Frequently Asked Questions
We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding weight loss and weight loss surgery. To learn more, please sign up to attend one of our seminars where your questions can be addressed immediately.
CAN I EVER LOSE TOO MUCH WEIGHT?
With the possible exception of the rare patient who develops obstruction of the stomach outlet, it is unlikely you will ever lose too much weight. On the other hand, snacking and high calorie liquids can put on weight readily.
HOW MUCH WEIGHT WILL I LOSE?
Adjustable Gastric Banding has more of a variable in terms of weight loss. Some patients lose all excess weight, while some will only lose a small percent. As with most weight loss surgeries, this procedure is only a tool and your total weight loss will depend on your commitment to the entire program as well. The average weight loss is 50% of excess weight after 5 years, and this includes patients who have lost little or no weight at all.
HOW IS THE BAND ADJUSTED?
Most commonly done in the office, the band is adjusted with a needle inserted into the port which is placed under the skin of the abdomen. Surgeons will sometimes have to use x-ray or ultra-sound guidance for patients with thick abdominal walls. The procedure does not take long and for most patients is not painful. You will be able to return to work and normal activities the same day.
CAN THE BAND BE REJECTED BY MY BODY?
The answer is no. Because the band is made of silicone rubber it cannot be rejected. As with any surgery, there is a chance of infection which could result in the removal of the band, however this is not the same as “rejection."
WHY DO I HAVE TO TAKE VITAMINS?
The Adjustable Gastric Banding operation is purely restrictive, so technically you will not need to take vitamins as long as you are eating a healthy diet. However, by definition you are eating a low calorie diet, which is how you will lost the excess weight, and there is concern that you will not be receiving the vitamins and minerals people need. Because of this, it is highly suggested that you take vitamins post surgery.
WILL MY SKIN SAG?
Because of the large amount of fat between the skin and the true body, the skin will surely sag as fat is removed. Since the weight loss is rapid in the first six months, the skin cannot keep up the pace and indeed does sag. During this period, however, elasticity of the skin is improving and the skin is also shrinking. This process will continue over the next one or two years. Regular and progressive exercise will help the appearance of the sagged skin. The skin of younger bypass surgery patients recovers more rapidly. Some patients may wish to have excess skin surgically removed at a later time.
WHAT IS A SLIPPED BAND, AND WHAT CAUSES IT?
There are two types of slippage; anterior and posterior. This refers to whether the front or back side of the stomach slips. Slippage or prolapse is when the stomach slides up through the band, making the pouch bigger. If this happens the band usually becomes too tight, and patients experience symptoms of reflux (heartburn) as well as nausea and vomiting. This is because the amount of stomach being “squeezed” by the band is increased, thereby obstructing the band.
Slippage can also occur if patients eat too much and vomit frequently.
IS THERE A CHANCE TO REGAIN WEIGHT?
Some patients may come to feel frustrated and discouraged after weight loss levels off but is still too high, or when slow weight regains occur. This cannot go uncorrected. While responsibility to continue making progress and to avoid regression remains with the patient, help will be available. It is important to constantly realize that the pouch is there only as a tool and must be used properly. If this leveling off or regression happens, support may be necessary and it is important to come back to see us so we may evaluate your case. We will then go back into your history and review the things you have learned in your first evaluation. Re-evaluation does not mean either the operation or you have failed. We are aware it often requires considerable time and effort to change the habits of a lifetime. We understand your predicament. We want to be viewed not as a critic, but as a coach and friend.