|LAP-BAND System Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will I be sick a lot after the operation?
A: The LAP-BAND ® System limits food intake. If you feel nauseated or sick on a regular basis, it may mean that you are not chewing your food well enough or that you are not following the diet rules properly. However, it could also mean that there is a problem with the placement of the band, so contact your doctor if this problem persists. Vomiting should be avoided as much as possible as it can cause the small stomach pouch to stretch.It can also lead to slippage of part of the stomach through the band and reduce the success of the operation. In some cases, it can require another operation.
Q: How long will it take to recover after surgery?
A: If LAP-BAND ® System surgery is performed laparoscopically, patients typically spend less than 24 hours in the hospital. It takes most patients about a week to return to work and a month to six weeks to resume exercising. In the case of open surgery or if there are complications, recovery may take longer.
Q: How much weight will I lose?
A: Weight-loss results vary from patient to patient, and the amount of weight you lose depends on several things. The LAP-BAND ® System needs to be in the right position, and you need to be committed to your new lifestyle and 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 2 to 3 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.
Q: How do the weight-loss results with the LAP-BAND ® System compare to those with the gastric bypass?
A: Surgeons have reported that gastric bypass patients lose weight faster in the first year. At five years, however, many LAP-BAND ® System 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.
Q: Does the LAP-BAND ® require frequent visits to my doctor after surgery?
A: Check-ups 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 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.
Q: Does the LAP-BAND ® System limit any physical activity?
A: The LAP-BAND ® System does not hamper physical activity including aerobics, stretching and strenuous exercise.
Q: How is the band adjusted?
A: 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 mayor 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.
Q: Do I have to be careful with the access port just underneath my skin?
A: There are no restrictions based on the access port. It is placed under the skin in the abdominal wall, and 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.
Q: Can the band be removed?
A: Although the LAP-BAND ® System is not meant to be removed, it can be, in some cases laparoscopically. 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.
Q: Will I need plastic surgery for the surplus skin when I have lost a lot of weight?
A: 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 as,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.
Q: Is it true that the LAP-BAND® System seems “tighter” in the morning?
A: This is a fairly common feeling, especially for people with bands that are tight or just after an adjustment. During the day the water content in the body changes and this may cause the band to feel“tighter” some of the time. Some women have also noticed that the LAP-BAND ® System feels tighter during menstruation.
Q: Will I feel hungry or deprived with the LAP-BAND ® System?
A: The LAP-BAND ® System 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 ® System is a tool to help you change your eating habits.
Q: What will happen if I become ill?
A: One of the major advantages of the LAP-BAND ® System 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 tightened by increasing the amount of saline. If the band cannot be loosened enough, it may have to be removed.
Q: What about pregnancy?
A: 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 pregnancy, the band may be made tighter again and you can resume losing weight.
Q: Will I need to take vitamin supplements?
A: You may. It’s possible to 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. Your surgeon may advise you to take supplements.
Q: What about other medication?
A: You should be able to take prescribed medication, though 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. Always ask the doctor who prescribes the drugs about this. Your 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.
Q: What if I go out to eat?
A: Order only a small amount of food, such as an appetizer. Eat slowly. Finish at the same time as your table companions. You might want to let your host or hostess know in advance that you cannot eat very much.
Q: What about alcohol?
A: Alcohol has a high number of calories and breaks down vitamins. An occasional glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage,though, is not considered harmful to weight loss.
Q: Can I eat anything in moderation?
A: 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 recommended in the nutrition section of this booklet and as 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 LAP-BAND ® System may be greatly reduced or even cancelled.
Q: Will I suffer from constipation?
A: There may be some reduction in the volume of your stools, which is normal after a decrease in food intake because you eat less fiber. This should not cause you severe problems. If difficulties do arise, check with your doctor. He or she may suggest you take a mild laxative and drink plenty of water for a while. Your needs will vary, but you should drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day.
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