Gastric Band FAQs: What You Need to Know


Adjustable gastric bands, including LAP-BAND® and REALIZE®, can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight by safely limiting the amount of food you eat. If you are considering the treatment, you likely have concerns. Dr. Liza María Pompa González and her team at LIMARP in Tijuana, Mexico, believe in patient education and have provided answers to common questions about gastric band surgery

How Much Weight Will I Lose?

The rate and amount of weight loss will depend on several key factors. First, the band needs to be in the optimal position to correctly restrict volume. Second, the patient should incorporate improved eating habits and other guidelines following their surgery.

Gastric band surgery can be a very helpful tool in a larger weight loss strategy. Under the right circumstances, a patient can expect to lose two to three pounds a week, although one pound a week is more typical. Weight loss should be gradual in order to maintain your health and safety and usually tapers off at about 12 to 18 months after surgery.

Gastric band patients can expect to lose two to three pounds a week, although one pound a week is more typical.

Is Gastric Band Surgery Safe?

Placing a gastric band has a very low risk of complications both during and following the procedure. This safety factor is a large reason why many patients choose gastric banding over other bariatric surgeries. In fact, a morbidly obese person who is 100 pounds or more overweight has a much higher risk of mortality within five years than succumbing to complications from gastric banding surgery.

How Is the Band Adjusted?

Gastric bands are surgically placed around the stomach, then connected to an access port on your abdomen just beneath the skin. This portal allows for Dr. Pompa to add or take out saline water through the tube, thereby altering the size of the stomach. Adjustments can be performed to slow or hasten weight loss and do not require an operation.

What Is It Like to Eat with a Gastric Band?

You should plan on following a special diet the first month after gastric band placement, consisting of mostly liquids and then pureed foods. Soft foods can be gradually added, and then more solid foods. This diet is essential to allow your stomach to heal and allow you to adjust to eating with the band.

Most patients are eventually able to eat most foods in small portions so long as they chew carefully and eat slowly. Some patients find it difficult to eat chewy or fibrous foods, like steaks and some raw vegetables, but food tolerance depends on the individual.

Can I Feel the Band?

Patients sometimes notice their gastric band while eating. The access port along the abdomen may also feel sore soon after surgery but this side effect should resolve on its own.

Is the Band Removed When I Reach My Goal Weight?

An adjustable gastric band is intended to stay around the stomach permanently, but it may be removed if needed or desired. The stomach usually returns to its original shape after the band is removed. Many patients regain the weight they had lost, and sometimes more.

Is Gastric Band Surgery Covered by Insurance?

Obesity is considered a major health risk. Many insurance carriers cover all or part of bariatric procedures to reduce patients' risk of weight-related health complications.

Learn More about Gastric Bands

Having a gastric band like LAP-BAND and REALIZE placed can achieve tremendous positive changes in your health and quality of life. Dr. Pompa can address additional questions and concerns during a consultation. Message our office online or call (619) 270-8823 to schedule an appointment.

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