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Living with a gastric band

Living With A Gastric band
Gastric band
12th July 2016

When you suffer with obesity, it can seriously impact not only your health, but your social and mental well-being as well and bariatric surgery can be a hugely helpful method of losing weight. The most successful bariatric surgery patients don’t see the operation as a quick fix, but rather a tool to help them gain control of their weight. When considering gastric band surgery, understandably you want to know how this choice will impact the rest of your life, this is a long term commitment, not a yo-yo diet after all.

As soon as you wake up from the general anaesthetic after gastric band surgery, it is likely that you will experience some discomfort from the wound sites, which may continue for a few days after you leave the hospital. Some patients also experience shoulder pain which we believe is ‘referred’ pain from the diaphragm, but it is not certain why the pain arises or why some have it and others do not. However this too should ease after a few days. For most patients, this minor discomfort can be alleviated with simple painkillers such as paracetamol.

Once you leave the hospital we ask that you simply drink clear fluids for the first 24 hours. Over the next few weeks following gastric band surgery, you will pass through a 2 week liquid and 2 week pureed food stage. These stages are an important part of the healing process as they allow your new stomach to adjust to food gradually. It’s very important that you strictly follow the advice given to you by your provider throughout this stage, moving on when recommended and not before.

Once you move onto the 'normal foods' stage of your diet, this is where you will build new eating habits and start to develop a new relationship with food. As you may have been told by other patients, the beginning of this stage is where you will start to find out what foods agree, and what foods disagree with your new stomach. Often, it’s the more dry or fibrous foods such as bread, pasta and oats that get ‘stuck’. This will be different for everyone and so will require a bit of trial and error to find what works for you.

Patients tell us that living with a gastric band is full of surprises and learning curves, both the good and the not so good at times. Every weight loss journey will have its ups and downs, and using your tool in an effective way doesn’t mean having to get it right every time! Weight loss surgery is a challenge, and really does require total commitment, but that's why the support of an experienced gastric band specialist aftercare team is truly the key to success.

It is hoped that your gastric band will be in place and help you control your eating for the rest of your life, but of course you can still go to your favourite restaurant, you can still enjoy a glass of wine and you can still enjoy your favourite treats, just in smaller amounts!

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*Weight loss surgery results and benefits vary and are different for each individual. As such, Healthier Weight cannot guarantee specific weight loss goals.