Lap Band Surgery (Gastric Banding) (cont.)

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What is a lap band fill?

A lap band "fill" is the common term for gastric band adjustments. Once surgery is performed, there is a period of healing that must take place before the first adjustment. Usually, the first fill takes place around 6 to 8 weeks. It involves injecting saline into the port just under the skin which is connected to the band. Prior to this, there may be little change in appetite. Fills are painless and are usually performed by the surgeon who performed the procedure. These adjustments may take place to enhance weight loss, especially if there is a plateau phase in weight loss, and they may to performed to overcome side effects such as nausea and vomiting (in this latter case, the band is loosened).

What can I expect my lifestyle to be after lap band surgery (LAGB)?

Immediately after surgery, there will be some pain and discomfort that can be controlled with medications. This is part of the normal recovery phase after any surgical procedure. After 6 to 8 weeks, one can generally return to normal activities. Weight loss with LAGB is a gradual process. Initially, the weight loss may be more dramatic- say 2 to 3 pounds per week. However, this generally slows to a pound or so weekly over the long-term. Naturally, the food choices made will govern this weight loss rate. After about 18 months, the weight loss tends to slow significantly. The average weight loss for this procedure is 40% of excess body weight in the first year, with an additional 10% to 20% in the second year. Patients are usually asked to keep in contact with their surgeon regularly during this time period as further band adjustments may be needed.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/31/2014