LAP BAND at 400 lbs?

Olivia L.
on 1/11/09 2:07 am
 hello! im 18 and i weigh 400lbs, although i am 6 feet tall, so i look like i weigh alot less than i do. 
so my height is why i decided to not get gastric bypass and go for the band. I have yet to be approved so i just wanted to get some feedback from people who have been at my weight with the band. 
Did you have issues eating like you did before the band?
What was the pain like post op?
Were you frustrated that the weight didn't come off as fast as the bypass patients?

Anything you can think of i would appriciate some advice or some answers to my questions!


p.s. read my blog if you want to see how weird i am haha 
Cheri H.
on 1/11/09 6:33 am - Brampton, Canada
Hi there...

I'm pre op so I'm by no means an expert (or even close to one...haha).  But with BMI's over 50 the lap band I believe will fail in a good lot of cases (meaning failure to lose at least 50% of excess of cases).  That being said I guess it does have some success too - so you could be a lucky one.

Haveyou looked at all ofyour options for surgery - for example the DS?  DS is shown to have the highest % of weight lost for people with BMI's over 50 and the most likeliehood of keeping off the weight.  It is available lap - so it's not too much more invasive - and the post operative life (especially when you're at goal) is much more tolerable than any ofthe other surgeries (ie you can eat much more normally without any guilt). I believe it is harder to get insurance approval but there are a tonne of people on the DS board that can help you with that.

Anyway, just thought I'd say hi!!!! And give some 2 cents.
Cheri                                                                                                              I the DS!

 I had the Duodenal Switch!  Do yourself a favour and check out - especially if your BMI is over 50!

HW: 426/SW: 421/CW: 165/ GW: 150           Current BMI is 26.6!         
on 1/11/09 6:44 am - Temple, TX
I am a post op rny, who started at 349.  What ever surgery you get you will have to live with.  What I advize people is to take invintory of their habits.  Then look at the surgeries and see what is doable for you.  I am not a big fan of the band, just because I know too many people that went through it and then had the rny or ds. Also many times there are complications with the revision because of scar tissue or adhesions.

What ever you do choose wisely and try to get it right on the first go round.  Lap band is not less invasive, they insert a forign object into the body.  That is medically speacking, I don't want to start any surgery wars here. 

You will live with the success or failure 24/7.  Every tool can work if you do the work.

Good luck,
on 1/11/09 6:59 am - Overland Park, KS
I was banded on Nov.24th, 2008.  I am 5 ft 2 inches tall and started my pre-surgery diet at 320 pounds.  Seven weeks post surgery I am now down to 285.  I chose lap band because of the price (my insurance did not pay) and the fact that it can be adjusted.  I was concerned about the malapsorption aspect of the bypass surgery and the permanent re-routing of the internal organs. I was also a little shy of telling others I had had surgery and thought the slower weight loss and quicker recovery time was easier to explain to others, especially co-workers.  Lap band was a good choice for me, but may not be the surgery for you.  Bypass may be the better choice.  You have to make your own decision, but I will tell you that there are other people with high BMI's having the lap band.  In my support group yesterday, I met two people who started their journey at over 600 pounds.  Both had lost around 200 pounds so far.

Whatever surgery you have, I would encourage you to do as much emotional work as you can before surgery to help with you new lifestyle.  When the food is gone, you will begin to experience many emotions that the food has helped you to suppress.  I began seeing a counselor 2years ago and am currently in eating disorder group therapy.  My group is mixed with over eaters, bingers, restrictors and purgers.  When I started the group, I did not think I belonged, but have come to realize that many of the same emotions that make the other women restrict or purge are the same emotions that make me want to binge.  I have learned allot about myself in that group and have gained the support to finally change my eating behavior for good.  Without these lessons, I'm afraid I would not be able to stick to my food plan.  I also began attending support groups sessions and nutritional classes at my surgery hospital.  I did this for 3 months before surgery and feel I was very prepared for life after surgery.  You will also need someone in your life to be a support to you.  Most people will not understand what you are going through.  My mother, who is overweight and has not had surgery, has been my strongest support.  There have been nights that I have felt so low that I found it difficult to talk.  I just needed to hear her voice on the phone reassuring me.  There are other times when I need to talk, talk, talk about my struggles.  Most people can not handle this, but my mom has agreed to do it.

To answer your questions, yes I do miss eating the way I used to.  I had to go through 6 weeks of  a liquid and mushy food diet during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.  It is difficult to find ways to socialize with others when you can't eat very much.  I did go to holiday parties and gatherings.  I didn't eat and when I felt uncomfortable, I left early.  At restaurants, I found that I could eat soup.  I just had to eat around the chunks.  If I thought I couldn't handle eating soup when others were eating my favorite foods, I did not go.  I had family support during family dinners, but still had to sit and watch everyone else eat.  However, the freedom I am starting to feel now that I have made it 7 weeks post surgery is invaluable.  I am finally beginning to feel free from the pull that food has over my life.  I'm beginning to make better choices for myself both with food and in other areas of my life.  I'm starting to feel healthy and am looking forward to the future.  I wouldn't do anything differently, but I also know that if I wasn't ready for this change emotionally, things would be different.

The pain after surgery was mostly in the muscles of my stomach and torso.  It felt like I had done 1 million sit ups.  With the pain medicine, I could make myself comfortable by laying in a recliner with a small pillow behind my back.  This pain only lasted a few days.  After that, I was only sore when I needed to use those muscles.  (Sitting up to get out of bed, coughing, etc.)  This lasted for about 2 weeks.  I am a teacher and was back at work after 7 days, feeling no pain from standing all day.  I was weak because of the liquid diet, but that got better over time.

To answer your question about being frustrated with slower weight loss, I'd have to say I was frustrated right after surgery.  I actually gained 5 pounds the first 3 days after surgery and my caloric intake was about 500 cal a day.  (I later increased my caloric intake.)  I was told everyone gains a little weight during surgery due to all of the fluids they fill you with.  I lost that weight in about a week.  At the beginning, there were some weeks that I would lose 1 pound and some where I would lose 8.  I was told to not expect must weight loss until the band was tightened.  You body needs time to heal.  I may have been frustrated then, but I am happy now.  People are beginning to notice the difference and I feel very healthy.  I am also very confident that I will continue to lose weight.  When the scale doesn't say what I want, I know that the next week it will.  It's all about the journey.

You have a big decision to make.  I hope this information helped.  I would encourage you to seek information from others as well.  Preparation makes all the difference.

Progress....not perfection.    
Kristina M.
on 1/11/09 8:03 am - Macon, GA
Hi OmLaw.  I was 364 lbs when I had my lap band July 3, 08.  For me it was the only option.  I did not feel comfortable with any of the other surgical options.  I have lost right at 50 lbs in six months.  That was my goal so I am pleased with my progress for the most part.  I say for the most part because even though I am meeting my goals, I would be lying if I said I didn't get frustrated that I can't lose as fast as other people.  BUT...that is the surgery I chose and even at 50 lbs gone I am very happy and feeling more healthy with every pound gone.  This decision is yours and NO ONE elses.  Make the decision that makes you MOST comfortable and the success will be better.  

In regards to pain I had very little.  I was back to work in 4 weeks but had I not had such good benefits at work and had to go back to work I probably could have gone back in two or three weeks.  Gas is the worst pain, but that goes away in a week or so. 

If you ever want to talk just message me.  Good luck.

(deactivated member)
on 1/11/09 8:07 am - San Antonio, TX
Its a very personal decision, and being as young as you are I can understand why you'd hesitate to do anything more drastic than the lap-band. Although you weigh 400lbs, your BMI is not super high and I don't think the lap-band is a bad choice for you. You still have that youthful metabolism and you haven't degraded your joints and everything, you know? You are likely to be able to be very active as you lose weight and that is a big advantage for you. Furthermore, as young as you are, I would hesitate to advise a life-long malabsorption at this point. If, heaven-forbid, the lap band doesn't work for you, a conversion is still possible, but I'd go with the least invasive choice first in your case. Everyone is different and generally I advise BMI over 50 people to reconsider the band, but personally I think you made a smart decision.

I would recommend posting in the Lap-band forum to get more responses to your questions, because there are very few banders in here. We are mostly RNY with a few DS and VSG thrown in. I think you are making a good choice, and kudos.
on 1/11/09 11:43 am - Auburn, WA
VSG on 11/19/08 with

Have you considered VSG?  Like the band, it is a purely restrictive procedure (no intestinal revision), but there's no issues related to device rejection, failure, deteriorazation, slippage, etc nor the long term issues with fills/unfills.  Additionally, the portion of the stomach that is removed is responsible for ghrelin production (the hunger hormone).

I opted for VSG with a starting weight of 404 and BMI of 65.2.  Since 10/01/2008 I have lost 76 pounds and dropped 12.3 BMI points.  If you're interested in learning more about VSG, send me a PM and/or read my profile. 

on 1/11/09 2:37 pm - Las Vegas, NV
Personally, I think the band is a terrible choice for anyone much over 45 bmi.

I had the band. Due to mechanical failure it stopped working for me  when I went from 440lbs to 270lbs. I spent the next 7 years slowly regaining the weight.

You need to seriously look at the statistics - what is the regain for people with the band, what is the 'success' rate. If 50% EWL is considered successful and maybe you would look great at 200lbs, would you be happy at 300? I sure wouldn't.

Almost 4 years ago, I was revised from the band and revised from constant issues with vomiting when 'good' foods like protein got stuck, while 'bad foods' like ice cream could slip through... I was revised from constant hunger even when I couldn't eat a bite more., never feeling satisfied. I was revised to the DS. I have since lost 284lbs and have been keeping it off. In fact, I am still slowly losing. My range now is from 156-162... very normal. I wear size 8-10.

Do your research...I think the band is a huge lesson in frustration for someone with a very high bmi. Why not keep an open mind and see what surgeries work best for the long haul. For me, it's been the DS hands down.

Jill - revision - band to DS 3/10/05 Dr. Baltasar, Spain
440/140/149  hw/cw/gw - 5'5" -300lbs -- bmi 73.2 to 24.8 :) GOAL MET 10/26/10!!.... Even made 140 September 2012. Been ranging 4-6lbs from 144-146 since then. Back to 140 December 2012, hoping to see it again after I feel better and start working out. 

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