What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Each bariatric surgery program has specific requirements. Your program will likely include the following:
- Thorough physical exam and review of medical history
- Attempts to lose weight (about 10%) through medically approved dietary means
- Ongoing consultations with a registered dietitian
- Mental health evaluation and counseling
In the days leading up to your procedure:
- Review your regular medications, herbs, or dietary supplements with your surgeon. You may need to temporarily discontinue some of these products.
- Do not take aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs for one week before surgery, unless told otherwise by your doctor. You may also need to stop taking blood-thinning medications. Examples include clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), or ticlopidine (Ticlid). Talk to your doctor.
- Do not start any new medications, herbs, or supplements without talking to your doctor.
- Arrange for a ride to and from the hospital.
- Arrange for help at home as you recover.
- You may be given antibiotics.
- The night before, eat a light meal and do not eat or drink anything after midnight unless told otherwise by your doctor.
- Shower or bathe the morning of your surgery.
- Bring all your medications with you to the hospital.
Description of the Procedure
To prepare you for surgery, a nurse will place an intravenous (IV) line in your arm. You may receive fluids and medications through this line during the procedure, after receiving medicine to help you go to sleep. The doctor will place a breathing tube through your mouth and into your throat. This will help you breathe during surgery. You will also have a catheter placed in your bladder to drain urine.
How is Lap-Band Surgery Performed?
The procedure involves the laparoscopic placement is an implantable gastric band and access port system under the skin, all done laparoscopically with five small incisions while the patient is under anesthesia. During laparoscopy, a small camera is inserted into the abdomen and the Band is carefully placed around the upper stomach. The Lap-Band is made of a specially designed soft material and it acts like a snug, soft belt around the stomach. It serves to restrict the size of the stomach and patients feel full and satisfied after eating very small meals. Most patients require an overnight hospital stay. With experienced hands, serious complications are very rarem but in some cases, the band may need to be repositioned in the future.
The breathing tube will be removed and you will be taken to the recovery area. Youll be given pain medication.
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
- Anesthesia prevents pain during surgery.
- Patients may have pain and/or soreness at the incision sites. Your doctor can give you pain medication to relieve the discomfort.
Average Hospital Stay
1 day (Patients usually go home earlier day after surgery.)
At the Hospital
While you are recovering at the hospital, you may receive the following care:
- Pain medication will be given as needed.
- If you have sleep apnea, youll be placed on a breathing monitor.
- Your diet:
- Day of surgeryYou won't eat or drink anything.
- Day after surgeryYoull likely have an upper GI x-ray to check for leaks from the stomach pouch. Youll drink a special liquid while x-rays are taken.
- If this x-ray is normal, youll be given 30 milliliters (mL) of liquids every 20 minutes.
- You may be asked to do the following:
- Use a spirometer to take deep breaths every hour to prevent breathing problems.
- Wear elastic surgical stockings to promote blood flow in your legs.
- Get up and walk in the hall daily.
Do not drive or lift anything heavy for at least two weeks. Youll need to practice lifelong healthful eating and exercising habits. You should walk as soon as possible, with a goal of exercising daily. You may have emotional ups and downs after this surgery. You will meet regularly with your healthcare team for monitoring and support.
Your new stomach is the size of a small egg. It is slow to empty, causing you to feel full quickly. You need to eat very small amounts and eat very slowly. Youll begin with 4-6 small meals per day. A meal is two ounces of food. For the first 4-6 weeks after surgery, all food must be pureed. Once you move to solid foods, food must be well-chewed (=5-30 times per bite). You will have 3 visits with a registered dietician to assist you in making good food choices and to adjust to your lap-band. The first dietician visit is prior to surgery, the second is the day after surgery, and the third visit is 4-6 weeks after your surgery.
When making food choices, ensure that you are getting adequate protein. Eating too much or too quickly can cause vomiting or intense pain under your breastbone. Most people quickly learn how much food they can eat. To promote ongoing weight loss, avoid high-calorie foods.
Where Do I Go From Here?
Your best source of information is an experienced bariatric surgeon, like one of the many excellent surgeons at St. Petersburg General Hospital. Our surgeons know best how to handle your special needs before, during and after weight loss surgery. Although bariatric surgery has shown to be an effective tool in weight loss, it is important for patients to remember that the surgery is only a tool. A successful outcome is dependent on the patients' commitment to a long-term lifestyle change.