A gastric band operation can be daunting for most, in this blog we talk you through the process from start to keep you informed & put you at ease.
Having gastric band surgery is a big step for anyone. Knowledge and information about the journey will help to reassure and empower you. Get ready for this lifelong commitment by: planning for your procedure, understanding what will happen during the gastric band fitting and being aware of the expectations and determination required following surgery.
You’ll discuss with your weight loss surgeon your goals, your lifestyle aspirations, what the gastric band procedure involves and the changes and motivation needed to ensure its success. A lifetime commitment to a new diet and maintaining a regular exercise plan is required.
Let your bariatric surgeon know the full details of your medical history and general health as failure to do so could affect your recovery.
If you smoke your surgeon will ask you to stop smoking for at least 30 days before and after your gastric band surgery. Smoking can affect healing of the incisions and increase the risk of infection and complications.
You’ll be advised to get into the best possible shape before gastric band surgery by starting gentle exercises such as walking.
You’ll need to follow a pre-gastric band diet for two to three weeks beforehand to prepare your body for surgery. It’s vital you get into good habits as soon as possible. Start eating smaller portions of healthy food. Practice eating slowly, chewing each morsel of food about 15 times and putting your fork down between bites.
Stock upon liquids such as fruit juices (low sugar), thin soups and skimmed milk beforehand in readiness for the initial liquid only diet.
Tell your surgeon all the medications you are taking or plan to take throughout recovery.
Make sure you have plenty of pain killers as you may experience some post-surgery discomfort.
Arrange for someone to drive you to the hospital and home afterwards. It’s also useful to have someone at home to take care of things straight after your procedure.
Fitting your gastric band
You’ll be given a general anaesthetic before surgery to put you to sleep to ensure there is no pain felt during the procedure. Your weight loss surgeon will make several small surgical cuts in your abdomen through which they will place a tiny camera and the instruments needed to perform the surgery. They will place the gastric band around the upper part of your stomach creating a small pouch with a narrow opening into the larger, lower part of your stomach. Gastric banding surgery takes up to an hour and you’ll stay overnight in hospital.
The first few weeks afterwards
After your gastric banding procedure you’ll be encouraged to get up and move around as soon as you are able. Getting mobile as soon as possible will reduce the risk of blood clots and chest infections.
For the first 24 hours after surgery you’ll only be allowed to have small sips of water. You’ll gradually start a liquid only diet for two weeks, followed by two weeks of semi-solid pureed foods and then solid foods.
Life with a gastric band
Your new stomach will mean eating smaller meals. It can only hold about a quarter of a cup to a full cup of food at a time. Don’t over eat as your stomach may stretch over time or it may cause you to vomit. Keep within your calorie guidelines. With a gastric band your calorie intake will normally be between 1000 to 1200 kcal per day.
Follow the advice of what to eat and any post-surgery dietary guidelines from your surgeon or dietician. The emphasis will be on a well-balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, protein and carbohydrate. Make sure you eat the protein foods first as these are the most important. Eat your meals slowly and chew all food thoroughly.
Don’t eat and drink at the same time. Try to drink plenty of water between meals. Don’t drink fizzy drinks.
It’s important to "listen to your band" and how you feel when you eat different foods, tweaking your diet and eating habits accordingly.
Your gastric band will need to be adjusted four to six times in the first year after surgery. The first fill will be around six weeks after the procedure once your stomach has healed. These fill adjustments make sure the band is not too tight, too loose and to encourage continued weight loss.
A regular exercise plan will also help the weight to come off. Start off gradually and increase the length and pace of exercise as you feel ready. Choose exercises that you enjoy or that can be incorporated into your daily routine.
Be prepared for a rollercoaster of emotions as you progress through your weight loss journey. Ensure you have a good support network to help you through the difficult times and to celebrate your achievements.
About Ramsay Health Care Weight Loss Surgery Services
Ramsay Health Care is a leading provider of weight loss surgery in the UK. Whatever weight loss treatment option you are considering Ramsay offers weight loss procedures that are performed by highly qualified and experienced bariatric surgeons who have undergone intensive training in their speciality.
This content is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your Consultant Surgeon would give you.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss one of these procedures in more detail.