Lap band surgery

My wife has struggled with her weight for years and is now scheduled for lap band surgery on July 8. She really wanted the gastric bypass but because of other circumstances the surgeon felt that the band was the safest and easiest procedure. I’ve read up on the procedure, talked with friends who have gone through it and also talked with the surgeon, but I would love to hear from any Dopers who have either done it or known someone who has done it. If you could answer some of these questions I would really appreciate it:

• During the two weeks before surgery she has to go on a liquid only diet. Everyone I’ve talked with griped about the shakes they had to drink (mostly Atkins shakes but some other varieties). Besides blending them with ice, is there anything to help you get through that period?
• In the first couple weeks after surgery, what were the easiest foods to tolerate and what were the worst? Recipes (such as they are) would be great.
• I understand that bypass patients can experience “dumping syndrome” if they eat sugary/fatty food. Does this happen for band patients?
• How quickly did the weight fall off? You don’t have to give a lb/kg weight. Just a percent of excess weight would be a great indicator of what we can expect.
• If you were Type 2 diabetic, did it improve your condition? If so, about how long did it take?
• Same question for hypertension.
• How did you deal when the weight loss hit a plateau?
• Did you have any complications and what should we watch out for?
• Did anyone have to have the band removed?
• Did anyone have problems with new addictions? I’ve heard about some bariatric patients developing alcohol, smoking, gambling or even sex ( :smiley: oh god, I hope so) addictions to compensate for the loss of the emotional comfort that food used to give.

Any success stories would be great, too.

For all of the other abdominal surgeries my wife has been through over the years, this one has got me the most nervous for some reason. I’ve already promised her that I will be doing the dieting with her (I’m 50 lbs over so my dieting will be via food and exercise, not surgery) and together we will lose the weight so we can celebrate our 50th anniversary together in 2039.

I wish her luck. I’ve not had the surgery and don’t know anyone that has, but I suffer from an Eating Disorder on the other end of the scale. The first few times I tried to stop I substitued one addiction for another and ended up in rehab for alcohol and sleeping pill addictions. Now I’m aggressively addressing my issues around food with a therapist, and it’s making a huge difference. I suggest she consider the same tactic.

Thanks for the encouragement. She has been in counseling for a number of years and understands the dynamics of her food addiction. She will continue with the counseling afterwards to help with that as well as other issues. Good luck to you.

This will probably be the kick in the butt she needs to change her eating and exercise lifestyle. I’m sure with your and her therapists support she can get into a healthy lifestyle. I know part of the reason overweight and obese people don’t get the exercise they need to help lose the weight is because it simply hurts too much.

I have a very overweight friend who has a goal of running a mile straight by September 15th. This morning she tried running for the first time in ever and stopped after 6 seconds because her knee hurt too much. It’s very discouraging and is a vicious cycle.

I’m not entirely sure what surgery my dad had, if it was stomach stapling or something like that, but he did go through a similar process.

  • He found that some orange extract mixed with the chocolate protein shakes worked for him during the liquid diet.
  • He actually remained on a liquid diet for the three weeks following the surgery.
  • After the three weeks, when I spoke to him he said he’d lost something like 30 pounds.
  • He got the surgery because of his diabetes, and as far as I’m aware it’s improved his condition to the point that he no longer needs to take insulin shots. This was effective as of the night before his surgery; because he drank only liquids before the surgery his blood sugar stayed low enough not to need it.

My sister had the lap band, I’m pretty sure. It nearly killed her. What was supposed to be an same-day surgery grew overnight when her blood sugar level spiked to a dangerous high. It’s a good thing it did, though, because they found since they kept her that something (I don’t remember what) was nicked during surgery and she was bleeding internally. If she’d gone home, she could’ve had very severe consequences. As it was, she ended up spending nearly a week in the post-surgical ICU area. They did surgery two more times trying to stop the bleeding before it worked. After surgery she’s had a number of problems. I also don’t feel she’s following the program as she should be.

I hope your wife has an uneventful surgery and goes on to lose the weight she needs to.


My fiance had the surgery long before I met her, so I don’t have much advice to give other than good luck and I hope all goes well. The surgery worked very well for her; people who meet her now usually have to be shown photographic proof that she was ever even overweight let alone mordibly obese. She wears a size 6 dress now. But she always says that she didn’t lose all that weight because of the surgery, she lost it by working her but off and dieting and exercizing. The surgery just gave her the just start she needed.

Also a caution. There were some complications and she ended up having a full gastric bypass surgery a year or so after the lap band surgery, so my biggest advice is don’t skimp on the follow up visits to the doctors. That was her problem. She was young and stupid and when the band slipped didn’t go to see a doctor right away. It almost killed her. But she is an advocate of the surgery over full bypass (now that she has lived with both) and does recommend it as a way to help move yourself towards a healthy lifestyle.

Good luck to you and your wife.

I’m a happy, healthy lap-band patient. If your wife needs more firsthand advice and support I strongly recommend the site over at

Can’t help with the shake thing since I didn’t do a pre-op diet (heck, one of the reasons I had the surgery is because I couldn’t stick to one of those shake diets :stuck_out_tongue: )

Didn’t her surgeon give her a post-op diet to follow? If he insisted on a pre-op diet, I’m surprised he wouldn’t tell her exactly what to eat in those critical first few weeks after surgery. Most surgeons ask their patients to stay on liquids for the first few weeks to allow the band to heal without the stomach being distended by solid foods. Ask him about it to be sure.
Anyway, if the doc provides no post-op diet, I’d suggest sticking to liquids at first and then very slowly work your way up to soft foods. Popsicles, sorbet, pudding, BLENDED soups, etc. Better to do this than risk dislodging the band before it has healed.

Nope. The reason that happens to the bypass folks is because when their stomach pouch is created by the surgeon they lose the sphincter at the bottom of the stomach that controls the rate at which food flows into their intestines. Since lap-band patients (and duodenal switch patients, which is a different, more radical kind of weight loss surgery) retain their normal stomach anatomy, they don’t experience this.

It comes off more slowly than the bypass, so DO NOT freak out if it doesn’t seem to be melting right off immediately. Usually people lose a lot of weight the first few weeks due to the post-op liquid diet, but then it slows down again once you restart solid food until you have found the right level of tightness for the band.
For me it was a pretty steady loss, though I forget the exact rate. Maybe five pounds a month.

As noted above, I lost pretty consistently, no real plateaus.

I had no complications. Definitely alert the doc if she has any problems with vomiting, fever, severe pain, or a sudden drastic change in how much food she can eat (either suddenly being able to eat a lot more, or suddenly being unable to eat anything - either of which could indicate the band has slipped out of place).

Nope. Five years so far and still going strong.

Heh. No new addictions here. But, then, I don’t buy the idea that ALL obese people are addicted to food. I firmly believe that some of us chubby folks - perhaps many of us - just don’t achieve satiety as easily as other people for whatever physiological or biochemical reason. It’s not a character issue, an addiction, or a mental illness. Becoming thinner and realizing I was still the same person as before helped me realize the truth of that, actually. :slight_smile:

Anyway, I wish you and the wife well with your plans! It definitely helps if you have a loving, supportive person on your side through something like this.

Atkins canned shakes are actually pretty good, all things considered. Is it a real chocolate shake made from ice cream? Well, no, but it’s not bad. I like the Chocolate Royale flavor personally.

Hope she gets everything out of this surgery that she is hoping for! :slight_smile:

I had a form of weight loss surgery called the biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch; in this surgery, they cut out most of your stomach instead of stapling it off, and then re-route your intestines so that you malabsorb most of the fat you eat, as well as some of the protein and some of the complex carbs.

I occasionally have to drink protein shakes, and here’s my favorite recipe:
2 scoops Pro Complex powder in chocolate flavor (55g of protein)
4oz milk (4g of protein)
1 tsp. instant coffee granules
1 splash DaVinci sugar-free caramel syrup
4 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix well, until the drink is frothy and the ice cubes are pulverized.

This sincerely tastes like an iced coffee drink from an expensive coffee place, and packs nearly 60g of protein.

Best of luck to your wife!

Damn, Norine, that sounds awesome! I think I’ll try it!

It really is. It used to be you could only buy the DaVinci sugar free syrups online. But now, most coffee shops use them and sell them, and even Wal Mart has a limited selection.

EAS CarbAdvantage is less disgusting than Atkins brand shakes – but stay away from Vanilla. yeek. (generally speaking, Atkins brand is the worst-tasting product in its market, and I say that as someone who had a great deal of success with Atkins as a diet plan.)

Trader Joes also sells a low-sugar protein shake mix that isn’t too bad.