The Basics of Lap-Band Weight Loss Surgery

If you're the type of person who simply doesn't have the discipline to follow a strict weight-loss diet regularly, then weight-loss surgery would be the next best solution for you. There are a lot of weight-loss surgical procedures out these days but the problem is, what if you shudder at the thought of some surgeon cutting your body up and coming up with really ugly scars after the procedure? The answer? Lap-band weight loss surgery.

But that's still surgery!

With the lap-band weight loss surgery, you would still end up going under the knife. The good thing about this procedure is that it's the least invasive and it produces the smallest scarring. With this surgical procedure, the doctor just makes 6 really small (about 1 cm) incisions to insert a silicone ring around the upper part of the stomach. Placing the ring around the stomach produces a smaller pouch for the food you take in so you would feel full even after eating small amounts of food. You eat less, ergo, you lose weight.

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The small incisions mean minimized post-operative pain and lesser trauma compared to other weight-loss procedures. In lap-band weight loss surgery, full recovery takes 6 weeks although most patients can actually go home immediately after the procedure.

The ring is adjustable according to the preferences and needs of the patient. Immediately after surgery, the silicone ring is empty. Over time especially when a weight-loss plateau is reached, the surgeon can insert saline inside the ring to tighten the stomach. So if you feel that you haven't really lost the expected amount of weight, then you can have the surgeon adjust the band to make your stomach smaller. The same goes when the desired effect has already been reached. The saline can also be lessened or removed according to the effects on the patient's weight. The fact that it's reversible ensures that you wouldn't lose more weight than what is safe.

So after lap-band weight-loss surgery, now what?

Patients who went through lap-band weight-loss surgery follow a strict diet. For the first 3-4 days following the surgery, you are only to take in clear liquids. Caffeine and carbonated drinks are not allowed as they cause the stomach to bloat thereby increasing its size. This could make the silicone ring slip which would require another surgical procedure.

For the next couple of months, you can only take in modified liquids. Modified liquids include soup, protein shakes and baby food. After that, you are free to take in food that was shredded by the food processor. Your diet should contain only fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, you'll also need to say goodbye to meat because it's going to be difficult to get this through your stomach's small opening.

Protein is very important after the lap-band weight loss surgery. The stomach can only hold a relatively limited amount of food so each morsel counts. It's better to take in food containing balanced amounts of nutrients and fiber as well as considerable amounts of protein for energy.

You must also remember to eat slowly and carefully after undergoing lap-band weight loss surgery. Your stomach is much smaller than before so it can only take so much pressure. If you're going through certain medications where you need to swallow pills, you may want to talk to your physician about alternative methods because pills and capsules are usually too big for the stomach opening to take in.

Exercise will still be essential after the lap-band surgery. About 30 minutes a day should do it on the first few months following the procedure. Make sure to at least rest for 2-3 days before going through any activity that would require a lot of movement like driving or working.

It goes without saying the lap-band weight-loss surgery would require a drastic change in one's lifestyle. People who enjoy eating in large amounts may find it difficult to adjust to the diet after the procedure. Therapy and support groups would be a big help for patients who find it hard to focus on their motivation for weight-loss. To lessen the shock due to a change in diet, try to adjust your diet to prepare yourself for what you would encounter after going through the lap-band weight loss surgery.

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