Lap Band Fills: 5 Essential Facts to Know

Lap Band Fills, Marin Weight Loss & Wellness

If you’ve had weight-loss surgery and the placement of a lap band (gastric band), you may have lots of questions. The procedure involves the insertion of a silicon band around the upper portion of your stomach. A balloon is located on the inside of this band, which is attached to a tube and port located just under your skin.

The band and balloon affect the opening of your stomach, so you can only eat a certain amount at any given sitting. To reduce the size of your stomach, the band needs to be filled with saline solution.

During a fill, we insert a needle into the port that lies under your skin. The needle injects saline that inflates the balloon, which squeezes your stomach to create a smaller opening. When the balloon, or band, is inflated, you feel full faster and can’t eat as much. This restriction in food quantity can lead to weight loss.

Here are some other things our experts at Marin Weight Loss & Wellness want you to know about lap band fills:

1. Finding the right fill level

If your lap band is overinflated, you may find it hard to eat and become nutritionally deficient. But, if our team underfills the band, you won’t get the weight-loss outcome you’re after.

No magic trick helps the medical team know the right fill level for you. It comes through a process of trial and error. You may need to make several regular visits to our office when you first have the lap band to find the ideal fill level for you. Typically 3-5 visits within the first year of the procedure are necessary.

2. Frequency of fills

For the first year that you have the lap band, you may need frequent visits. In following years, you’ll usually schedule two yearly visits to make slight adjustments to the band.

How frequently you’ll have the band adjusted depends on your levels of hunger, how much you’re eating at meals, and the types of food you’re eating. Another key indicator of whether your band needs to be filled more is your weight loss. If you’re not losing weight, you may need a bit more saline in your band.

3. Judging tightness

An overfilled lap band can cause serious side effects. These include vomiting, coughing throughout the night, and pain when eating solid food. In some cases, your band can slip and you feel full much sooner than you did when you first had the band placed. Pain or redness at the site of the port is another indication that your band needs to be adjusted.

4. Discomfort during filling

When you have your lap band filled, you typically do not feel pain. The needle used to fill your port enters fatty tissue, which is less sensitive than other tissue. The fill time doesn’t take long, so you don’t feel a sensation for long either.

5. You can gain weight

A lap band is a not a standalone solution for weight loss. You also have to be a willing participant and choose healthy foods for your smaller portions. Otherwise, you may still gain weight with the lap band in place. Be honest with the team at Marin Weight Loss & Wellness about what you’ve been eating and whether you’ve been exercising.

When you share openly with us about your experience with the lap band, we can help you adopt strategies to be most successful. Plus, if you’re finding discomfort or facing pitfalls, we can help you overcome them. If you’d like to discuss your lap band or see if it needs an adjustment, call one of our offices in Greenbrae or Novato, or book an appointment using the online tool.

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