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Life After Lap-Band Surgery

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Updated February 15, 2014

Lap-Band surgery is a form of weight-loss surgery that limits the amount of food you can consume. You must make lifestyle and dietary changes following the surgery in order for it to be successful. This article will help you learn more about life after lap band surgery.

What is Lap-Band?

Lap-band surgery is a relatively new development in bariatric surgery. Rather than creating the bypass in the digestive system that gastric bypass surgery entails, lap-band does not cause part of your digestive system to be re-routed. Instead, a constrictive band is placed around your stomach that limits its size and therefore the amount of food you're able to eat.

What Happens Immediately After Lap-Band Surgery?

After lap-band surgery, you will follow a number of fairly simple, but important, eating and drinking guidelines. In time, you will eat three healthful, nutritious meals a day and avoid between-meal snacking. During the first couple of weeks following surgery, you will not be eating normal foods. You will be on an all-liquid diet for a least a week and you will eat solely pureed foods for up to 14 days. After that, you can work up to eating regular foods again.

 

Returning to Normal Eating

When you do return to eating normal food, there will be some items you'll want to avoid because they're known to cause problems among lap-band patients. These foods include some breads, dried fruit, nuts and coconut, popcorn, fried foods, and pasta.

You will only be able to eat small amounts of food at each sitting and you'll be advised to eat very slowly, taking at least half an hour to eat your meal.

You will want to avoid high-fat, high-calorie foods, and make sure you are getting plenty of vitamins and minerals by including a variety of foods in your meals.

You will also be advised to stop eating as soon as you feel a sense of satiety (fullness) coming on, because overeating can cause significant discomfort for a lap-band patient, and if done regularly, would ultimately lead to weight-gain.

You will not drink liquids while you eat, but you can have them after your meal (about an hour later). Eating and drinking at the same time causes food to move through the digestive system a little too quickly. However, it is important that you drink between meals in order to keep your digestive tract moving.

 

Is it for You?

In general, it all comes down to a balanced diet using mini meals and a concerted effort to avoid problem foods. Living a new lifestyle, like that after lap-band surgery, takes a lot of work, but the results are certainly worth it.

Be sure to talk to your physician about your interest in bariatric treatment options to make sure you're a good candidate.

 

Source: Chebil, Joseph MD, and Mary Ellen Sabatella, RD. "Living with Lap-Band". (Note: This hand-out was provided to me by a local bariatric center. Ask your physician for literature on bariatric surgery so that you can have an informed discussion about your options at your next visit.)

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