Surgical Weight Loss Frequently Asked Questions

How much weight will I lose?

The amount of weight you may lose depends on several things. The band needs to be in the right position. And you need to be committed to your new lifestyle and eating habits. In the U.S. clinical trial, 2% of patients gained some weight. 5% neither gained, nor lost weight. 61% of the patients lost at least 25% of their excess weight. 52% of the patients lost at least 33% of their excess weight. 22% lost at least 50% of their excess weight, and 10% lost at least 75% of their excess weight within 1 year after band placement. Of note is that at the time this trial was performed, several patients had no or only a few adjustments of the band.

You should lose weight gradually. Losing weight too fast creates a health risk and can lead to a number of problems. Nausea and vomiting are only the most minor examples. 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 18 months after the operation, weekly weight loss is usually less. Remember that your main goal is to have a weight loss that prevents, improves, or resolves health problems connected with severe obesity. One final point: It is important that you ask your surgeon all the questions you may have about obesity surgery and the Lap-Band System. It is also essential that you follow his advice.

Return to top

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.

Return to top

Will I be sick a lot after the operation?

The Lap-Band System limits food intake. If you feel nauseated or sick on a regular basis, it may mean you are not chewing your food well. It could also mean you are not following the diet rules properly. Another reason you would feel sick may be that there is a problem with the placement of the band. So you should contact your doctor. Vomiting should be avoided as much as possible. It can cause the small stomach pouch to stretch. It can also lead to slippage of part of the stomach through the band. That would reduce the success of the operation. In some cases, it would also require another operation.

Return to top

What about alcohol?

Some alcoholic beverages have a high number of calories. Alcohol also breaks down vitamins. An occasional glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage is not considered harmful to weight loss.

Return to top

What if I go out to eat?

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.

Return to top

Will I suffer from constipation?

There may be some reduction in the volume of your stools. That’s normal after a decrease in food intake, because you eat less fiber. This should not cause severe problems. If difficulties do arise, check with your doctor. He may suggest you take a mild laxative and drink plenty of water for a while. Drinking plenty of water is a good idea, anyway. Your needs will vary, but you should drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day.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. Your surgeon may advise you to take supplements.

Return to top

What about other medication?

You should be able to take prescribed medication. You may need to use capsules or break big tablets in half or dissolve them in water so they do not get stuck in the stomach pouch and make you sick. You should always ask the doctor who prescribes the drugs about this and if he or she is unclear they should contact your surgeon. Your surgeon may tell you to avoid taking aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers. That’s because they may irritate the stomach lining. The problems these drugs may cause could mean the band would need to be removed.

Return to top

Can the band be removed?

Although the Lap-Band System is not meant to be removed, it can be. In most cases this can be done laparoscopically. Surgeons report that the stomach generally returns to its original shape once the band is removed. After the removal, though, you may gain weight again. This should be discussed with your surgeon. One alternative is to loosen the band without removing it to see whether you gain weight over a moderate amount of time.

Return to top

Will I need other surgeries?

Unlike other forms of bariatric surgery, we do not routinely remove the gall bladder since the incidence of gallstones is significantly lower than after malabsorption-type bariatric surgery (stomach stapling techniques). However, some patients with pre-existing gallstones may require cholecystectomy. Also, some patients with large hiatal hernias may require repair at the time of the Band placement.

Return to top

How is the band adjusted?

Adjustments may be carried out in the surgeon’s office or the X-ray department. X-ray may be needed so the reservoir can be clearly seen. When X-rays are used, your reproductive organs should be shielded. Local anesthesia may or may not be needed. A fine needle is passed through the skin into the reservoir to add or subtract saline. This process most often takes only a few minutes. Most patients say it is nearly painless.

Return to top

What will happen if I become ill?

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. This can be done by removing saline from it. When you have recovered from your illness and want to lose weight again, the band can be tightened. This can be done by increasing the amount of saline. If the band cannot be loosened enough, it may have to be removed, but this is unusual.

Return to top

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. Then you can go back to losing weight. This is a significant advantage of the Lap-Band system over stomach stapling types of surgery.

Return to top

To schedule a consultation, contact us today 561-627-4107