Weight Loss Surgery - Thinking about getting the lap band surgery,any insight??

02-12-2013, 01:25 AM
Hello out there (: I am 21 226 pounds standing at 5'5. Ive struggled with weight since I was little. Thinking about getting the lap-band surgery. Has anyone had this and have any insight on it. Oh and I do exersise moderately and starting to eat right so I know that's the best way to lose it but im ready to try a different method- please help

02-12-2013, 09:58 AM
let's start with a few basic Qs - why are you interested in the lap band rather than one of the other surgeries? and what does your primary doc think about this? have you gone to an information session or seen the surgeon?

Many people get their hearts set on one surgery or another without talking to their docs about what's best FOR THEM.

in general - the lap band is great for people who are relative lightweights and who can take their time losing it. They're willing to go to their surgeons for fills on a regular basis, take their vitamins, and so on. Having said that, there are indeed people who have lost huge amounts of weight - they've worked every aspect of the band possible.

The other restriction-only procedures - like the sleeve gastrectomy - are having excellent success as well. Part of your stomach is removed. You don't have to see the surgeon for adjustments.

And then there are the surgeries that have a malabsorption component added to them - the RNY [where they section off your stomach but surgeons are also starting to do the sleeve gastrectomy instead], and the duodenal switch. better weight loss than the lapband, you don't have to go in for adjustments BUT there's also a higher risk of vitamin deficiencies

You have to look very carefully at how you're willing to live and what you're willing to do when choosing a surgery. there is no one right answer.

so, darlin, start talking!

02-13-2013, 11:26 AM
Hi! (waving)
I had lap band surgery in November 2008 - lost 85 lbs in 14 months :carrot:

I chose the lap band because it was adjustable, and because I didn't want the permanent surgical changes to my digestive system that were a part of the gastric bypass procedure. The sleeve was not available when I had my surgery - pretty much I was given the option of a bypass or the band.

I've found the band to be good for me - it IS for people who are more self-directed and self-motivated. Because it's up to you - like a lot of the procedures - you can exercise control over how fast you lose or IF you lose. I know people that have lost NOTHING with the band - because they've learned how to "eat around it" and haven't gotten their 'head game' right - I've struggled with that as well.

I think you have to get as much information as YOU need to make an informed decision for yourself. Think about your personality - are you the type that wants to be more 'in control' of the procedure and the rate of your weight loss? The band may be for you...

Are you in a situation where you need to lose the weight as fast as possible to stave off negative health effects and to regain your mobility? The bypass may be for you - I know people that chose it because of the more rapid rate of weight loss that's possible.

Remember that whatever decision you make, it's for LIFE. I will never have my band removed, though that is an option. I know ME - I would not be able to control my food consumption effectively without "Jillian" (yes, I named my band after the psycho trainer on The Biggest Loser).

My daughter also has a lap-band - and her progress is a bit slower than mine, but still where she wants it to be. I have no issues with malabsorption, don't have endless visits to my doctor (I think I've had 4 adjustments), and other than eating more slowly, people around me wouldn't even know I have a band. Another important factor: Exercise! I started by walking, worked up to running, and now exercise is a big part of my life - and I feel a big contributor to my success!

Of course, I'm an advocate for spreading the word about these life-saving surgeries, so lots of people in my community know about my band, but that was a personal choice. Sometimes all we need is to be able to ask someone "live" what their experience has been in order to feel more comfortable.

Hope this helps - and good luck to you in whatever you choose! :D

02-17-2013, 11:26 PM
Too many terrible experiences out there with the band. You will have this foreign object inside of your body that you regularly have to go get "fills" for to keep you being able to have restriction. Realistically, in the future, something bad is going to happen with the band and it will probably need to be removed. It isn't a permanent solution. Please do research on the gastric sleeve. It is the best decision I have ever made.

02-18-2013, 12:25 AM
Hey girl,

It is so great that you found a place that people can help you understand some of these procedures a little better. I had a very similar body type to you before my WLS and the same age. I feel like the lap band is a good choice for some but definitely not for everyone. I got the duodenal switch and am exactly 8 weeks post op and feel great. Three things that I really thought about before getting surgery was 1. long term commitment of vitamins, protein, etc after surgery 2. having malabsorbtion v. restrictive surgery. and 3. cost of each surgery compared to the others. I know that the things that affect each person are different but those are just a few things to consider.

Good luck with your journey and please contact me if you have anymore questions :)

02-18-2013, 10:48 AM
While there are SOME people who have had negative experiences with the lap band - in addition to people having negative experiences with OTHER weight loss surgeries - it has a history of success both overseas AND in the United States. :D

I know of many people - personally - who have had success with the lap band. I also know personally of many people who have FAILED with the gastric bypass - one of whom regained all the weight she had lost and then some. :o

The gastric sleeve is fairly new, but I'm sure there are negative stories about it as well...my point? There are negative stories about each and every weight loss method out there. Some people will succeed no matter what procedure they choose, and some will only succeed if they find a surgery that fits their lifestyle and their personality (which I believe is an overlooked factor).

I don't think it's helpful for ANYONE to write off one type of surgery or another - it's up to the individual to do their research and find what works for THEM. I would NOT go a different route - if I had to do it all over again, I'd definitely choose the lap band again. :D

I do not have ANY problems with malabsorption, don't have to take mega doses of vitamins, and have NO experience with "dumping" syndrome as bypass patients do. Yes - I do have periodic appointments for "fills" but only when I NEED to go. If my weight loss slows down and I decide with my doctor that a fill is in order, I go. Others have gotten slight "unfills" when they get closer to their goal weight in order to slow down their weight loss. It's NOT a huge deal.

Even though I am a lap-band patient, I would not discourage anyone from getting a bypass (or a sleeve) if that's the best solution for THEM. Do your research and choose the surgery that works for YOU in cooperation with your doctor. :)

Too many terrible experiences out there with the band. You will have this foreign object inside of your body that you regularly have to go get "fills" for to keep you being able to have restriction. Realistically, in the future, something bad is going to happen with the band and it will probably need to be removed. It isn't a permanent solution. Please do research on the gastric sleeve. It is the best decision I have ever made.

02-18-2013, 01:38 PM
agreed, Diva - we're not haters on this site - the only reason i left Jpye's post up is because she decided that the sleeve [another restrictive procedure] was the right one for her.

There are MANY reasons to choose one surgery over another, and it's an intensely personal decision. So, the recommendations - which appear in every single post on this thread - are to do the research and talk with the doc.

[but i gotta add on a personal note, that if the sleeve had been available way back when i had my surgery, i would have given it VERY serious consideration. But, i'm not sure my surgeon would have allowed it or any other restriction-only procedure. He turned me down for a lapband because i was so ill going into the surgery that he didn't think i could live long enough to get a benefit from the lapband. I ended up with the gastric bypass, and it's worked out over the years].

02-20-2013, 03:13 PM
Hi there,
I came to this forum for other reasons, but saw this topic and thought I could give some insight. I was also 21 when I had the lap band. I'm not sure what the post op procedure is like now, but I wasn't allowed solid food for one week and then I was on a graduated diet for several weeks after that. That really wasn't bad because I was in enough pain that I didn't care about eating and wasn't hungry. The pain wasn't horrible by any means, I had surgery on a Thursday and was shopping at the mall on Saturday, but I was very sore and slept in a recliner for three or four nights because it was too difficult to get up out of bed.

Anyway, on day 7 I was allowed to egg scrambled eggs and I was so excited because I was so hungry! I ate them and immediately had the worst pain I'd ever had in my life and then I threw up. The pain came from eating too fast and too much at one time. Your doctors and their staff will stress the importance of slow, small bites. For me, when I wasn't eating slow enough or small enough bites, I would get very sick and it caused a good amount of pain.

The following 10 or so months brought me a lot of misery. I could never eat small enough bites or slow enough to suit my band. I spent a lot of time throwing up after meals. And it would be embarrassing to go to restaurants and have to go to the bathroom 5 or 6 times during a meal. I learned that I could drink coffee - or any hot drink - and that would help me eat. I would have a lot of days where I wouldn't eat enough and my sugar would tank and I would feel horrible.

Every time I went in for a fill, I told them about this and they'd give me their party line - Eat slow! Take small bites! I got so sick of hearing the same thing that I stopped talking about it altogether. Around the 9 month mark things got a little better, but I soon found out when I went in for my fill/check at 10 months that the month before a PA in training had poked hole in my tubing and my band was essentially rendered useless.

Now, it is very unlikely that someone would poke a hole in your tubing, but it is a possibility that you will probably be warned of in the beginning. However, there are a lot of people I know who've had the band who have the same problems with eating and vomiting. I had what fluid was left in my band removed over five years ago and sometimes, it still acts up and I throw up if I eat something like bread too early in the day. I lost about 40 pounds in 9 months, which was pretty good, but I gained it all back and then some.

So here's my advice, talk to your doctors about it, both your family doctor and your surgeon. You will probably need your family doctor's support anyway. Asking questions on forums is good, but you'll probably only draw out people like me who've had bad experiences or people who are rockin' the band. In weight loss surgery (and in life), the vast majority of people fall somewhere in the middle, but the vocal ones are always outliers.

Lastly, understand that no matter which you choose, it's only a TOOL. You've got to get your head straight about losing weight. It's not going to be easy. Plan ahead. Figure out what you're going to eat and how and where and when you'll exercise. Winging it is never a good option. I pray that you are not like I was at 21, I knew everything and it brought me a lot of hardship. The earlier you learn there are no easy outs, the better off you'll be.

Be blessed!

02-23-2013, 06:26 PM
Some excellent advice here. Thank you all for sharing.

I'm considering a band also. I have been struggling with my weight for most of my adult life. I have had some good success with the usual healthy eating and exercise route but only for limited periods of time. Up to a year or two. I think I would benefit from a tool that would help me stick with it permanently. I have about 100 lbs to lose. I'm fine with it taking a couple of years to come off and I am uncomfortable with having parts of my digestive tract removed or rearranged and don't want to have to deal with malabsorption. I have been to several seminars and have my first appointment with the surgeon on Friday. My insurance doesn't cover WLS so cost is part of the equation but lap-band and sleeve are very close in cost in my area. I will be sure to ask lots of questions at my appointment to make sure I am making the best decision for me.

02-24-2013, 09:56 AM
absolutely, petra! and we'll always be happy to help if we can. one point to remember as you go through the process: it's one thing to lose the weight. it's quite another to keep it off - permanently. In fact, that's exactly what made me decide to go for WLS. it offered me the best chance of taking it off and keeping it off. and if i played by the rules, i'd be able to lose any regain.

and that's exactly what's happened over the past [gulp] 11 years since the surgery [hard to believe it's been that long!]

02-24-2013, 12:05 PM
Thanks jiffy pop. I've been reading everything I can find...both good and bad. I have some good questions for my appointment. What I do seem to be learning is that it is still more about your head than your stomach.

03-01-2013, 07:20 PM
Hey! I am also considering my options.. lap band vs. sleeve. My sister got the sleeve recently by Dr. Mehran at the Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence in Beverly Hills, but she was a very different case than I am. I think its different for everyone.
I have an appointment with Dr. Mehran and I plan on talking about my options with him to see exactly what is best for me. He has done hundreds of lap band, gastric bypass, AND sleeve so I know he will give me an honest opinion.
But I do know that before your surgery you have to do your best to eat right and work out before the surgery. My sister worked really hard to get healthy before her sleeve surgery, and even though she wasnt drastically losing weight, it prepared her body for the surgery that was about to come.

Good luck and please keep us posted on your decision! GO US! :carrot:

03-04-2013, 10:32 PM
I haven't been around here for a long time. On a whim, I decided to check in to see what people say about the sleeve. I had a sleeve in July 2012. I had always thought I would have a lap band. I'm so glad I didn't. Although many people have had success with their lap bands, there are lots of people who have had serious complications. First of all, you have a foreign object in your body. Many people have experienced erosion into the stomach. There is a lot of reflux that accompanies the lap band. The lap band can slip, and require other surgeries. I did not want the 'upkeep' of going in on a regular basis for a fill. That involves finding the 'sweet spot' in the volume of saline (I think that's what it's called), and many never find it. Some are unable to swallow pills because of the restriction.

The sleeve has also been around for decades, although not exclusively for weight loss. It's been used to remove ulcers and treatment for stomach cancer. I weighed 283 on my day of surgery. Today I weight 155, and I wear a size 8 and a small/medium top. I would weigh less and wear a smaller size if I could have plastic surgery. I have a an apron belly, but you can't see it in my clothes. It definitely affects my clothing size.

If you've researched the sleeve, you know that 80ish percent of your stomach is removed. You are left with the muscular part which is key to not experiencing regain (although some have regained). The part of the stomach that is removed is the part that produces the hormone grehlin (the hunger hormone) so I'm rarely hungry. I no longer crave sweets which was an enormous problem before. I can easily walk past any food, although I'm able to tolerate and partake in any food in moderation.

I have a really good friend who was a lightweight (right around 200 lbs, and she is 5'8" tall). Her insurance wouldn't cover her surgery, so she paid for it out of pocket. She has done great as well. Even though she had to pay for it without insurance coverage, she has no regrets either. We had both planned to do lap band initially and had visited different surgeons. After my surgery, I had to go in one week post op, 3 months, 6 months, and one year. I was in the hospital for 2 days, and felt 100% at 3 weeks. My sleep apnea disappeared 2 weeks after surgery. I went home off blood pressure meds and meds for insulin resistance. My joint pain is gone.

I agree that WLS is a very personal decision, but I know I made - without question - the best decision for me. I would hop up on that surgeon's table every day to have the life I have now.

Best wishes to you with whatever decision you make!

03-05-2013, 11:17 PM
I don't think there is going to be a simple 'yes' or 'no' answer here - it's something that you have to decide for yourself. I had the lap band done 8 years ago now and had it taken out 3 years ago. During the 5 years I had it in, I gained about 35 - 40 pounds.

It didn't work for me at all and I wouldn't recommend it to others for that reason. My experience was that I would begin eating a meal, the food would get "stuck" (rather than make me feel full) and I would either have to throw it up (which I tried desperately not to do) or wait around for hours until it passed through the band. Once the food has passed through, I was just as hungry as I was before I had started eating. So I would eat again, and the same thing would happen. I still craved food as much as I ever did, I never felt full, I ate as much as I used to (albiet it took a lot longer), and I was constantly uncomfortable when eating in front of other people.

That being said, my mother also had the surgery done (years before I had mine) and she was very "successful" - if you consider losing weight successful. She lost almost 130 pounds. However, she did it very unhealthily. Her food would get stuck too and she would throw it up and keep eating, throw it up and keeping, throw it up and keep eating. I used to tell her she essentially had bulimia, even if she wasn't inducing the vomitting herself. She ended up having to have hers removed too because it began eroding her stomach.

Ultimately, I have had/witnessed nothing but negative experiences with lap bands. However, I have heard of others having some very good ones and I guess it depends on your mindset and your body and your situation. If you're willing to change your entire lifestyle to make the band work, then it could be a fantastic decision for you. I think it's important to talk to your doctor, surgeon, dietician, and surgeon-appointed therapist so you can make the most informed decision. Good luck!

03-20-2013, 11:46 PM
I hate to say it, especially as this is my first post in this forum, but my Lap Band experience has been awful. I had it put in in 2004, and had all the fluid removed in 2005, but I still throw up an average of once a day. That's a lot better than it used to be: The real kicker for me was the SECOND time I threw up on another person's plate...at a business lunch.

Unfortunately, I really never know what is going to make me throw up. The only things that definitely will not are exactly the things I should not be eating: mashed potatoes, ice cream, really soft pasta. Sometimes even liquid, even water, will come right back up. And often I have to bring it up deliberately, because I'm having trouble breathing.

Did I lose weight? Initially, yes: I lost about 18 pounds. But after the first month or so, I don't believe the band helped me at all. Certainly it never lessened my desire for food or gave me a sense of fullness, as I had been told it would. And puking is not generally recommended as a weight-loss strategy.

I know that some people have had real success with the band, but my experience has been a disaster -- so much so that I'm paying out of pocket to have it removed next month.

Wishing you all the best.

03-21-2013, 11:07 AM
hey booklish - you've had your band for what - 8 years? 9 years? and this has been happening all that time? wow. I'm assuming your surgeon scoped you and confirmed that it was placed correctly? For some folks, the band works great, but for others, not so much.

Once you have it out, are you going to try another surgery or work on doing it the old fashioned way? whatever you decide, you're always welcome here.

03-21-2013, 07:11 PM
Hi Jiffy, no, I dont believe they scoped me, though I could be wrong: The overwhelming response I got from them -- NYU Bariatric, FWIW, and the surgeon was George Fielding -- was that it was my fault, that I should be ashamed of wasting their time, and that I was a bad little fat girl. And, since I had a great deal of training in this notion, I bought into their explanation, and chalked it up to yet another failure in the dieting world. I never had it removed because the one doctor with whom I discussed removal told me I needed to have Fielding take it out, and I was afraid of being made to feel ashamed. Stupid, I know. Anyway, it wasn't until a few months ago that I started looking around online and discovered that, actually, quite a lot of people had had bad experiences with the band, and it occurred to me that perhaps I wasn't such a bad little fat girl after all.

I am scheduled to have the band removed as part of a process of getting a DS. I'm waiting to hear about insurance clearance, but have made it clear to the hospital that I will self-pay if necessary.

03-21-2013, 10:16 PM
ummm. booklish. that's no way for old George to be behaving. i worked with a guy who was friends with him - and George did his band. George took really good care of his buddy, but i was never impressed with him. who's doing your surgery now? there are a couple of guys in NYC that i'm a HUGE fan of ...

and PS - you shoulda come here SOONER!!!! honest!!!! we would have talked some sense AT you .. whether it would have gotten through or not, well, not responsible for that!!! :lol: :rofl:

NYU's program is excellent - and was one of the first, but it's not for everyone and there are more modern, compassionate ones around.

03-22-2013, 02:31 PM
I'm heading to NY Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. It's a hospital I know well, and for which I have a lot of respect

03-22-2013, 11:12 PM
a better choice. Lenox Hill and Bellevue both have surgeons I trust. They respect their patients, and in my mind, that's one of the things that makes a huge difference.

03-25-2013, 12:31 AM
I had the VSG done on 4/04/12. When I initially went in for my consult (~Aug. 2011) I was really leaning toward the band. I liked the idea that it was adjustable & there were other reasons that I really can't remember now :o. My sister had the VSG the year before & was very successful, so I wasn't unfamiliar with that procedure. When I talked with my surgeon, he said that he wasn't doing the lap band procedures any more because he found that there were too many complications vs. successes & he was recommending either the bypass or the sleeve. Between the two, it was an easy choice for me--I did not want a drastic re-routing or to have to deal with malabsorption. Granted, that was only my personal experience, but I would think very hard, do a ton of research, & look for a really good surgeon with a high success rate before choosing the band.

03-25-2013, 11:44 AM
I so appreciate all the comments here. I am new to this forum, but not new to attempts at weight loss. After trying every plan on the planet, I am giving some thought to WLS. What I gather from your comments is that a conversation with one's doctor is probably the best way to start. I am 56 and I wonder if my age will factor into her recommendation about which type to consider. I have not ruled out "one more attempt" at losing the weight with traditional diet and exercise, but - well, we all know about that "one more attempt." Thanks for everyone's honesty and willingness to share. I hope that you are all still doing great on weight loss since your surgeries. :)