My mother is having a stomach banding operation – anyone have experience of this?

So, my mother, who has been morbidly obese for years, is having a stomach banding operation. She goes in for the operation in December. I know this is going to be a hell of a thing for her to go through, but hopefully it will be worth it. She has so many health problems associated with her weight (diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease) and such a poor quality of life (she can hardly do anything around the house, so just sits in a chair watching TV for most of the day – even walking out to the car leaves her exhausted and out of breath) that this has to be a good thing.


I have no idea what to expect here. Does anybody have any experience with this? Whether it’s yourself or someone you know?

How did it go? What was it like? Was it successful? Were the lifestyle and eating habit changes permanent? Did the weight stay off? Tell me the good and the bad stories – I want to know what sort of things I can expect, where pleasant or not.

Thanks for anything you’d like to share.

A friend of mine just had it done. It’s no fun. You basically live on pureed food for about a month. Plus she got a yeast infection over her whole body, which was quite serios. On the plus side, she’s lost a lot of weight…

I had an RNY instead. Lap Band is the easiest type of gastric surgery on the patient, FWIW.

With any type of gastric surgery, you have to be fanatical about sticking to the diet that is prescribed, and doing the exercise program, or the weight will come back. Lap band has one advantage over the others: the capacity of the stomach can be adjusted easily via a fill procedure, which expands the band, thereby compressing the stomach and reducing the volume. This is done in the doctors office by injecting saline into a reservior under the skin.

With my RNY, I lost 120 lbs, regained about 25, and I had to get back with the program to start losing again. About 10 lbs of that 25 are gone, and it’s going very slowly. There will be a honeymoon period where you seemingly can’t screw up, but it doesn’t last. Once it’s gone, weight loss is as hard as it was pre-op.

I was reasonably athletic before surgery, so I had no problems exercising. I did a 2 mile (slow) walk 5 days out.

She needs to follow all of the instructions the doctors give her, be they post-op care, diet, exercise, lifting. Don’t miss any appointments, either.

I won’t argue the merits of the various types of surgery, nor can I describe what would likely happen afterwards since lap band is not part of my experience. I will welcome her to the Loser’s Bench, though. :wink:

I had the lap-band done…wow, almost six years now! Doesn’t seem that long.
No major problems. I lost over 100 pounds and have kept it off. I did find that after I transitioned from weight loss to weight maintenance after the first couple of years that it was more important to keep an eye on what I eat, but I’m still a heck of a lot better off than I was back when I carried around all that extra weight.

I’ve always been pretty good at bouncing back from surgery so for me the operation’s recovery time wasn’t bad at all. A little sore, but definitely still able to get around and do things after the first few days of taking it easy.
The initial phase of living on pureed food is kind of boring but also makes you lose weight fast (it goes more slowly once you eat solids again) so it’s not all that bad really.
I think that in the overwhelming majority of cases, the band ends up being a lot easier to live with than being morbidly obese is. Good luck!

This is commonly called lap band; searching on that will get you lots of hits. I do pre-surgical psychological evaluations and speak at support groups for lap band patients. Most do very well, but you really have to stick with the program. You can find lots of info at

Great, thanks for the info guys. (I didn’t even know it was called a Lap Band procedure - great link Brynda, thanks.)

My main concern in this is that she’s not going to stick to a healthy diet after losing the initial weight. She’s never been good at eating healthily or in moderation, and I don’t know how she’s going to learn new habits after a lifetime of bad ones. (She’s 58, if that makes any difference.) And she eats more chocolate than should be legal. Plus, she suffers from depression, tied in with her body issued and incredibly low self-esteem. I’m really concerned that the toll of the operation, the phsyical trauma of the whole procedure, the lifestyle changes, and her mental health issues are goona make this really tough. But it’s good to hear some success stories.

Eeeee! Was the yeast infection anything to do with the procedure? Is that common? Anyone else heard of this?

Thanks again folks.


I haven’t had it done, nor do I personally know anyone who’s had it done, but I have my finger on the pulse of statistics behind it. Though I believe that the results are not as good as those who get a RNY, they are still very positive. I’d be happy to provide numbers just so long as I don’t violate any HIPAA regulations.

It’s a condition called thrush, and it commonly happens with use of heavy antibiotics like those used in conjunction with surgery.

Antifungals help a lot, but the condition will usually clear when the antibiotics are stopped and the normal bacteria come back.

ETA: TDN, HIPAA is violated when you name names. Statistics don’t count.

Yeah, I know, but I worry about proprietary data. Some of our stats were published in a white paper recently, though, so I’m probably OK with sharing those.

I got one but only in my vagina from taking anti bios for acne…it was awful. I can’t imagine having it all over my body! :eek:

The vagina is almost ideal for fungal infection, because it’s warm, moist, and dark. The mouth, too. My then toddler son had a nasty case of oral thrush from the antibiotics he took for a persistant case of tonsillitis.

Please note that I am not implying anything lurid in mentioning these two portions of the anatomy in the same paragraph. This is a clinical discussion afterall, not pr0n.

I had weight loss surgery, though I had the full gastric bypass and not the lap band. I considered the band as an option when I was making my decision and decided against it because of it’s need for continual maintenance and lower success rates than for a roux en Y.

Just like everyone else said, it will be really important that she follows the rules after surgery. If you are able to, make sure she has a good pre-surgical program. She’s an adult, so if she knows what she’s getting into and is ready to make that change, she will do great!

Yes, complications are possible, and maybe you should know about some of the more likely ones. However, I know the lap band is much less intrusive and dangerous than the roux en Y (which may be why she chose it?) so there’s no need to get overly worried about surgical complications.

I wish her the same success I had. I had no complications, have never had any nutritional deficiencies, and lost 100% of my excess body weight (175 pounds of it). I had surgery 4 years ago and am maintaining my new body weight. It’s not EASY now to stay on track, but I’m definitely in control and have a better time of staying fit than I did previous to surgery. That said, I’m completly vigilant about it and stay VERY active.

Maybe you should make some plans to exercise with your mom if that’s possible! That would be fun for you both!

Does she realize just how much she is going to have to change - not just the physical type and amount of food she eats? And does her doctor know all about her depression? Is she willing to do the work? The surgery will physically limit what she can eat. It will not make her happy in and of itself. It will not cure depression. It will not make her automatically like fresh veggies instead of chocolate. Please, please please make sure she goes to the after-care therapy.