You are likely to have some discomfort from the port entry sites through which the operating instruments and camera were passed, especially where the band access port was placed in the deep tissues. It is also common to have left shoulder pain which is actually pain coming from the diaphragm, the large thin sheet of muscle separating the chest from the abdominal cavity. It usually settles after a few days. As a general rule, most do not have severe pain and any discomfort responds to simple painkillers.
You should not drive for 2-3 days after surgery to allow the effects of the anaesthetic and any post-operative analgesia (painkillers) to wear off. Thereafter you may find driving a little uncomfortable until the port sites have fully healed – usually around 10 days.
This depends upon your job but if you have a sedentary occupation you can expect to be back at work after a week. If your job involves lifting, you may need 2 weeks to allow the wounds to heal.
Generally there is minimal scarring. The ports are placed in the abdomen through 4 or 5 narrow (1cm) incisions and the access port is fixed through an incision about 3-4 cms. These are sutured and/or glued and will normally heal in 10-14 days. The scars should fade gradually. Some people have a greater tendency to form keloid, which may result in thicker and more prominent scars.
There should be no vomiting at all. The LAGB is designed to provide a gentle restriction or “brake” on your eating. It is NOT meant to stop you eating. If you are vomiting frequently, there is something wrong with your band adjustment or you are not following the eating rules. Persistent vomiting may be a sign of band slippage.
Usually, you can continue with your regular medication but if your tablets are large, you may need to crush them up and take with a spoonful of yoghurt. Check with your GP or pharmacist first as some tablets are formulated to be released slowly or coated to protect the stomach. Capsules shouldn't be a problem because they are soft and designed to soften and melt inside the stomach.
Yes. Because you are eat much less and are losing weight, we recommend a daily soluble multivitamin to make sure you are covering all your requirements, especially B vitamins, folate and iron.
Regular physical activity is important and to begin with we recommend walking. As you become fitter you may wish to try more strenuous forms of activity, no type of exercise must be excluded.
No. Although it is a very common belief – even among health professionals – that sweet eaters will do poorly after LAGB, good scientific data show that sweet eaters do just as well as anyone else.
No. Experience shows some people worry about the adjustment but it consists only of a brief scratch of the skin with a small needle and then some mild discomfort as we push on the access port. It takes just a few minutes and requires no anaesthetic.
This depends on your progress. If you are losing 1-2lbs (0.5-1kg) a week, have no symptoms and feel well, your band is fine. If your weight loss is very slow or you have little restriction, you may need an adjustment. The number of adjustments required in the first year varies, some need 1, others need 6 but more is not necessarily better. Some people think if the band is giving good weight loss, tightening it will give better results. This is not true. An over-adjusted band can be dangerous, risking slippage.
The answer is YES. A tiny amount of fluid can leak from the band over time so you will probably need a top-up to restore your usual level of restriction. If you don’t realise this, you may find yourself hungry and putting on weight for no obvious reason and blaming yourself. So even when you have achieved your weight loss, we ask you to stay in touch and attend for an annual “MOT”.
It is a very unusual issue but if your weight continues to decline after achieving your goal, we would simply remove some fluid from the band to reduce the restriction. This is a strength of the band!
It can be removed relatively easily, though this is not our intention. Because it did not involve cutting of the bowel or stomach, band removal leaves a fully restored stomach and alimentary system.
Yes. It is usually safe to have other surgical procedures but it is important to let your surgeon know you have a gastric band. You must also let us know immediately. If your surgery involves general anaesthesia, we will empty your band in case you have a reaction to the anaesthetic that results in vomiting, putting pressure on the band. When recovered, the band can be re-adjusted.
As you eat less the amount of fibre in your diet falls and your bowel activity decreases. If you do become constipated, we can advise plenty of effective remedies to deal with the problem.
The band does not interfere in any way with pregnancy, in fact the likelihood of becoming pregnant is much higher. We follow a protocol for managing the band in pregnancy so have no concerns.
Yes – in moderation. Alcohol has a high calorific value (7kcal/gram) and passes easily through your band. However, there are health benefits of moderate alcohol intake and some evidence suggests it may even enhance weight loss. So we are happy for you to have one unit of alcohol per day e.g. half a pint of beer, half a 175ml glass of wine or a small single measure of spirits.
Not easily. It is normal to swallow air as we eat but we can usually bring this up again without difficulty. The band interferes with this natural process and patients can find it more difficult. The good news is that this problem only tends to last for the first few months.
This is fairly common, especially for patients with already tight bands. Some women notice that the band feels tighter during menstruation. It is probably just a function of changes in fluid balance.
Yes. You may eat most foods that don’t cause you discomfort. However, because you can only eat small amounts, it is important to include foods which are rich in protein but low in fat and sugar. We encourage you to eat vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, lean meat and fish. You will receive detailed nutritional information following your surgery.
Some people feel the band is tighter when they fly. This can occur if there are small air bubbles in the band which don't matter at normal pressure, but at 30,000 feet, can expand to make the band feel tighter. As a result, you may find it difficult to swallow solid foods but this returns to normal once you get back to ground. Incidentally, the band does not set off airport security or x-ray systems.
Silicone implants have been used in various areas of medicine for more than 50 years, but there is no evidence at all to suggest that silicone is dangerous. Even the widely publicised concerns about breast implants turned out to have no scientific foundation. The gastric band is made of solid silicone which, unlike breast implants with a liquid silicone core, cannot leak into the tissues.
The short answer is that we don’t know. The first band was implanted in 1993 so our experience is limited to the years since then. However, silicone has been used in the manufacture of medical devices for many years and there is no evidence to suggest it carries any long-term risks. Whether the band structure will remain intact in the very long-term (30+ years) remains to be seen.
Every medical treatment has a failure rate. 10-15% of band patients fail due to a variety of reasons, including an inability to follow nutritional or physical activity advice or to attend band adjustment clinics. It may occasionally be due to band leakage or a slippage. We do all we can to reduce the risk of band failure and if you are committed to succeed, most reasons for failure can be overcome.
Possibly. The amount of lax skin depends upon your age and weight, generally the older and heavier you are, the more likely you are to have lax skin. The most common procedure is removal of the abdominal apron though some patients have more extensive “body-contouring”. You should wait 1-2 years before making any decisions and ensure that any corrective surgery is done by a specialist surgeon. If you are considering cosmetic surgery, contact us to arrange a consultation with our own bariatric cosmetic specialist.
Healthier Weight gastric band patients experience significantly lower risk of complications than patients of other centres e.g:
| ||Typical |
|Healthier Weight |
|Band slippage |
|4-5% ||1% |
|Band erosion |
|0.3-0.5% ||Less than 0.1% |
|Port / tubing leakage |
|5-10% ||2% |
|Inaccessible port |
|0.3% ||Less than 0.1% |
|Access port infection |
|2% ||Less than 2% |
The warranty lasts for 2 years after your procedure. It’s not possible to give a lifetime warranty as we cannot predict complications 30-40 years in the future. The cost would be prohibitive.
Report your symptoms immediately and we will organise investigative tests. Based on the results, Healthier Weight’s Medical Director will confirm if your complication is covered under warranty
Nothing. The 2 year warranty is included within our gastric band packages.
- Removal of the gastric band without any clinical requirement e.g. if you decide you no longer wish to have it implanted
- Repositioning of the band access port for cosmetic reasons
- Pouch dilatation caused by a patient’s maladaptive eating, i.e. by non compliance with the recommended dietary regime
- Any complication or medical condition other than those listed above
No, the warranty only applies when revisional surgery is organised by Healthier Weight.
Everyone is different but on average we expect gastric band patients to lose 50-60% of their excess weight.