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What to Expect with Lapband Surgery

Baba Wawa


So, you're going to have weight loss surgery. If you've never had surgery, the experience might be a bit more traumatic than it was for those of us who've had multiple surgeries of varying types.


Here's what to expect:Usually, the first thing is the IV. The IV tech will start a line with saline, to insure you're hydrated and there's a vehicle, so to speak to carry the drugs you'll be given before, during and after your surgery. It doesn't really hurt...I've had them in the back of the hand and inside the elbow. Each bag of saline is about a liter (over two pounds) and this weight will show on your scale for some time. Don't freak out about this...


Usually the anesthesiologist will come in and introduce themselves, ask some questions and tell you what they're going to do in the OR. This person is fully responsible for keeping you alive during surgery. They ventilate you, regulate your BP; this is the most important person to you in the OR.The surgeon usually comes by too, to reassure you, ask a few questions, before going into the OR.


Once you go to OR, they'll usually have you scoot onto the table off the gurney, make sure your comfortable and then proceed with anesthesia. First, you'll be given 100% oxygen and told to take some deep breaths. Take as deep of breaths as you can, since this O2 is what sustains you while being intubated. Once you've taken the breaths, you get another drug to make you "sleep" followed by a drug that basically paralyzes your abdominal and breathing muscles (pretty much all muscles, but the heart). You'll quickly be intubated and put on a ventilator for life support. The entire process is completed in less than a minute.


When you wake up, you'll be very groggy, want to go back to sleep and you may be uncomfortable. Tell the recovery nurse if you're hurting. You might be nauseous from anesthesia. Tell the nurse. Anti nausea drugs can be given thru the IV. After your vitals are stable and you're alert, you'll go to another room to recover. Sometimes, if you're doing great or if your hospital has this protocol, you'll be discharged straight from the day surgery recovery without being moved to a room.


For the trip home, you should have loose fitting pajama bottoms, a warm top, robe or sweatshirt, socks and slippers. You'll also want a pillow to put under the seatbelt in the car. You'll want a barf bag too, just in case for a day or two.


Once home, you'll be most comfortable in a recliner, though I slept in my bed the first night, on my side facing the edge of the bed. Practice getting in and out of bed without using your abs before surgery. It will hurt, it won't kill you. I've had open abdominal surgery and lap surgery, while still painful, cannot hold a candle to open abdominal surgery. You will live.


To get up do the following:

Roll onto your side

Use your elbow to push upHave someone rotate your legs and feet to floor

Push off with your hand to get fully upright...wait a minute to make sure you're not dizzy

Stand with assistance. Wait a minute to ensure you're not going to faint.

Reverse to get into bed.

Always, for the first couple of days, have someone with you whenever you get up or down and while walking.


I cannot emphasize enough that your discharge orders and doctor's diet, hydration and exercise orders should be followed EXACTLY. If you have a question, call your doctor. Don't post here. If you get a fever or can't drink water at all, call your doctor immediately. Nausea should subside within 8-24 hours. If it doesn't and you need a medication for it, call your doctor. Do not post here until after you've called the doctor and please state that you have called so we don't all tell you to call your doctor.


Another thing...definitions:

Clear liquid means you can see through it

Full liquid is things like runny cream of wheat, puréed cream soups, protein shakes. NO LUMPS.

Mushies or Purees is the consistency of baby food. No chunks., no lumps. Smooth is your friend.

As you progress to solids, remember that babies don't go from puréed baby food to a NY steak in one day. Hopefully you practiced your new eating habits for a couple of months pre op to establish them as your new lifestyle. Transitioning from purees to solids is a gradual thing. Add a little finely ground turkey to a puréed food at first. Add ONE new food per day. After you tolerate ground meat, poached eggs, tuna salad, egg salad, etc, you can try cutting your food into 1/4" pieces and chewing 15-25 times per bite.


Initially you won't get many calories in...500-700 calories, focusing on protein. You'll gradually get up to 900-1000 or more depending on your needs, per your nutritionist or doctor. Drink your water as directed too.The first weeks post op aren't for losing weight. You might not lose anything, but most people will lose the IV weight and a pound or two a week. Once you're on solids, your weight will go up a pound or two...filling the intestinal pipeline :). This is normal.


Fills are not the goal with the band...they are another tool to use when your weight loss levels out and/or you're hungry less than 4 hours after eating a meal of 1/2 cup to 1 cup of dense protein and low glycemic veggies/fruits. Go easy on the fills. Being over tight is the #1 identifiable cause of band erosion and slips.Many with the band are so focused on getting fills, they don't realize until they have a little unfill, that their band can work better with less fill.


You can go out to eat with your band. Sharing works great. I ask for a small plate and put my food onto it immediately. I cut up everything before taking a bite. I eat very slowly and if my companion is having a glass of wine, I'll have one too, to sip as I eat. I don't do this at home, most of the time. Alcohol was not permitted for 3 months post op by my doctor. You'll get a little more tipsy on less due to abstaining for months. Your band has no affect on alcohol absorption. You probably shouldn't drink on an empty stomach, ever, band or not.


I hope this is informative and helpful!


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