likely. Remember that you should lose weight gradually. Losing weight too fast creates a health risk and can lead to a number of problems.
Doesthe LAP-BAND® system limit any physical activity?
No, the LAP-BAND® does not affect or hamper physical activity including aerobics, stretching and strenuous exercise.
Can the band be removed?
Although the LAP-BAND® is not meant to be removed, it can be. In some cases this can be done laparoscopically. The stomach generally returns to its original shape once the band is removed. After the removal, though, you may soon go back up to your original weight or even gain more.
Will I need plastic surgery for the surplus skin when I have lost a lot of weight?
That is not always the case. As a rule, plastic surgery will not be considered for at least a year or two after the operation. Sometimes the skin will mold itself around the new body tissue. You should give the skin the time it needs to adjust before you decide to have more surgery.
Will I feel hungry or deprived with the LAP-BAND® system?
The LAP-BAND® System 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 your digestive system.
What about pregnancy?
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 the pregnancy, the band may be made tighter again, and you can resume losing weight.
Will I need to take vitamin supplements?
You may. It's possible you may not get enough vitamins from three small meals a day. At your regular check-ups, your specialist will evaluate whether you are getting enough vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron.
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 stoma and make you sick. You should always ask the doctor who prescribes the drugs about this.
Can I eat anything in moderation?
After your stomach has healed, you may eat most 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 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 band may be greatly reduced or cancelled.
What are the health risks of obesity?
Obesity is associated with about 112,000 deaths each year in the United States. In fact, it is more harmful to your health than smoking and alcohol abuse. In addition, obesity is a major risk factor for serious medical conditions, such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Heart disease
- Breathing difficulties
- Joint problems
But remember, by losing weight, you can improve, prevent, or lower your risk for these weight-related health conditions.
What’s the difference between being overweight and being obese?
It’s important to understand the difference between being overweight and being obese. Being obese is not the same as being overweight, which means simply weighing more than the set standard for a particular height. The excess weight could be muscle, bone, fat, or body water. Typically, a BMI of 25 to 30 is considered overweight, a BMI ranging from 30 to 40 is obese, and a BMI of more than 40 is considered morbidly obese. In addition to this, waist circumference of over 41” for women and 48” for men can also be an indicator of obesity.
Why don’t diets work for me?
It’s not just you. In most cases of obesity, just dieting — even strict dieting — doesn’t produce long-lasting weight loss. Studies show that obese patients using diets, exercise programs, or weight loss medications lose approximately 10% of their body weight, but tend to regain two-thirds within one year — and most of the weight within five years. This repeated weight change can actually make it harder to lose weight in the future. When other methods have failed, severely overweight patients may want to consider weight loss surgery with the LAP-BAND® System. Significant long-term weight loss can improve overall wellness and obesity-related health conditions, and greatly enhance everyday life.
What are the benefits of the LAP-BAND® System vs. other types of weight loss surgery?
The biggest difference you’ll find is that unlike gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy, the LAP-BAND® System doesn’t involve any cutting or stapling of the stomach, or intestinal rerouting. The LAP-BAND® procedure is a laparoscopic surgery (sometimes referred to as “band-aid” surgery for its tiny incisions), it can help you achieve steady, healthy and safer weight loss, with a shorter recovery time than other stapling procedures, and comparable weight loss over time.
How do the weight-loss results with the LAP-BAND® system compare to thosewith the gastric bypass?
Surgeons have reported that gastric bypass patients lose weight faster in the first year after surgery although recent studies show that gastric bypass patients loose a greater amount of bone mass and lean muscle mass than patients who have the LAP-BAND® System, requiring additional supplements to be taken by gastric bypass patients. At three years, however, many LAP-BAND® System patients have achieved weight loss comparable to that of gastric bypass patients. 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.
What is the difference between LAP-BAND® and other gastric banding devices?
The first gastric banding system available in the U.S., the LAP-BAND® System was originally approved in 2001. In continuing to lead the field with technological advancements, the third generation LAP-BAND AP® System was FDA approved in 2006. Featuring proprietary OMNIFORM™ technology, more band sizes and access port sizes than other devices. It conforms to fit your body, allowing for secure placement and limiting the risk of leaks due to creases or folds. No other FDA-approved gastric banding device has the experience or long-standing safety record of the LAP-BAND® System. Tested and trusted, it remains the #1 selling gastric band available — with over 550,000 devices sold worldwide.
How is the LAP-BAND® System adjusted?
Adjustments are usually done in an outpatient clinic or office. Occasionally your surgeon may use an X-ray to make adjustments. This is done there so the access port can be clearly seen. When X-rays are used, your reproductive organs should be shielded. A fine needle is passed through the skin into the access port to add or subtract saline. Local anesthesia may or may not be needed. The adjustment process most often takes only a few minutes and most patients say it is nearly painless and an important factor in continuing to progress and maintain weight loss.
What is laparoscopic surgery?
Laparoscopic surgery, sometimes referred to as “band-aid” surgery, is a minimally invasive surgical technique in which surgery is performed using slender surgical instruments, passed through a few small incisions in the abdomen. This creates less tissue damage than large, open surgical procedures. After laparoscopic surgery, patients tend to have or report much less pain, fewer wound complications, and shorter hospital stays. Patients also recover faster and are able to resume normal activities sooner.
What is the recovery time for LAP-BAND® surgery?
Usually it takes usually about a week before you can return to your normal activities.
How safe is the LAP-BAND® procedure?
According to several studies, adjustable gastric banding is the safest weight loss surgery currently available in the United States.1 The LAP-BAND® System surgery is considered one of the least invasive bariatric procedures and is typically performed laparoscopically.
Can I still eat anything I want?
You may eat most foods that don’t cause you discomfort. However, because you have a smaller stomach area with the LAP-BAND® System, you will only be able to eat smaller amounts. For this reason, it is important to include foods full of essential vitamins and nutrients. Eating foods high in sugar or fat and drinking liquids full of “empty” calories may greatly reduce your weight loss results.
What about drinking alcohol or going out to eat?
The LAP-BAND® System does require a commitment to changing your lifestyle. But that doesn’t mean taking the fun out of your life. An occasional glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage is not considered harmful to weight loss. However, alcohol has a high number of “empty” calories and breaks down vitamins.
You can also still enjoy dining out. However, you may wish to order a smaller amount of food, such as a healthy appetizer or child’s serving. If an entrée looks good, you might ask your server to only serve you half, and to wrap the rest for a later meal.
Ask your surgeon for a LAP-BAND® System Patient Card, included in our Post-Op Patient Packet. This card may be helpful in restaurants (or in unrelated medical emergencies) as it explains what the LAP-BAND® System is and states that you cannot eat very much.
Will my insurance cover this procedure?
The procedure is covered by many insurance companies. Contact 1-800-GET-THIN for your FREE insurance verification.
How can I make my insurance company understand my medical need for this procedure?
Most insurance companies require a Letter of Medical Necessity from your doctor, which offers professional documentation of your medical qualifications for the LAP-BAND® System procedure.
In addition, you may be able to improve your chances of being approved for LAP-BAND® System weight loss surgery insurance by creating your own document or package listing your previous weight loss attempts (undertaken on your own or with medical supervision) and the results of each. This adds your own personal experience to your doctor’s professional recommendation.
Can I attend more than one seminar?
Certainly. You are encouraged to attend as many seminars as you feel necessary to find the right surgeon for you. Seminars can help you learn more about the LAP-BAND® System, as well as the experience of the surgeon and his team. They also give you a chance to get a feel for the surgeon’s patient style and help you decide if it’s the right fit for you and your long-term weight loss journey.
How can I learn more about a specific LAP-BAND® System surgeon – credentials, experience, training?
To be certified to perform LAP-BAND® System surgery, all surgeons must attend a two-day specialized course to learn about the device and procedure. In addition, they must be advanced laparoscopic surgeons before even attending a LAP-BAND® System Certification Workshop. After this workshop, precertified surgeons are then supervised, one-on-one, by an experienced LAP-BAND® System surgeon for their first few cases to acquire practical skill in performing the procedure.
What’s special about LAP-BAND® certified surgeons?
To be certified to perform LAP-BAND® System surgery, all surgeons must attend a two-day specialized course to learn about the device and procedure. In addition, they must be advanced laparoscopic surgeons before even attending a LAP-BAND® System Certification Workshop. After this workshop, pre-certified surgeons are then supervised, one-on-one, by an experienced LAP-BAND® System surgeon for their first few cases. This helps them to acquire practical skill in performing the procedure.
How often will I need to see my surgeon after having the LAP-BAND® System procedure?
Checkups with your doctor are a normal and very important part of the LAP-BAND® System follow-up. Many surgeons see their patients weekly or biweekly during the first month and every 4 to 12 weeks for the first year. Adjustments may be performed during some of these visits. It’s typical for follow-up visits to be scheduled every 3 to 6 months during the second and third year, depending on the individual case.
Why do I have to start a diet before I have LAP-BAND® surgery?
Eating smart is the key to your weight loss success with the LAP-BAND® System. Starting a pre-op diet isn’t a strict requirement, but it can help prepare your body for surgery. In addition to this, learning to shop for and prepare the right foods is a great way to help you build momentum towards the new lifestyle you’re creating for yourself.
How does keeping a food journal help me before having LAP-BAND® System surgery?
Writing about your food choices can help you discover more about your eating habits. Then share these insights with the dietitian or nutritionist on your healthcare team, to help you make the most of your weight loss plan. Sign up for My LAP-BAND® Journey to take advantage of our weight loss tools, including our online Food Diary.
Why is it important to talk to my family and friends before surgery?
Emotional support from your loved ones is vital to your success with the LAP-BAND® System. Friends and family will no doubt want to help as much as they can. So it’s important to help them understand the procedure and the steps you’re taking. The more they understand, the more supportive they can be.
How will I get the tests I need before surgery?
Your surgeon and the rest of your healthcare team will explain all of the necessary tests to you, and arrange for you to have them. That’s part of the TOTAL CARE™ you’ll receive from your surgeon and the LAP-BAND® System support team.
Will I be sick a lot after my LAP-BAND® procedure?
Feeling nauseated or sick on a regular basis may mean you need to follow your new LAP-BAND® System diet rules more strictly – such as sticking to a liquid diet immediately following surgery or, chewing your food more thoroughly if you’re on solid foods. However, feeling sick could indicate a problem with the placement of the band — so contact your doctor if this occurs regularly.
Remember to chew your food slowly and thoroughly, as vomiting or regurgitation can cause your stomach pouch to stretch, or lead to band slippage. This can reduce the success of the operation or require an adjustment to remove some of the band’s fluid content. In rare cases, it might require another operation.
Will I be in much pain after LAP-BAND® surgery?
After your surgery, you may feel some mild pain around the incision sites. This would most likely be under the skin where the access port for your LAP-BAND® System is placed. Your doctor may give you something to help with it.
You may also experience some pain and discomfort in your joints and shoulders. This can be caused by the surgical gas used to inflate the abdomen during your procedure. You should not be alarmed. While the gas can sometimes linger in the body, you may help it dissipate by walking around after your surgery.
Can I take aspirin for mild post-surgical pain?
After your LAP-BAND® surgery, always talk to your surgeon before taking any over-the-counter or prescription medications. Your surgeon may tell you to avoid taking aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers, because these may irritate the stomach or cause bleeding.
If you feel your pain requires medication to manage it, talk to your surgeon. He or she may be able to prescribe something.
Do I have to be careful with the access port underneath my skin?
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.
Am I allowed to have my LAP-BAND® System loosened for a special occasion?
While it might seem tempting, your LAP-BAND® System should never be loosened to eat a big meal at a special occasion. However, the LAP-BAND® System can be loosened for medical reasons, including pregnancy, when more nutritional intake is necessary.
Why are diet and exercise important after having the LAP-BAND® System procedure?
While weight loss surgery isn’t a quick fix, the LAP-BAND® System is a powerful tool that can help you lose weight. Your motivation and commitment to your new lifestyle are the real keys to your success. Working with a nutritionist or exercise consultant and following their advice after surgery is vital to achieving your weight loss goals. Even more importantly, it’s how you’ll help improve your health and wellness overall.
How many LAP-BAND® System adjustments are suggested?
The LAP-BAND® System is a long-term weight loss management program. The number and frequency of your adjustments depend on your individual case and considerations, such as how well you are healing post-surgery, and how you are feeling during and after your meals. Many patients have between five and eight adjustments within the first year after surgery. Others may only require a few to achieve their desired weight loss results. Remember: you need to listen to your LAP-BAND® and work with your bariatric team to achieve the best results.
How will I know when I need additional LAP-BAND® System adjustments?
The most common reason for adjustments are:
- You are not able to eat much of anything without experiencing discomfort, reflux (heartburn), or vomiting. Your band may be too tight (you may be in the Red Zone).
- You are able to eat without restriction. Your band may be too loose (you may be in the Yellow Zone).
- You are not losing weight. Your band may be too loose (Yellow Zone) or too tight (Red Zone) — meaning you may be able to eat too much or can only tolerate a liquid diet.
It’s important you listen to your LAP-BAND® and work with your bariatric team to achieve your desired weight loss. Learn more about the Green Zone .
What can I eat after an adjustment?
If your surgeon adds fluid to your LAP-BAND® System during your adjustment, go back to liquids like clear soup for the first day or so. Then, like your early days after surgery, you can work your way back to solid foods over the next few days.
How is the LAP-BAND® System adjusted?
Adjustments are often carried out in the X-ray department. They are done there so the access port can be clearly seen. When X-rays are used, your reproductive organs should be shielded. Sometimes adjustments can be done in an outpatient clinic or office, and local anesthesia may or may not be needed. A fine needle is passed through the skin into the access port to add or subtract saline. This process most often takes only a few minutes and most patients say it is nearly painless.