Will I be sick a lot after the operation?
The Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding 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 and in some cases, it would also require another operation.
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 or she 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.
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 stoma and make you sick. You should always ask the doctor who prescribes the drugs about this. 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. The problems these drugs may cause could mean the band would need to be removed.
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.
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.
What about alcohol?
Alcohol has a high number of calories. It also breaks down vitamins. An occasional glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage, though, is not considered harmful to weight loss.
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.
What will happen if I become ill?
One of the major advantages of the Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding 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. This process most often takes only a few minutes and most patients say it is nearly painless.
When do I need an adjustment?
Everyone requires a different restriction level and adjustment schedule for optimal results. There are several indicators that may alert you to schedule an appointment. Some of these include: no weight loss for more than three weeks, increased appetite, feeling hungry less than four hours after eating a meal, ability to eat more food during a meal than usual, increased snacking, and ability to eat foods that you were unable to eat before (i.e. white breads, fibrous vegetables). If you are several years post-op, you may still require an adjustment. Long-term follow-up is the key to success!
Can I be over-adjusted? If so, how will I know I am?
Yes, you can have too much saline in your band. Tighter is not always better! Indicators that you may be over-adjusted include: difficulty swallowing food or saliva, regurgitation, waking up at night coughing or vomiting and frequent reflux/heartburn. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your surgeon’s office immediately.
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 US clinical trial, 2% of patients gained some weight; 5% neither gain nor lost weight (+5%); 61% of the patients lost at least 25% of their excess weight; 22% lost at least 50% of their excess weight; and 10% lost at least 75% of their excess weight. 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.