How much weight can I expect to lose?
Everyone is different but on average we would expect:
- Gastric band patients to lose 50-60% of their excess weight
- Gastric bypass patients to lose 60-70% of their excess weight
- Sleeve gastrectomy patients to lose 50-70% of their excess weight
Will I have pain after the operation?
You will have some discomfort from the entry site through which the operating instruments and camera were passed. It is also quite common to have left shoulder pain after the procedure but this usually settles down after a few days. As a general rule, most do not have severe pain and any discomfort they have responds to simple painkillers.
How soon can I drive after the operation?
We advise that you do not drive for 2-3 days after surgery to allow the effects of the anaesthetic and any post-operative analgesia (painkillers) to wear off. You may find it a little uncomfortable to drive until the port sites have fully healed.
How long will I be off work?
This depends upon the nature of your job. If you have a sedentary occupation you can expect to be back at work after about a week but if your job involves lifting, you will probably need a two week period to allow the wounds to heal.
What about scars following surgery?
You will have five small scars which should fade gradually. Some people have a greater tendency to form keloid which may result in thicker, more prominent scars.
Should I expect frequent vomiting?
You should not be vomiting at all. The gastric band provides a gentle restriction on your eating but is NOT meant to stop you eating. Frequent vomiting may suggest you need a band adjustment or you are not following the eating rules.
Will I need to take vitamin supplements?
Because you will eat much less and be losing weight after weight loss surgery, we recommend that you take a daily soluble multivitamin to ensure you meet your vitamin requirements. This is a lifelong requirement for gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy patients.
What about physical activity?
Regular physical activity is important to achieve your weight loss goals and to begin with we recommend walking. As you become fitter you may wish to take part in more strenuous activities and no exercise must be excluded.
Are gastric band adjustments painful?
No, although experience suggests some people worry more about the adjustment than the surgery. Each adjustment consists of a brief scratch of the skin with a small needle and then some very mild discomfort as we push on the access port . It usually takes a few minutes and does not require any form of anaesthetic.
How often will I need to have the gastric band adjusted?
This depends on your weight loss. If you are losing 1-2lbs a week, have no symptoms and feel well, your band is fine. If your weight loss is slow or you feel little restriction, you may need a further adjustment. The number of adjustments varies in the first 12 months, some need one, others need five or six. But remember more is not necessarily better.
Can the gastric band be removed?
Yes, although it is not our intention to do so. Gastric banding does not involve any cutting of the bowel or stomach so removing the band leaves behind a fully restored stomach and alimentary system. This can also be achieved, however, by leaving the gastric band in place but removing all saline and so restriction.
What happens if I become pregnant?
Your weight loss procedure will not interfere in any way with normal pregnancy, of course the likelihood of becoming pregnant is much higher as a result of your procedure, since weight loss is known to increase fertility. If you become pregnant following gastric band surgery, you just need to let us know as there is a protocol in place for managing your care throughout your pregnancy.
Can I eat or drink anything in moderation?
Yes – in moderation but exercise caution. Because you can only eat small amounts, it is important to include foods that are rich in protein but low in fat and sugar. We encourage you to eat vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, lean meat and fish. Alcohol has a high calorific value (7kcal/gram) and provides a lot of unwanted calories that pass easily through your band. However, there are health benefits of moderate alcohol intake and some evidence to suggest that it may even enhance weight loss. So we are quite happy for you to have the equivalent of one unit of alcohol per day.
Is silicone dangerous (toxic) to me?
There is no evidence to suggest that silicone is dangerous, silicone implants have been used in various areas of medicine for more than 50 years. Even the widely publicised concerns about breast implants turned out to have no scientific foundation. The gastric band is made of solid silicone and, unlike breast implants which had a liquid silicone core, cannot leak into the tissues.
Will I need cosmetic surgery to get rid of excess skin?
Possibly. Generally, the older and heavier you are, the more likely you are to have lax skin after substantial weight loss. The most common need is to have the abdominal apron removed, though some patients have more extensive “body-contouring”. Whatever your inclination, you should wait at least one year, preferably two, before making any decisions about cosmetic surgery. It is imperative that any corrective surgery be done by a specialist surgeon. If you are interested in cosmetic surgery, please contact us on 0800 313 4618 and we will arrange a consultation with our own bariatric cosmetic specialist.