Proper nutrition and adjustment of the gastric band are critical parts of achieving favorable results following this bariatric procedure. Each surgeon and surgery center will have their protocols, but the following considerations can be used as general guidelines:
Incisions made during the process will typically be covered with a dressing or plastic covering following surgery. Showering is acceptable even with these dressings in place. Bathing, however, should be avoided. The dressing can usually be removed three days following surgery. If sterile-strips (small paper strips running horizontally along incisions) are in place, they should be allowed to come off on their own. They are designed to provide temporary reinforcement to aid the healing of incisions.
Redness and warmth are classic symptoms of infection. Monitor carefully incisions sites. If these symptoms appear, contact the surgeon immediately. Antibiotic treatment may be required. Early intervention can significantly reduce the seriousness of this complication.
Post-op patients of gastric banding can usually resume previous medication regimens the day they return home. It may be easier for patients to break up larger pills if not contraindicated by prescription directions. Mylanta and Gas-X are medications that may be effective in relieving gas pain. Check with your doctor for recommendations if the gas pain is a persistent problem.
Adjustment of the lap band that is the foundation of this procedure will likely be required intermittently. These changes are sometimes referred to as “fills.” Your band will need to be tightened if weight loss stops or if increased hunger despite regular meals becomes consistent. Adjustments are determined on a very individual basis. Several factors can determine what kind of an adjustment is needed including patient weight and adaptation by the stomach and esophagus to the banding.
Your surgeon or dietician will recommend specific diet advice. Common dietary considerations for gastric banding include the following:
- Avoid carbonated drinks because they can cause band slippage or lead to stretching of the pouch.
- Avoid high-calorie drinks such as milkshakes and alcohol for maximum weight loss.
- Strive to eat three nutritionally balanced meals daily
- Avoid consuming fluids with food. Fluids should be consumed one hour before or following meals.
Read additional information about a gastric band diet in our Post Operative Diet for Gastric Banding article.
Various issues can contribute to reoccurring vomiting. Some of these problems include:
- Eating too quickly
- Not chewing food well
- Eating too much
- Eating fatty and greasy foods
It’s good practice to set aside at least 30 minutes before each meal. Contact your doctor if vomiting continues for more than two days. Consuming strictly liquids for a 24 hour period may give the stomach the rest it needs to get back on track.
A common complication of gastric banding is known as productive burping. The regurgitation of non-acidic swallowed food from the upper pouch describes productive burping. This is not normal and can be an indication that the band is too tight or may be a result of stomach swelling related to persistent vomiting. Again, eating too much, eating too quickly, or taking too large bites can contribute to this complication.
The primary symptom of reflux is heartburn and involves burning of the lower esophagus by stomach acids. A band adjusted too tightly or an inflamed stomach lining are common culprits related to this post-op problem with gastric banding.
Most surgeons encourage walking immediately following surgery. This exercise not only aids in weight loss but also helps lower the risk of possible complications such as pneumonia.
Guide to Gastric Banding (Lap-Band):