Jump to content

Hello! Welcome to the Largest Bariatric Surgery Community Online!

Welcome to BariatricPal.com, the largest weight loss surgery social network in the world! Our goal is to provide a unique platform for patients and potential patients alike that enables you to make informed choices involving your surgery decisions as well as providing you the support you need to meet your goals. Sign up now to access exclusive member features!

Join our community. It's free!

Considering LapBand? READ this first...

Started by Lanette, Aug 22, 2011 9:55 AM
19 replies to this topic
19 replies to this topic


    Expert Member

  • Posts: 193
  • Joined: Feb 2011
  • Gender: Female
  • Location: AR
  • Surgery: LAP-BAND
  • My Blogs
Posted August 22, 2011 - 9:55 AM

Warning.. this is a very long post b/c it lists questions discussed at a LapBand support group meeting. I have been meaning to post this forever but have never taken the time to type it up. I will SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS to anyone that will listen. So for any of you that are weighing the options between LapBand and Vertical Sleeve (OR KNOW ANYONE that is!) please read this first!

Shortly after having my VSG surgery, a friend of mine (that was recently banded) invited me to a WLS support group meeting. I specifically asked if it was for all types of WLS and the meeting coordinator assured her that it was. Well, when we showed up, I quickly realized that while they are open to all types of WLS patients, it is being put on by a surgeon's office that only does LapBand and everyone there was a LB patient except for me. That said, the topic for the evening was "Lap Band Lingo" and there was a handout with 18 common questions regarding Lap Bands.

I was shocked to find out that the things we were discussing were NOT "complications" but everyday occurrences for most of these people. I was the only person in the room that had not thrown up and MOST of them said they throw up on a regular basis. I am going to share this list of questions from the handout below in hopes that it will be informative and eye opening to others the way it was to me.

The people that I know who have had lap band are seriously struggling. I have lost more; my restriction is CONSISTANT....which is a HUGE deal that I had never thought of. They are constantly dealing with the "up and down" of needing a fill or unfill, etc. and depending on how tight their band is they may not be able to eat AT ALL or else they may be able to eat like they used to. Personally, I am not okay with that. I need a new lifestyle and to know what to expect. They still have to go to their surgeon.....A LOT. After I'm done with my post op visits.....it is Hasta La Vista baby! I never have to go back again if I don't want to b/c mine is forever and I have not had one complication.

One last thing before I get to the list. After the class, I stayed after and talked to the Office Manager lady because I genuinely wanted to know why a doctor would NOT offer both options when CLEARLY there are MAJOR advantages to the sleeve. After much "beating around the bush" she made a comment that will forever stick with me. She said "Well, we have thought about offering the sleeve, but we have SUCH a SUCCESSFUL LapBand practice that we have decided to just stay with that." Here's the bottom line.....every time you have to go in for an adjustment to your band, fill/unfill, etc., or there is a follow up surgery to fix something they are billing like crazy. They know that if they offer VSG, there are very few subsequent opportunities for billing.

Here is the information from the Handout.

1. A. What is Morning Band? (Discussion included the fact that most people have a tighter band when they wake up in the morning. A number of people mentioned that they had to drink warm fluids before they could get anything down. Many said that if they tried to eat while still too tight, they would throw up.)

B. What is Night Cough? This question was not on original list but came up as a follow up question after discussing "Morning Band" (This one seriously made me sick to my stomach and still does now. They basically described that if they lay down with food still in their pouches, it will come back up and can potentially get into their lungs. They talked about waking up at night and coughing like crazy and coughing bile up, etc. One lady said that she woke up with STOMACH BILE COMING OUT HER NOSE!!!!)

2. What is Mucus Plug or Jelly Fish, and how do I deal with it? (They described because the hole at the bottom of the pouch is so small (about the size of a straw) that any drainage, post nasal drip, etc. would sometimes cause the equivalent of a Mucus Plug to clog the opening. They gave a recipe that included drinking warm lemon juice as the cure for this. Gagging now just thinking about it.)

3. How do I know I am too tight and need an Unfill? (Okay, this is the one where I wanted to stand up in the middle of the room and scream "Do you people not know there is a better way!!" They talked about how when you are already feeling "tight" due to stress, flying, having just been filled, etc. that the simple fact that you are already feeling tight can make you get more stressed and cause it to be tighter. They talked about people having to get unfilled before flying and that their surgeon had taken their entire office staff for a long weekend to his family beach house in Cabo San Lucas and that when they got off the plane that one of the girls was so tight that she was constantly throwing up. He had to "unfill" her while in Cabo. BIG FACT TO KEEP IN MIND!!! Every time these people are getting unfilled, they have to start their diet plan over. After every fill, they have to do liquids for 48 hours, then softs, etc. NO WAY JOSE'!!! It was all I could do to get through my early stages. The thought of reliving that again and again makes me shudder! Also, many will tell you that once you find your "sweet spot" (see #8) the fills/unfills stop. That may be true, BUT my friends who had their surgeries BEFORE mine (mine was 3/28/11) are still struggling with this constantly. One of them just had to get an unfill last week b/c she couldn't keep anything down and was dehydrated. Now she will have to get slow fills again to get back to a good level of restriction for her.)

4. What is Mega Esophagus? (Let me start by saying that we CAN get this as well....so this is not just a Band issue. However, because our stomachs are longer and our openings are "normal size" and not the size of a straw, it is a lot less likely. Basically if we eat too much and feel like our food is coming back up our throat on a consistent basis, we CAN stretch our esophagus. However, if they eat things that they are not digesting well (long list for the group in the room) their food will sit in that little pouch a LOT longer b/c it can't get on out that tiny little opening. So, if they are full to the brim and stretching their esophagus, it's going to keep stretching a lot longer. I HAVE felt on two occasions that I have pushed my limit and had food "up to the brim" and knew that I had overdone it. However within 20-30 minutes, I had digested enough that I felt "normal" again.)

5. Why do I need to keep getting Fills? (Okay, this is the one where I finally couldn't keep my mouth shut. This lady is describing how the band is tight around the stomach and the stomach will "thin itself out" in order to make that opening bigger to allow more food to pass through. So then they tighten up the band again to reduce the size of the opening and have restriction again (back to that inconsistent restriction issue). So naturally, my question to her is "What happens when you keep doing this year after year after year??? Isn't that stomach lining eventually going to get too thin and erode?" She said that it is made to be able to get very thin and then quickly moved on to question number 6 (which we moved past quickly b/c it wasn't a much better topic.)

6. What happens to saline in my band and how do I check it? (I was too frustrated with #5 that I honestly can't even remember what the lady said. I vaguely remember them discussing the fact that it does slowly leak (however a VERY minor amount b/c in all honesty it is a VERY small amount that is in the band anyway).

7. What is Protein and how much do I need of it? (Answers to this were same as for us.)

8. Am I in the Sweet Spot/ Green Zone/ Happy Place? (See #3. In a room of about 20-25 people, only 2 said they were in their "sweet spot". Most were still getting adjustments regularly b/c of inconsistent losing and restriction. This "green zone" is when their bodies are "happy" and losing regularly with fairly consistent restriction and not feeling that they need filled or unfilled.)

9. What are the LapBand Food Categories? (These were their food stages (clear liquids, full liquids, soft mushies, regular foods and the final stage was regular foods WITH BREAD). They made a BIG deal of not skipping that last stage. And of course me, who was Miss "no carb passes these lips" at that time was thinking NO WAY. :) I still don't really understand the instance about making sure they were able to eat bread so maybe some former LapBanders on here can fill in that blank.)

10. Why do crunch carbohydrates go down when meat won't? (Discussed "sliders" as opposed to dense protein. Good discussion that applies to us as well.)

11. What is a Carbohydrate and does my body need them? (Nutrition 101 and it was a good discussion that applies to us as well. No LB specific material in that one.)

12. Gas is to a car like _______is to the body? (Pretty sure the answer was food???But I can't remember. Was already planning my "talking points" for my post class discussion with this lady.)

13. I can eat more at different times of day or different days, how do I know I need a Fill or not? (They discussed the difference in what they consider normal fluctuations in restriction aka "Morning Band", etc. and when they are truly not getting enough restriction and need a fill. I just love that we never have to worry about this.)

14. I am flying or having an operation, do I need an Unfill? (I do not remember the answer to the operation part, but as for flying I was thinking about the fact that I fly ALL THE TIME for work and that alone would have kept me from doing this. I would have been TICKED if no one had told me this was a possibility before surgery. There were a number of people in the room that DO get too tight when flying and do get unfilled before flying. It does not apply to all, but I guess you would have to make sure that there is a surgeon you trust in the city where you are going the first time in order to test it out. Scary if you ask me.)

15. I ate a sandwich for lunch, then stressed out, why am I so tight? (I was shocked to learn about the impact that stress can have on your restriction. There were stories about people who went out to lunch and then got pulled over by a cop on the way back to the office and b/c they were nervous they through up everything and then once that has started they usually can't get it settled back down and have to go get unfilled. I lead a very high stress, fast paced life and I don't think I could handle this.)

16. Do I need to take vitamins and why? Same as for us...nothing LB specific discussed.

17. Can I take Multi Vitamins and Calcium together? Same as for us...nothing LB specific discussed.

18. Do I need to exercise? Same as for us....nothing LB specific discussed.

    Guest_Roz1967_* Joined: Jan 1970
  • Gender: Female
  • Location: CA
  • Surgery: LAP-BAND
Posted August 22, 2011 - 10:12 AM

When I first went to inquire about wls, I had decided on the LAPBand. After studying(as I always do!), I didn't like the idea or resurgery or the expensive charges of fills/unfills. I also was skeptical about having a foreign object inside of me forever. My doc didn't try to sway me at all. The restrictions and never eating steak :o and other things forever also bothered me. I read about docs in Europe abandoning LAPBand surgery because of huge complications and failure to lose weight.

All that added together meant.........NO LAPBAND FOR ME!!!!!


    Bariatric Master

  • Posts: 1,703
  • Joined: Mar 2011
  • Gender: Female
  • Location: NY
  • Surgery: LAP-BAND
Posted August 22, 2011 - 10:30 AM

I orginally wanted to do the band also. My surgeon said NO WAY!! He said too many complications and it would be in my throat in a year.
I am SO VERY GLAD I got the sleeve!
Kelly :)


    Guru in Training

  • Posts: 265
  • Joined: Oct 2010
  • Gender: Female
  • Location: WA
  • Surgery: LAP-BAND
  • Starting Weight: 240 lbs
  • Weight Lost: 120 lbs
  • Current Weight: 120 lbs
  • Goal Weight: 150 lbs
  • BMI: 20.6
Posted August 22, 2011 - 10:35 AM

All the more reason I'm so grateful I didn't do the lap band. My friend is getting lap band surgery, I have tried to tell her of all the problems with the lap band but she said she decided that's what she wants to do. I just wished her well and told her its a personal choice.


    Registered User

  • Posts: 470
  • Joined: Sep 2010
  • Gender: Female
  • Location: OH
  • Surgery: LAP-BAND
  • Surgeon: Alberto Aceves
  • Surgery Date: Aug 2011
  • Starting Weight: 225 lbs
  • Weight Lost: 83 lbs
  • Current Weight: 142 lbs
  • Goal Weight: 145 lbs
  • BMI: 24.4
Posted August 22, 2011 - 11:32 AM

I originally considered the lapband as well, I had never even heard of the sleeve. Well at our orientation the surgeon said while they do the lapband, they do not suggest it as they are taking out almost all the bands they have put in.


    Junior Guru

  • Posts: 313
  • Joined: Jul 2011
  • Gender: Female
  • Location: IN
  • Surgery: LAP-BAND
  • Surgeon: David Diaz
  • Surgery Date: Aug 2011
  • Starting Weight: 263 lbs
  • Weight Lost: 93 lbs
  • Current Weight: 170 lbs
  • Goal Weight: 150 lbs
  • BMI: 29.2
Posted August 22, 2011 - 5:15 PM

I, like others, originally wanted the Lap-Band. My surgery was even scheduled for it. I knew a woman (we're not close) who lost over 150lbs on the Lap-Band and I thought it sounded fantastic because it was "minimally invasive" and "reversible".

Then, through lots of my own research, I slowly changed my mind. The long-term complications sounded unbearable. I want to eat "normally" for the rest of my life (in much smaller portions!), and not worry about all of those things like "morning band" and getting "stuck". I stayed with the decision for the Lap-Band so long because my family thought it was safest and they were happiest with it. Finally, 2 days before surgery, I changed my mind and rescheduled to the sleeve. It's my body, and I don't want to have to suffer.

I'm only 9 days post-op, and it by no means has been easy. I threw up constantly the first few days, but now I feel better. I'm mourning food, and hate this post-op liquid only diet. But, all of this will pass. I look forward to not "productive burping" the rest of my life. I didn't want the long-term "complications" (or side-effects, I guess) that came with the Lap-Band. Dr. Aceves in Mexico is my surgeon and I live in Ohio, so no way would I have adequate aftercare by going to Fill Centers USA.

Thank you for posting this.


    Bariatric Master

  • Posts: 1,028
  • Joined: Jul 2011
  • Gender: Female
  • Location: WA
  • Surgery: Gastric Sleeve
  • Surgery Date: Dec 2011
  • Starting Weight: 308 lbs
  • Weight Lost: 168 lbs
  • Current Weight: 140 lbs
  • Goal Weight: 158 lbs
  • BMI: 23.3
Posted August 22, 2011 - 8:40 PM

My mom was banded last October (she has had a few fills, no unfills . . . seems to do OK with it but she has had a few puking/sliming episodes). She's losing slowly but steadily and is overall happy with it at this point. That said, when I started researching I too thought it would be the 'safest' option for me. However, my surgeon indicated that lapband is NOT recommended for patients with ulcerative colitis or crohn's, and that's when he recommended the sleeve to me. I had never even heard of it 6 months ago! I started researching here and on OH and couldn't believe the revisions from LB to VSG. I am totally thrilled with my decision!!


    BariatricPal Host

  • Posts: 3,508
  • Joined: Jul 2011
Posted August 23, 2011 - 8:42 AM

Okay, I have been banded since March 2001 (and need to have the band removed now due to slippage) and while I am NOT a band advocate I feel that some of what was stated was not exactly right on target with my experiences, for example
-there is no reason to be unfilled when you fly/travel. I traveled ALOT for business in the first year I was banded (as in several times a month for that first year) and I never had a problem whether it be planes, trains or automobiles.
-I have never experienced or heard of this mucus thing... sounds like someone who is way too tight

This night cough is reflux and is a very serious issue. It means you can't eat within many hours of bedtime and for some people it means you need to sleep with some elevation of your head. That for me was one of the biggest problem of the band and ultimately the reason I had to have all the fill removed.

One thing I experienced, and this was more after the first 9-12 months was that I felt hunger even when my pouch was full. It was not a nice experience.

Finally, was the level of restriction. I lost well if I was pretty tight and that could be coped with over the short term. Over the long term, that leads to all sorts of complications like dialation etc.

My opinion now is that there are several false logics in terms of how the band works over the long term.
First the idea is that if you have the bad experience of upchucking food it will train you to not overeat. Throwing up with the band isn't like vomiting from the flu. I aint saying it is nice, but I don't think it trains people to eat better. In fact, you are much more likely to have problems with dense proteins and veggies (okay, and bread) then any other types of food so I would say that the vomiting when you overeat actually trains you to eat poorly.

The other false information is that it is easily reversible and is the lowest risk WLS. Well, they can take the band out, but it has created scar tissue... so it is not like you return to normal immediately. I feel that at the time I was banded, this was not clearly communicated AT ALL. The actual surgery is quite low risk, but the risk of complications approaches 100% over the long run. Are people told that the band will likely have to be removed at some point?

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

Recent Status Updates

View All Updates

Topics with No Reply