Top tips after Gastric Band Surgery
If you are suffering from constipation after your Gastric Band Surgery, prune juice, lactulose, or milk of magnesia is our first choice remedy. Please try to avoid Senna as this causes cramp like pain and can cause purging.
For trapped wind, peppermint tea, peppermint cordial or chewable wind relieving agent that can be purchased from the chemist are recommended.
Avoid carbonated drinks - can cause pouch and stomach distension.
Do not drink whilst eating - causes pouch distension, vomiting and flushes food through the band.
Avoid chewing gum - can cause obstruction if swallowed and stimulates appetite. This can also be the cause of trapped wind.
Sip fluids continually throughout the day to prevent dehydration.
Many beverages contain caffeine which is an appetite stimulant that can be detrimental to weight loss.
Eliminate high calorie drinks such as milk shakes, alcohol and juices.
Frequent snacks slow down weight loss, however, you should not go for long periods without food.
Stop eating when you are full, or if feeling any discomfort. Do not eat when feeling rushed or stressed.
It is normal to get pleasure out of food. Since you are restricted to small portions make sure you only have the best.
Vitamin supplements are recommended (essential for bypass patients) as most patients do not get enough through their diet. Even with daily vitamin intake some bypass patients develop a vitamin B12 deficiency; therefore we recommend a vitamin B12 injection every 3 months via your GP.
Exercise - this helps you lose weight, increases strength and balance, boosts energy and improves quality of life. We recommend that you make exercise part of your daily routine.
For Gastric Band patients, this time is so important to you. At 6- 8 weeks post operation your band can normally be activated. Your first and subsequent band adjustments are normally performed in clinic by our Bariatric Nurse Consultant.
The band will be adjusted via the port underneath your skin and fat. Although this requires skill using a special needle, and saline (salt water). This should not be painful.
Adjustments under X-ray are usually performed if your port is difficult to access, or if there is a problem that cannot be properly diagnosed in the clinic e.g. a band slippage. Once the nurse is happy with the adjustment you will be required to have a drink prior to leaving so we know you are safe. For many patients it is important to understand that your first adjustment may not be effective and that subsequent adjustments may be required in one of our clinics to reach the desired restriction for you.
Everyone is different and all patients are sensitive to restriction with differing amounts of fluids. Your patience and flexibility is required at this time. It is tempting to compare your adjustment with other patients, please remember, everyone is different.
Please be aware that there is a small risk that an adjustment in clinic may not be achieved due to the depth and/or position of the port. Therefore, a further adjustment under X-ray may be required resulting in a further appointment, which may be at your own cost.
Each time you have an adjustment you will be required to follow the protocol of 3 days of fluids, 3 days of soft diet, and return to eating normally on the 7th day. This will allow any swelling that may occur to subside and a realistic assessment of your restriction to be made. Appointments for adjustments are made not less than 2 weeks apart, so the previous adjustment has settled down and the risk of over filling the band is reduced.
Gastric Band surgery has both physical and psychological effects. You need to consider this before your procedure. Some of the feelings that you may experience include depression, frustration, anxiety, loss, and excitement. Short term, the rapid loss of food is often a cause for distress. Although you have elected for a weight loss procedure to resolve your obesity, weight loss also changes the lifestyle you knew so well, but it cannot solve your personal or relationship problems.
You can expect your family and friends to have varying reactions to your surgical experience and weight loss. Whilst you are adjusting to a new life, they are also adjusting to the changes in your body and your behaviour. We are here to support you through the changes with personal consultations and support groups.
Time off work
The time you take off work depends on many things. This includes the kind of work you do, your general state of health, motivation and energy levels.
It is important to remember that you are not just recovering from your procedure, but eating very little and losing weight. We would therefore advise you not to rush back to work too quickly. We would recommend a couple of days off if you have a gastric balloon, approximately 1 week off work if you have a gastric band, and approximately 2 weeks off work if you have a gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy or conversion surgery. Some patients do not wish to tell their employers what kind of procedure they are having, and some do not tell family members. This is your choice and we will help you manage it appropriately.