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Frequently Asked Questions

What Conditions Define Me as Morbidly Obese?
Several medically accepted criteria define morbid obesity. You are likely morbidly obese if you:

  • Are more than 100 lbs. over your ideal body weight?
  • Have a BMI of over 30 and have one or more serious health conditions related to morbid obesity
  • Are unable to achieve a healthy body weight for a sustained period of time, even through medically supervised dieting.

Why Surgery?
Most non-surgical weight loss programs are based on some combination of diet/behavior modification and regular exercise. Unfortunately, even the most effective interventions have proven to be effective for only a small percentage of patients. It is estimated that less than 5% of individuals who participate in non-surgical weight loss programs will lose a significant amount of weight and maintain that loss for a long period of time.

According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 95% of all people in these programs regain their weight within one year. Sustained weight loss for patients who are morbidly obese is even harder to achieve. Serious health risks have been identified for people who move from diet to diet, subjecting their bodies to a severe and continuing cycle of weight loss and gain known as "yo-yo dieting."

Morbid obesity is a complex, multifactorial chronic disease. For many patients, the risk of death from not having the surgery is greater than the risks from the possible complications of having the procedure.

That is the key reason that in 2006, over 100,000 weight loss surgical procedures were performed in the United States. Patients who have had the procedure report improvements in their quality of life, social interactions, psychological well-being, employment opportunities, and economic condition.

What health benefits are associated with Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery continues to benefit people struggling with morbid obesity worldwide. Most importantly, bariatric surgery saves lives. Facts supporting the effectiveness of bariatric surgery as a weight loss tool and as treatment for obesity related health conditions grow with each successful procedure.

Studies show that bariatric surgery patients are living longer lives. Patients have reported vast improvement in the quality of their lives.  Reduced life span due to obesity is important to consider as morbid obesity can lead to a shorter life and many life-threatening health problems, known as co-morbidities. Recent studies show that the risk of an early death for those struggling with obesity is twice that of a non-obese person. With treatment, there is a better chance for enjoying good health and a longer life.

How much weight will I lose? Is it immediate?
Since the lap-banding is a gradual procedure to reduce weight, you should begin losing around one to two pounds per week. You will notice that the amount of food it takes to satiate you is reduced. In studies, 2% of patients gained weight and 5% of patients stayed the same weight. However, 61% of patients lost 25% of their weight, 22% lost 50%, and 10% lost 75% of their excess weight. Please note that these results vary depending on the amount of weight that you need to lose. Also, because weight is lost gradually, your skin may retain its elasticity and not require surgery to remove excess.

What can I eat? Can I drink alcohol?
You should begin to eat healthier after the surgery. As with any diet, try to minimize the amount of alcoholic beverages that you consume to help reduce the intake of empty calorie. Eat slowly and do NOT drink liquids with your food. This may prevent you from feeling full and limit your weight loss success. However, you should consume 6-8 glasses of water daily. A multi-vitamin may be suggested to ensure that you receive your daily nutrient requirements.

Since your body will not be craving as much food, you’ll learn to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. If you go out to eat, order smaller portions, or request that half of the meal be boxed up to take home. If you consume too much food, you may begin to feel nauseated.

Does the LAP-BAND® System require frequent visits to the surgeon after surgery?
Check-ups with your surgeon are extremely important and highly recommended before and after the procedure for long-term success. During the first year after surgery, patients typically visit their surgeons every four to six weeks, although that will vary from patient to patient. Adjustments can be made during these visits.

How is the band adjusted and why?
Sometimes if someone who has had the surgery becomes ill, the band can be adjusted to accommodate either a new diet or to increase your comfort. With pregnancy, sometimes the band will be loosened to allow for you to add more food and nutrients to your diet. To loosen or tighten the band, talk to your surgeon about where he thinks the modification should be done. Sometimes it is done in a surgeon’s office, and other times in radiology. A needle is inserted into the device and saline is added or removed from the banding, effectively adjusting the size of the band to accommodate your needs.

Please note that while it is not recommended, the band can be removed from the stomach without harming the organ. Patients who have the band removed may begin to gain weight back.