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Frequently Asked Questions
Will I need plastic surgery for the surplus skin when I have lost a lot of weight?
That is not always the case. As a rule, plastic surgery will not be considered for at least a year or two after the operation. Sometimes the skin will mold itself around the new body tissue and in the majority of people this is the case. You should give the skin the time it needs to adjust before you decide to have more surgery.
Once you have lost the weight and you wish to consider plastic surgery, we could help you. We will be able to make some suggestions and recommendations about appropriately experience plastic surgeons.
What about pregnancy?
Becoming pregnant can be easier as you lose weight and your menstrual cycle becomes more regular. It is strongly advised you speak to your surgeon if you are thinking about getting pregnant. Nutritional support is vital in this period.
Will I need to take vitamin supplements?
As you will be eating much less, it is highly recommended you take daily multivitamins. Your dietitian will make a recommendation about a multivitamin to guarantee that you are getting enough vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron.
What about alcohol?
Alcohol has a high number of calories, and can also break down vitamins; The occasional glass of wine or alcoholic beverage for special events is ok.
Can I eat anything in moderation?
Around 5-6 weeks after your procedure you will start to eat solid foods again.
As your meals will be smaller, it is imperative you eat foods full of important vitamins & nutrients, and not eat or drink foods which are high in sugar & liquid calories such as milkshakes, juices, soft drinks etc.
The dietitian will provide guidance & education regarding healthy eating habits in your pre and post-operative sessions.
For further information, refer to the booklet provided by your Dietitian.
How much weight will I lose?
Weight-loss results vary from patient to patient, and the amount of weight you may lose depends on several things. The band needs to be adjusted to the optimal weight loss zone, the Greenzone, and you do need to be committed to your new healthy lifestyle & eating changes.
Obesity surgery is not a miracle cure for sustainable weight loss, however, you could look at the LAP BAND® as the best tool you have to do the job properly. The kilos won’t come off by themselves.
It is very important to set achievable weight-loss goals from the beginning and the CWLS nursing staff will help you to set these goals. A weight loss of 0.5 – 1 kg a week in the first year after the operation is usually possible.
Twelve to eighteen months after the operation, weekly weight loss is usually less. Remember that you should lose weight gradually. Losing weight too fast creates a health risk and can lead to a number of problems. Your main goal is to have weight loss that prevents, improves, or resolves health problems connected with severe obesity.
Do I have to be careful with the access port just underneath my skin?
The access port is placed under the skin, in the deep muscles of the abdominal wall; Once the port incisions from your procedure have healed, there should not be any discomfort caused from the port.
If you feel any discomfort is it important to contact us as soon as possible.
What will happen if I become ill?
If you find you are unwell or are having difficulty with your band, it is imperative you contact us as soon as possible.
Maintaining regular contact with us is the key to your weight loss success, and if you are unsure of anything it is best to contact us to discuss your queries.
Remember, your success is our number one focus; our extensive experience & knowledge of the procedure is your best support.
How do the weight-loss results with the LAP-BAND® compare to those with the gastric bypass?
You should focus on long-term weight loss and remember that it is important to lose weight gradually while reducing obesity-related risks and improving your health.
Will I be sick a lot after the operation?
The LAP-BAND® System results in you not feeling hungry and may limit your food intake. If you feel nauseated or sick on a regular basis, it may mean that you are not chewing your food well or that you are not following the diet rules properly. However, it may also mean that there could be a problem with the band so you should contact us if this problem persists. Vomiting should be avoided as much as possible. It can cause the small stomach pouch to stretch. It can also lead to slippage of part of the stomach through the band, which would reduce the success of the operation. In some cases, this may require another operation.
How long will it take to recover after surgery?
If LAP BAND® surgery is performed laparoscopically, patients typically spend one night in the hospital and are discharged the next day. Most patients return to work in about a week and can resume exercising in four to six weeks. In the case of open surgery or if there are complications, recovery may take longer. Please ask your surgeon at CWLS if you have any specific queries.
Does the LAP-BAND® require frequent office visits after surgery?
As the LAP BAND® is adjusted to your needs, regular follow-up visits and contact with our team is required to ensure you have the best possible outcome.
We will see you around a week or so after your procedure, and then every 4-6 weeks during the first twelve (12) months.
Your adjustments are bulk billed for the first two years and then there will be a small out of pocket cost after two years.
Does the LAP-BAND® limit any physical activity?
Your LAP BAND® does not affect physical activity; regular exercise is key to your new healthy lifestyle.
How is the band adjusted?
Band adjustments are performed in our clinic rooms.
The adjustment process is relatively quick & simple, and involves your doctor passing a fine needle through the skin into the access port;
Saline is then added or withdrawn to the band to ensure you are in the optimal zone for weight loss (the Green zone).
Can the band be removed?
The benefit of a LAP BAND® is that the procedure is fully reversible, and can be removed if need be. The band is removed laparoscopically, the same way it was inserted. It is important to understand the LAP BAND® is a tool for weight loss, and if removed you may regain some of the excess weight you lost.
Will I feel hungry or deprived with the LAP BAND?
The LAP BAND® System assists with weight loss by applying a constant pressure to the top of the stomach, making you feel fuller on a much smaller amount of food.
As the food slowly passes through the band, it sends a signal to the brain that the stomach is full.
It is important to follow the nutritional guidelines we suggest, and ensure you chew your food thoroughly and take your time eating.
How long will I be in hospital for?
Generally, you can expect to be in hospital for approximately 4 days. Mr Low will discuss length of hospital stay and surgical risks at your first consultation.
Will I be in a lot of pain after the operation?
The gastric sleeve is performed via keyhole surgery, so it is less invasive and recovery time is generally much quicker. Tenderness at the small wound sites is expected and each patient experiences this differently. Pain medication can be prescribed to help minimise discomfort. Shoulder tip pain can also affect some people immediately after surgery. This is referred pain and feels like a dull ache in the shoulders or neck. It is caused by irritation of the diaphragm by the gas that is used during the procedure to inflate the abdomen. Our nurse will educate you during your pre-operative appointment, and give you tips to help relieve any discomfort in the post-operative phone call.
How long will I need to take off work?
We recommend you take 2-3 weeks off work to allow enough time for your body to recover and heal. If your job requires physical exertion it may be worth speaking to the surgeon about an appropriate time frame for recovery.
What sort of dietary changes can I expect to make?Dietician Helen Bauzon will guide you through the dietary changes in your first dietician session. The first step involves preparation for surgery with a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) which aims to reduce the size of the liver, making surgery safer. Immediately after surgery you will be placed on a fluid diet for 2 weeks to allow your new stomach to heal. From there you will use a weekly step up program and move from soft, semi-solid and full solid diets.
Due to the reduced size of the stomach, the portion of food you will be able to have per meal will be vastly different to what you would normally consume. Typically, you will start with half-cup portions per meal to avoid overstretching. This may increase to a cup per meal by the one year mark. Helen provides ongoing support and guidance throughout your journey.
When can I resume regular exercise?
You will be encouraged to get up and moving quite soon after your procedure. In the hospital, it is important to mobilise to avoid blood clots, and it also aids recovery.
All patients are encouraged to start a walking programme once they are discharged from hospital.
As everyone recovers differently, post-operative improvement will vary from person to person. Please consult your surgeon for clearance to begin or resume strenuous activity at work or exercise.
In the long term, you must incorporate exercise into your daily routine (at least 30 minutes per day) to help maximize the results of your weight loss surgery.
Exercise helps by increasing the number of kilojoules burned. When you exercise and build muscle, your metabolic rate increases, resulting in the burning of more kilojoules. The more you exercise the more beneficial it is for you in the long term.
When do I need to come back for postoperative appointments?
Your first post-operative appointment occurs 10-14 days after surgery with our nurse who assesses your wounds and provides ongoing support and education. Mr Low reviews each patient a month after surgery. Depending on your progress, surgeon review appointments will occur every 3 – 6 months or yearly. Dietitian Helen Bauzon will see patients 2 months, then 6-8 months after the procedure and is readily available to answer your questions in between appointments.
Intra Gastric Balloon
How is the Intragastric Balloon inserted?
- Using a swallowing process the deflated balloon is inserted into the stomach via the food pipe (oesophagus)
- Once it enters the stomach the balloon is then filled with sterile water via a self-sealing valve
- No surgery is required and the procedure usually takes 20–30 minutes
Is the procedure painful? Are there any symptoms?
Some discomfort is common for the first few days as your stomach adjusts to the balloon. Nausea and vomiting can occur for up to 72 hours after the procedure.
How is the Intragastric balloon removed?
- The balloon is first punctured and the sterile water is suctioned out of the body through a tube
- The deflated balloon is then removed through the oesophagus
Do I have to follow a diet after the procedure?
Once the balloon has been inserted, you will be placed on a fluid diet for the first week in order to allow the stomach to adjust to the change. You will then transition to a puree and soft diet over the next 2 weeks, returning to your usual full solid diet. A dietitian will guide you on appropriate meal options. This dietary transition will also allow you to start developing a healthier perspective on food, and teach you to retrain your appetite.
Am I a candidate?
To qualify for the intragastric balloon procedure one must be:
- Overweight with a BMI of at least 27
- Motivated and ready to fully comply with a serious, medically supervised program of diet and exercise.
In addition, there are certain medical reasons why you may not be eligible for the intargastric balloon. You may not be a candidate for the procedure if any of the following conditions are present:
The following should be discussed with your physician at the time of consultation:
- Previous history of GI surgery, obstruction, adhesive peritonitis or large hiatal hernia
- Severe renal, hepatic or pulmonary disease diagnosis
- Chronic, long-term NSAID treatment
- Unwillingness to adopt the dietary habits critical to the success of the therapy
- Drug or alcohol addiction in the last 12 months