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Frequently Asked Questions about Weight Loss Surgery

Below are several frequently asked questions and answers; if you have a question that is not answered here, please consult your surgeon.

What are the benefits of the adjustable gastric band System versus other types of weight loss surgery?
Unlike the gastric bypass, the adjustable gastric banding system doesn't involve any stomach stapling, cutting or intestinal re-routing. It can help you achieve steady, healthy and safer weight loss, with a shorter recovery time.

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How long is the average recovery period?
The average hospital stay is less than 24 hours. Typically, it'll be about a week before you can go back to work, and about a month to six weeks before you can start exercising again. In the case of open surgery, or if there are complications, recovery may take longer.

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How many band adjustments are suggested?
Don't be in a hurry to have multiple band adjustments - this is a long-term weight loss management program. Your adjustments depend on your individual case and considerations such as how fast and well you are healing post-surgery. Many patients have between five and eight adjustments within the first year after surgery, while others may have only a few. Adjustments are customized to meet your individual needs.

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What fluid is used to fill or adjust the band system?
Sterile saline (salt water similar to tears) is used to fill or adjust the band system. Saline is used commonly in medical applications as a filler, hydration and cleansing solution.

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Will I need to take vitamin supplements?
You may. It's possible to not get enough vitamins from three small meals a day. At your regular check-ups, your specialist will evaluate whether you are getting enough vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron. Your surgeon may advise you to take supplements.

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Why are diet and exercise important after having weight loss surgery?
Remember that weight-loss surgery is not a quick fix. The band system is a powerful surgical tool that can help you lose weight, but your motivation and commitment to a new lifestyle are the real keys to your success. If you don't follow the post-surgery nutrition and exercise guidelines, your weight loss success with the band system may be greatly reduced. For example, you should NOT drink any liquids with your food. Liquids pass straight through your upper stomach pouch and into your system. There, you absorb their 'empty' calories (high calorie drinks such as milkshakes or soda), and you won't feel full. Therefore, you may not lose as much weight as you could. In addition to the new nutrition plan, regular exercise helps you lose even more weight, and most importantly, it will also help improve your overall health and wellness.

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Can the band system be removed?
Although the adjustable gastric banding system is not meant to be removed, it can be, in some cases laparoscopically. Surgeons report that the stomach generally returns to its original shape once the band is removed. After the removal, though, you may gain more weight.

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What are the risks and complications associated with the surgery?
As with any surgery, there are risks associated with the band system procedure. These include the standard risks of any surgery, such as infection. Other risks include, but are not limited to, nausea and vomiting, band slippage, band erosion, and access port problems. To obtain detailed risk information, please talk to your doctor.

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Can I become pregnant after the procedure?
Becoming pregnant can be easier as you lose weight. Your menstrual cycle may become more regular. In addition, the band system's adjustability feature supports pregnancy. If you need to eat more while you are pregnant, the band can be loosened. After pregnancy, the band may be made tighter again and you can resume losing weight.

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Does the band system require frequent visits to the surgeon after surgery?
Check-ups with your surgeon are extremely important and highly recommended before and after the procedure for long-term success. During the first year after surgery, patients typically visit their surgeons every four to six weeks, although that will vary from patient to patient. Band adjustments can be made during these visits.

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Will I need plastic surgery for the surplus skin after I have lost weight?
This is not always the case. As a rule, plastic surgery will not be considered for at least a year or two after the operation since the skin will sometimes mold itself around the new body tissue. Give your skin the time it needs to adjust before you decide to have more surgery.

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For more information or to find out if weight loss surgery is right for you, please call
(229) 434-2032.