Weight Loss Surgery Questions
Having questions is expected when you're considering the Lap Band procedure, and you can find some answers here. But remember: the best possible resource for answers to your questions about obesity surgery and Lap Band is your surgeon. It's important that you ask, and it's essential that you follow his or her advice.
Weight-loss results vary from patient to patient, and the amount of weight you lose depends on several things. The Lap Band needs to be in the right position, and you need to be committed to your new lifestyle and healthy eating habits. Obesity surgery is not a miracle cure, and the pounds won't come off by themselves. It is very important to set achievable weight-loss goals from the beginning. A weight-loss of two to three pounds a week in the first year after the operation is possible, but one pound a week is more likely. Twelve to eighteen months after the operation, weekly weight-loss is usually less.
Remember that you should lose weight gradually. Losing weight too quickly creates a health risk and can lead to a number of problems. The main goal is to have weight-loss that prevents, improves, or resolves health problems connected with severe obesity.
Many surgeons have reported that gastric bypass patients lose weight faster in the first year. At five years, however, many Lap Band patients have achieved weight-loss comparable to that of gastric bypass patients. 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.
The Lap Band is ten times safer than gastric bypass and achieves nearly identical long-term weight-loss. The Lap Band, unlike gastric bypass, is also completely reversible and adjustable. Several studies have concluded that recovery time and post-surgical complications are less with gastric banding than with gastric bypass. Furthermore, the gastric bypass involves a very complex surgery requiring both cutting and re-routing of internal organs and carries a much higher price tag. Please visit our detailed comparison for more information comparing the two bariatric weight-loss procedures.
Although the Lap Band is not meant to be removed, it can be. Surgeons report that 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. You may also gain more.
The Lap Band makes 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 the digestive system. After a small meal, the amount of which varies from person to person, you should feel full. If you follow the nutrition guidelines when you choose your food and then chew it well, you should not feel hungry or deprived. Remember that the Lap Band is a tool to help you change your eating habits.
The Lap Band does not hamper physical activity including aerobics, stretching and strenuous exercise.
The Lap Band is FDA approved if you are at least 18 years of age, have a BMI of at least 30, have a history of being overweight and made some attempts at weight-loss. If you meet these general criteria, you may be qualified to have the Lap Band procedure performed at one of our surgery centers. While a medical evaluation is still required, you can try our BMI Calculator to learn what general category applies to your current weight and height. You can also give us a call today at 1-800-324-2694 to speak with an experienced specialist regarding your BMI and any relating circumstances relating to other important factors such as age, weight and insurance coverage.
Our insurance department is skilled in verifying specific bariatric benefits with hundreds of providers. True Results is dedicated and committed to getting your benefits verified quickly and accurately so you have all the information you need to understand your benefits. We will explain in detail what your insurance carrier will cover and what requirements must be met in order for coverage to be paid by your insurance company at the time of your appointment. To be considered for coverage, your insurance company may require documentation regarding your medical history and any weight-related health problems you might be experiencing. In certain circumstances, a letter of medical necessity is required from your primary care physician. See our affordability section for more details or call 1-800-324-2694.
It is important to choose a surgeon who is qualified to perform your procedure and who has a comprehensive program for post-operative follow-up. Here are some suggested criteria to look for: weight-loss (bariatric) surgery experience, Board certification (The American Board of Surgery), fellowships (The American College of Surgeons), and memberships (The American Society for Bariatric Surgery). It is also important to find a program with surgical facilities, supplies, and equipment specific to the needs of weight-loss surgery patients, as well as a comprehensive team of staff and procedures to address weight-related health conditions, dietary instruction, exercise training, nursing care, and psychological counseling (if necessary). And, critical to your success, a program that emphasizes long-term care and goals.
It is our policy to follow surgeon selection and training guidelines established by The American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS) and Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES). The Lap Band surgeon certification requires that the surgeon have advanced laparoscopic and bariatric (weight-loss) surgery experience. It also demands surgeon commitment and ability to establish and maintain a multidisciplinary bariatric practice that provides long-term support and follow-up and features appropriate hospital facilities; nutrition and exercise counseling; and psychological, general medicine, and radiological support personnel. In addition, Allergan Medical requires that all surgeons complete a Lap Band workshop conducted by the company's professional education team and are proctored (supervised) for initial procedures by experienced surgeons.
If Lap Band surgery is performed laparoscopically, as it most frequently is, patients typically spend less than a day in our surgery facility. You should be up and walking within 45 minutes of your procedure which will help blood flow and circulation. True Results patients typically have the Lap Band procedure in the morning and are able to return home later in the afternoon. Depending on the type of work you do, your medical history, and your doctor's recommendation, you should be ready to return to work comfortably between three to five days and a month to six weeks before you can resume exercising. In the case of open surgery or if there are complications, recovery may take longer.
Check-ups with your doctor are a normal and very important part of Lap Band follow-up. Many surgeons see their patients weekly or biweekly during the first month and every four to twelve weeks for the first year. Adjustments are performed during some of these visits. It is typical for follow-up visits to be scheduled every three to six months during the second and third year, depending on the individual case.
Adjustments are performed without surgery using a thin needle to inject or withdraw saline from the band via the access port. They can usually be done in an office setting and most adjustments take 10 to 15 minutes. Our patients say they are nearly painless.
After your procedure, you will not have any activity restrictions because of the access port. It is placed under the skin (it is not visible) in the abdominal wall, and once the incisions have healed the access port 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 surgeon.
That is not always the case. With the Lap Band, your weight-loss is healthy and gradual so it allows your skin to react more positively to the changes in your body. As a rule, plastic surgery should not be considered for at least a year or two after the operation since sometimes the skin will mold itself around the new body tissue. Give the skin the time it needs to adjust before you decide to have more surgery.
This is a fairly common feeling, especially for patients with bands that are tight to begin with to facilitate maximum weight-loss, or for patients who have just had an adjustment. During the day the water content in the body changes, causing the band to feel tighter some of the time. Some women have also noticed that the Lap Band feels tighter during menstruation.
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 adjusted by increasing the amount of saline
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 adjusted. After pregnancy, the band may be adjusted again and you can resume losing weight.
The Lap Band is a tool that allows individuals to control how much food will satisfy their hunger. While it does not immediately reverse unhealthy eating habits, the gastric band will significantly increase the ability to curb habits that promote weight gain and obesity. The Lap Band provides the means necessary to overcome struggles with weight and significantly improve health and quality of life.
While the Lap Band does not prohibit you from eating most foods, it is important to include foods rich in important vitamins and nutrients - foods such as those recommended by your surgeon and/or dietitian. If you eat foods that contain high amounts of sugar and fat or drink liquids full of empty calories, such as milkshakes, the effect of the Lap Band may be greatly reduced or even cancelled.
Typically, patients find that the majority of their medical problems are either greatly improved or eliminated as a result of having the procedure. Consult with your physician prior to quitting any medications currently prescribed for co-morbidities.
You should be able to take prescribed medication, though you may need to (1) use capsules or (2) break big tablets in half or dissolve them in water so they do not get stuck in the opening created by the band and make you sick, or (3) request liquid forms of your medications. Always ask the doctor who prescribes the drugs for advice before changing how you take your medications. Your Lap Band surgeon may tell you to avoid taking aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers because they may irritate the stomach. The problems these drugs may cause could result in band removal.
Living with the Lap Band requires portion control — not limiting choices. You can order anything off the menu. Just have the server box up half of the order before bringing it to you. Many restaurants have changed their menus to highlight healthier choices, smaller portions and fewer calories — so it is easier than ever to find great-tasting, healthy meals.
Alcohol has a high number of calories and breaks down vitamins so it is not recommended as a healthy food choice. However, an occasional glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage is not necessarily considered harmful to weight-loss.2
As with any surgery, there are specific risks and possible complications associated with the Lap Band procedure. Talk to your doctor to determine if you are a candidate for Lap Band.
1 O'Brien, et al. Lap Band: Outcomes and results. J of Laparoend & Adv Surg Techniques. 2003;13(4):265-270. Clegg A., Colquitt J., et al. The clinical and cost effectiveness of surgery for people with morbid obesity. Health Technology Assessment. 2002;6(12):1-153.
2 Dixon J., Dixon A., O'Brien P. Light to moderate alcohol consumption: Obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Am J Bariatric Medicine. 2002;17(4):11-14.