Life After Gastric Banding


What should I expect after undergoing a lap-band surgery?
The success of adjustable gastric banding procedure depends both upon the band as well as your motivation and commitment to a new lifestyle and eating habits. The estimated weight loss after gastric band surgery is approximately 40 - 60% of one’s excess weight to be achieved over 2 years.

The average gastric band patient loses 1 to 2 pounds (500 grams to a kilogram) per week consistently, but heavier patients often lose faster in the beginning. This comes to roughly 50 to 100 pounds the first year for most patients.

After surgery, you will need a new nutrition plan. Your surgeon and/or dietitian can help you learn about and get used to the changes in lifestyle and eating habits you need to make. It is very important to follow the eating and drinking instructions beginning immediately after the operation.

Eating after your adjustable gastric lap band surgery means taking tiny bites, and eating very slowly. After a lap-band surgery the stomach will never hold more than 4 to 6 ounces per meal, so making every bite count is essential for healthy and nutritionally rounded weight loss success. You should think of your new stomach as a ‘baby’ stomach. You’ll be drinking protein shakes and re-learning eating skills much the same way as a new baby drinks formula (or breast milk), and slowly adds new foods from blended baby foods to chunkier baby foods.

In general, most patients find they are unable to easily tolerate red meat, pasta, rice, fresh bread and fibrous foods. You will be asked to eat three meals a day with one planned snack, chew your food very well and swallow slowly. You will need to make good food choices and learn to avoid problem foods, such as high-fiber, high-fat, and dry foods, since these are more difficult for the small stomach pouch to digest.

Good food choices include fruit and vegetables, lean protein, some bread and cereal, and some dairy products. Foods that have a concentrated supply of calories with little nutritional value, such as milkshakes, syrups, jam, and pastries, should be avoided as much as possible. You must only drink either no or low caloric beverages and wait at least one hour between eating and drinking.

The first 3 to 4 days following the surgery patients must follow a clear liquid diet. Failure to follow the prescribed diet can cause complications such as band erosion or slippage that require additional surgery.

If you are a regular coffee, tea, or soda drinker you should be aware that no caffeine is permitted for the first three months after surgery. Carbonated beverages; both diet and regular may cause gas, bloating, and an increase in stomach size due to the carbonation and are not recommended at any time for gastric band patients.

Protein is especially important following Lap-Band surgery. Patients are advised to consume fifty to sixty grams of protein daily to avoid protein deficiency. Protein deficiency causes hair loss, fatigue, edema, muscle weakness, and a delay in wound healing.

Any medicine you take may need to be adjusted following gastric banding surgery since you will not be able to swallow pills that are aspirin-size or larger, or capsules or irregular-shaped pills.

Incorporating regular physical activity into your daily routine is as important as following your nutrition plan. After lap band surgery, aerobic activities – particularly walking and swimming – are generally best tolerated. You will need to consult with your surgeon and weight-management team to find out which activity is right for you.

Overview of Gastric Banding

Procedure Details of Gastric Banding

Cost and Availability of Gastric Banding

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