How Do Surgeons Adjust Gastric Band After Surgery?

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A surgeon may need to adjust a gastric band after adjustable gastric band surgery, periodically or only once, depending on the patient’s symptoms and weight loss progress post-surgery. After laparoscopic adjustable gastric band surgery (Lap Band surgery), a medical professional will normally adjust the gastric band at 5 weeks following the operation. Having a gastric band adjusted when needed is crucial to the long-term success of adjustable gastric band surgery.

In most cases, a gastric band is periodically adjusted over the two years following surgery, taking place at your surgeon’s office. It is not surgery. If the patient is having unexpected problems consuming food or liquids, vomiting after eating, or other symptoms, they are to contact their surgeon immediately. Similarly, if a patient does not feel enough restriction, is gaining weight, or not losing the amount of weight expected in a 2-week period, the surgeon may opt to adjust the gastric band even sooner. How often surgeons adjust gastric bands after surgery depends on the reason for the adjustment and the condition of the patient.

What Happens During Gastric Band Adjustment

Gastric bands may need to be inflated or deflated (“tightened” or “loosened”) after surgery depending on the patient’s weight loss progress. The process for inflating and deflating a gastric band are almost the same, and the entire process for both usually takes no more than 10 minutes. Below is how lap bands are inflated:

  1. The patient lies flat on a table, lifts up their shirt to just below the bra line.
  2. The abdomen is cleaned with antiseptic.
  3. The surgeon will feel for and locate the port that was connected to the band under the patient’s abdominal skin during initial lap band surgery.
  4. A numbing agent may be applied to the abdomen.
  5. A special type of needle is placed through the skin into the port.
  6. Through the needle, the inflatable balloon inside the gastric band can be filled or emptied of the prescribed amount of saline. This quantity is usually decided beforehand.
  7. The needle is removed and the belly cleaned. A band-aid is applied, and the patient is free to go home.

What Happens After a Band Adjustment

After a gastric band is inflated, the patient must follow a special diet of 2 days of liquids and then transition to pureed foods for 2 additional days. On the 5th day after the band is inflated, the patient may return to a high protein/low carbohydrate diet, always focusing on eating slowly and chewing well.

After a gastric band is deflated, the patient must pay close attention to whether or not their symptoms have improved. They should contact their surgeon’s office for further evaluation if any of their symptoms return.

Gastric band adjustment centers in Portland OR

Gastric band adjustments after surgery can seem intimidating and just the thought of it has been reported to bring many patients stress. Knowing what to expect and being aware of the relative comfort of a gastric band adjustment will help improve the chances of the lap band surgery proving effective for healthy weight loss as patients will feel more comfortable coming in for needed adjustments.

Oregon Weight Loss Surgery is your trusted bariatric center in Portland OR. For more information on how bariatric surgery can change your life, contact us today. 

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