After this laparoscopic obesity surgery, patients can return home within 24 hours. You may experience some soreness around the incision site and access port, but this usually subsides on its own within a few days. Patients are encouraged to get up and walk around as soon and as often as they feel comfortable to help recover strength and prevent blood clots. Most patients can return to work after one week, and may begin an exercise program after four to six weeks.
Patients must follow certain dietary guidelines after surgery in order to help the stomach heal and adjust to its new size. Only small amounts of clear liquid should be consumed for the first few days, before then incorporating other liquids such as clear broth or soup, skim milk or fruit juice during the next one to two weeks. Three to four weeks after surgery, patients can begin consuming pureed foods and then soft foods. Your doctor will advise you as to which foods are best to eat throughout the healing process. If you experience nausea or vomiting at any point, you should return to the liquid diet. Vomiting can stretch the new stomach pouch and should be avoided at all costs.
Your doctor may request that you come in for follow-up visits every week or every other week during the first month after surgery. Your first gastric band adjustment is usually made after six weeks, after a thorough evaluation of your pouch and stomach size, as well as your rate of weight loss.
Once the post-op liquid and pureed diet has been completed, patients can begin eating regular foods once again. While the LAP-BAND will help control how much you eat, it is important for patients to make smart choices regarding the type of food they eat. Your doctor may recommend certain foods, such as:
Most patients lose one to two pounds a week after this procedure, which is considered a safe amount for healthy weight loss. Depending on each patient’s individual conditions, the LAP-BAND may be adjusted to increase or decrease the rate of weight loss.
In addition to the significant weight loss achieved with the LAP-BAND procedure, many patients also experience improvement or elimination of obesity-related conditions such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea and more.
Long-term weight loss with LAP-BAND is comparable to the results of other weight loss surgeries, including gastric bypass. Although gastric bypass patients may lose weight faster in the beginning, the overall percentage of weight loss is about the same after five years, while LAP-BAND procedures were able to benefit from a minimally invasive procedure.
The LAP-BAND can be tightened or loosened over time to let more or less food pass through and to regulate each patient's rate of weight loss. As part of the LAP-BAND surgery, an access port is placed under the skin in the abdomen. Saline can then be injected into or removed from the LAP-BAND through the access port at any time in order to prevent or allow food to pass through. Adjustments can also be made to accommodate pregnancy or illness. Thus patients can optimize their weight loss over a period of months or years with no additional surgery, as well as control their weight and maintain long-lasting results.
Although it is intended to be a permanent weight loss solution, the LAP-BAND can be removed, as it does not involve any serious alterations to intestinal organs. Removal can often be performed using the same laparoscopic techniques used to place the band. The stomach usually regains its previous shape and function afterwards. Patients who wish to remove the LAP-BAND should be aware that they may regain some or all of the weight they have lost.
The LAP-BAND procedure involves no stomach cutting or stapling and no gastrointestinal rerouting, as opposed to gastric bypass surgeries such as the Roux-en-Y technique. This significantly lowers the mortality risk during surgery. LAP-BAND patients also experience little to no risk of the nutritional deficiencies, hair loss or "dumping syndrome" associated with other weight loss surgeries. In fact, the LAP-BAND procedure has the lowest complication and mortality rate of any weight loss surgery.
Because the LAP-BAND procedure is minimally invasive, patients generally have:
While the LAP-BAND procedure is considered safer than other weight loss surgeries, there are certain risks associated with any type of surgical procedure. Some of these risks may include:
These risks are considered rare and only occur in a very small number of patients. Patients can minimize these risks by choosing an experienced surgeon to perform their procedure and by strictly adhering to the surgeon’s instructions after the LAP-BAND procedure.
Talk to your doctor today to find out if you qualify for the LAP-BAND procedure. You can also learn more about the LAP-BAND® procedure and see an animation at www.lapband.com.