Frequently Asked Questions
At Toronto's CIBO Clinic, we’ve put together a list of the most frequently asked questions our patients have about Lap-Band surgery.
If your questions aren’t answered here be sure to contact us. We’d love to answer your questions.
Q: Will I be sick a lot after Lap-Band surgery?
A: Feeling sick or nauseated on a regular basis may mean that you need to chew your food more thoroughly or that you need to review the post-operative diet rules to make sure that you are following them properly. There is a small chance that the placement of the Lap-band needs to be checked. So if the nausea persists, please contact us.
At CIBO Clinic, we recommend that you avoid vomiting if possible since it can cause your small stomach pouch to stretch or allow part of your stomach to slip through the Lap-Band and reduce the success of the procedure.
Q: How long is recovery after Lap-band surgery?
A: Lap-Band surgery is performed laparoscopically. Patients typically spend less than 24 hours in our clinic. Most patients need about a week to return to work and a month to six weeks to resume exercise.
Q: How much weight will I lose with the Lap-band?
A: Weight loss results vary from patient to patient, and the amount of weight you 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. At the CIBO Clinic, we work with you to ensure the weight loss success that you want.
We help you to set achievable weight loss goals right from the start. Losing 2-3 pounds a week in the first year is possible, but one pound a week is more likely. About 12-18 months after Lap-Band surgery, weekly weight loss is usually less. Remember that you should lose weight gradually. Losing weight too quickly puts your health at risk. Your main goal is weight loss that prevents, improves or resolves health problems connected with severe obesity.
Q: Will I feel hungry or deprived?
A: The Lap-Band makes you eat less and feel full in two ways: first, by reducing your stomach capacity and second, by increasing the time it takes food to pass through your digestive system. Even after a small meal, you should feel full. If you follow our nutrition guidelines and chew thoroughly, you shouldn't feel hungry or deprived.
Q: How do Lap-Band results compare to gastric bypass?
A: Gastric bypass patients tend to lose weight faster in the first year than Lap-band patients. At five years, however, most Lap-band patients have achieved weight loss comparable to that of gastric bypass patients. Your best bet is to focus on long-term weight loss and remember it's important to lose weight gradually while reducing obesity-related risks and improving your health.
Q: Will I have frequent visits to my doctor after Lap-Band surgery?
A: Check-ups are a normal and very important part of Lap-Band surgery follow-up. We'll ask you to come in during the first month after the surgery, then every four to twelve weeks for the first year. Lap-Band adjustments may be performed during some of your visits. In the second and third year after surgery, follow-up visits tend to be every three to six months, depending on your needs and progress.
Q: Will the Lap-band limit my physical activity?
A: No. After your initial recovery period (4-6 weeks post Lap-Band surgery), you'll be able to do aerobics, stretching and strenuous exercise. Exercise is highly encouraged as part of your post-operative lifestyle adjustment.
Q: How is the Lap-Band adjusted?
A: Adjustments to your Lap-Band are performed in the clinic by qualified staff. A fine needle is passed through your skin into the Lap-band’s access port to add or subtract saline. This process usually only takes a few minutes and most patients say it is nearly painless.
Q: Do I have to be careful with the Lap-Band’s access port just underneath my skin?
A: There are no restrictions based on the access port. It is placed under the skin in the abdominal wall, and once the incisions have healed it should not cause discomfort or limit any physical exercise. The only sensation you may experience from the port occurs when you go in for adjustments. If you feel persistent discomfort in the port area, talk to us about it.
Q: Can the Lap-band be removed?
A: Although the Lap-Band is not meant to be removed, it can be. In some cases the Lap-band can be removed laparoscopically. The stomach generally returns to its original shape. There is a possibility that you may return to your pre-surgery weight or gain even more.
Q: Will I need plastic surgery for the surplus skin when I have lost a lot of weight?
A: That is not always the case. As a rule, plastic surgery will not be considered for at least a year or two after Lap-Band surgery. Sometimes the skin can mold itself around the new body tissue. At CIBO Clinic, we recommend that you give your skin time to adjust before you decide to have more surgery. When (and if) you are ready, we will be happy to book a consultation with the CIBO Clinic in-house plastic surgeon.
Q: Can I eat anything in moderation?
A: After your stomach has healed, you likely be able to eat most foods that don't cause you discomfort. However, because you can only eat a little bit, make sure most of what you eat is high in nutrients. It's okay to have a treat every once in a while, bur regularly eating things that are full of empty calories can drastically reduce – or even cancel – the effects of the band.
As part of your weight loss process, our nutritionist will sit down with you and help you create a plan that will give you the most out of the food you eat.
Q: Will I suffer from constipation?
A: After your Lap-Band surgery, you may notice some reduction in the volume of your stools. This is normal because you eat less food and as a result, get less fiber. We encourage our patients to drink lots of water (at least 6-8 glasses). You shouldn't have any major problems with constipation, but if you do, tell us. We may tell you to up your water intake, or suggest a mild laxative.
Q: Is it true that the Lap-band seems “tighter” in the morning?
A: Tightness is a fairly common feeling, especially for people with Lap-Bands that are tight or have just been adjusted. During the day the water content in your body changes which can cause the Lap-band to feel tighter. Some women have also noticed that during menstruation it feels tighter.
Q: What if I become ill?
A: One of the major advantages of the Lap-Band is that it can be adjusted. If your illness requires you to eat more, the Lap-band can be loosened by removing saline. Then, when you have recovered from your illness and want to lose weight again, the Lap-band can be tightened by increasing the amount of saline. If the Lap-band cannot be loosened enough, it may have to be removed.
Q: What about pregnancy?
A: You can become pregnant with the Lap-Band. In fact, getting pregnant can actually become easier as you lose weight. Your menstrual cycle may become more regular, and your body will be healthier. If you need to eat more while you're pregnant, we can loosen the Lap-band. After pregnancy, we'll tighten it again, and you can get back to losing weight.
Q: Will I need to take vitamin supplements with the Lap-Band?
A: You may. Three small meals a day may not give you all the nutrients you need. When you come in for your checkups, we will test to make sure that you are getting enough B12, folic acid and iron from your food intake. If you are not getting enough nutrients, we may advise you to take supplements.
Q: Can I take other medication with the Lap-Band?
A: You should be able to take prescribed medication, though you may need to use capsules, break big tablets in half or dissolve them in water so they don't get stuck in the stoma and make you sick. Make sure your doctor knows that you have a Lap-band, and ask him or her if the pill size will cause problems. You may want to avoid taking aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers because they may irritate the stomach and result in band removal.
Q: Can I go out to eat when I have a Lap-Band?
A: Yes. If you're going to a restaurant, your best bet is to order a small amount of food, such as an appetizer. Eat slowly, and finish at the same time as your table companions. If you're invited to someone's home for a meal, you might want to let your host or hostess know in advance that you cannot eat very much.
Q: Can I drink alcohol?
A: Alcohol is high in calories and breaks down vitamins. At CIBO Clinic, we recommend to our patients that they avoid drinking regularly. But you don't have to give it up completely; an occasional glass drink isn't harmful to weight loss.
Q: I don’t live in Toronto. What support do you give to patients from out-of-town?
A: Many of our patients live outside of Toronto. Our out-of-town patient care is similar to patients from Toronto. For in-depth information read about Out of Town Patients.