The Lapband is adjustable and needs to be adjusted from time to time. Sometimes we need to fill it, sometimes we need to take fluid out of the band.
The typical Lapband patient who is successful will need about 6 adjustments the first year and two the second year. While everyone is different, most successful Lapband practices note that patients who are successful visit their Lapband office more than six times the first year.
At some point we get to the “sweet spot” – well, we get to that spot a number of times, but eventually we get to where you don’t need to come in much. The number of adjustments you need will diminish.
So why not just push a lot of fluid in the band and get to that magic place? Your stomach just can’t tolerate that amount of fluid, and you will end up not tolerating even saliva. You cannot rush an adjustment. “Being aggressive” with adjustments can lead to a band that is too filled which will make your life miserable.
What determines if I need an adjustment?
If you eat a measured amount of food, 4 ounces of meat/fish/poultry/protein and 6 ounces of vegetables – this should keep you from being hungry until the next meal. If you eat that amount, and find you are hungry after two hours, then you need to have a band adjustment.
I can eat as much as I want – does that mean I need an adjustment?
The band does NOT restrict how much you can eat. Food goes through the band in about a minute. In patients who are successful – we can watch, on x-ray, and see that food goes past the band very quickly. A person with a band can eat however much they want. This is one of the two choices you have with the band – first choice is what you eat, and the second choice is how much you eat.
If that is the case, what did I need the band for?
The band doesn’t stop you from eating—that is still, and always will be, your job. The band makes it so if you CHOOSE to eat less, you won’t be hungry for four hours, and your body will be able to utilize fat more efficiently. Two things you cannot do on your own.
What if I feel hungry after I eat?
That isn’t hunger. Hunger is what you feel after a couple of hours. The sense of needing to eat more, and the ability to eat more, is unrelated to what the band does. The band’s job is to suppress your appetite. Think of it this way—before the band if you at a small meal – like Lean Cuisine – in two hours you would be hungry. With the band, if you eat that amount of food, and the band is properly adjusted, you will not be hungry. The band will NOT stop you from eating more – it will stop you from being hungry a couple of hours after you eat. Those first two hours are a matter of you eating less.
I notice that if I eat my meal slowly, I feel “full” after just a small amount of food. Is that the band?
Not really – eating slowly is important and will allow you to feel “full.” If you eat your meal too fast with the band bad things can happen. You could get a band to slip, or erode into the stomach, or cause your esophagus to enlarge, and you will be hungry. So – eat your portion slowly. Taking your time eating slowly will both keep you out of trouble, and allow your brain to send the signal that you are “full.”
You can find our GREEN ZONE Patient Form here.
You can find Pricing for LapBand adjustments here.
Dr Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson is a Phoenix weight loss surgeon. He encourages his lap-band surgery patients to learn to cook and adopt healthier lifestyles. His goal is to use culinary medicine to keep patients out of his operating room. in 2017, Dr. Simpson became a Certified Culinary Medicine Specialist.