As with any surgery, there is always some initial discomfort from stitches and swelling around the incision areas. You will be given a prescription for pain medication before you leave the hospital. Take the medication as prescribed.
Most banded patients can resume normal activities within 1 week after surgery, with full surgical recovery within 2 weeks. Everyone is different so don’t be alarmed if you feel the need to take longer to resume your activities. Even if you are feeling good, it is still important to make sure you have frequent rest during your first three-five days home as your body is still recovering from the effects of surgery. Some patients experience some shoulder pain which is a result of the gas used during the procedure. You can take an over-the-counter remedy such as “Gas-X” to relieve the discomfort.
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What is a Fill?
The Lap Band is completely adjustable. A fill is the term used to describe the “filling” of your Lap Band with saline solution. This adjustment to your band is what gives each patient the restriction necessary to eat less food and ultimately lose weight.
Adjustments are performed without surgery using a thin needle to inject or withdraw saline from the band via the access port. They can be done in an office setting or can be carried out in the X-ray department under fluoroscopy. Most adjustments take 10 to 15 minutes and patients say they are nearly painless.
Do I Need a Fill?
Fills happen at different times and at different levels for each patient. This is due largely in part because each individual’s anatomy is unique and each patient’s weight loss journey is at their own pace. One fill may be at the “perfect” fill level for one person but may not be enough for another. Due to all of the variables, it is not an exact science.
Your first fill can be done at least 6-8 weeks after your surgery. Some patients are in need of a fill at this time, while others have slight restriction after surgery, even without a fill. There is no rush to get a fill if you are losing on average about 1-2 lbs. per week. Once your weight loss has reached a plateau and you haven’t lost any weight for at least 3 weeks, you are probably in need of another fill.
As you lose weight the size of your stomach actually shrinks making the restriction of the band seem like it is becoming loose. Actually, your stomach is the one becoming smaller. Fills are needed to keep the restriction necessary to lose weight.
On average, our patients usually require 3-5 fills in the first year as they are losing the majority of their weight. Once you get to your goal weight, a fill and fluoroscopy is recommended at least once a year.