Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding is a weight loss surgery that uses the Lap-Band system to reduce the amount of food that the stomach can hold. Losing weight alone is not always easy, which is why many patients are candidates for bariatric surgery like the Lap-Band. It is currently the second most popular weight loss surgery in the United States, but patients need to fulfill a series of eligibility requirements as well as to consider numerous factors before making a decision to undergo the procedure. In addition, prior to the surgery there are preparations that need to be made.

What to Consider Prior to Deciding for a Lap-Band

While physicians evaluate patients’ overall health, need for bariatric surgery, and eligibility criteria, patients also need to consider if undergoing the surgery is what they want. There are other non-surgical medically supervised weight loss programs that could be options as well. In addition, patients need to understand the risks associated with Lap-Band surgery, the potential results, and the commitment needed both before and after the surgery. A Lap-Band system does not provoke weight loss on its own — it helps patients in the weight loss process but needs to be accompanied by a healthy diet and regular physical activity.

Patients will have to commit to numerous medical visits and be willing to make lifestyle alterations that start even before the surgery. Preparing and adopting new habits before Lap-Band surgery helps improve the results after. A Stanford University School of Medicine study entitled “The Effect of Preoperative Weight Loss before Gastric Bypass: A Systematic Review” demonstrated that the more preoperative percent initial body weight loss, the more the percent total body weight loss, calculated from subtracting percent total body weight at initial consultation from achieved percent total body weight after surgery.

Lifestyle Alterations Prior to the Lap-Band Surgery

“The procedure and related dietary protocols are relatively new to registered dietitians in the US. Several preoperative weight-loss strategies and dietary protocols exist and their use varies among bariatric surgeons. One surgeon may require a 10 percent weight-loss or more from their patients before surgical placement of the band and another may require their patients not to gain weight during the preoperative screening process, using their initial weight as the baseline value,” as explained by the organization Obesity Action Coalition. The nutritional regimen required to the patients may range from a total liquid diet, very low calorie diet, or controlled carbohydrate for a determined period of time.

These requirements depend on the evaluation of the medical team and aim to ensure the patients’ nutritional status and safety prior to the surgery. Another concern includes the patient’s liver condition, since an enlarged, fatty liver is common in morbidly obese patients and can create difficulties during the procedure by obstructing the surgeon’s view or increasing the risks. Therefore, it is common for the physicians to monitor reductions in the liver size prior to the surgery. According to the organization, dietitians provide a framework of guidelines to help patients understand, learn and embrace how these goals may be achieved.

Life behavior alterations may include eliminating bread, rice, pasta and potatoes, crackers, chips, pretzels, or any other high-carbohydrate snack food, cookies, cakes, pies, candy or any sugar-sweetened food, sweetened drinks and full-strength juices, processed, fast, fried, breaded and saucy foods. In addition, patients may need to privilege protein foods, such as very lean cuts of beef, game, lamb, pork, poultry, seafood, eggs and soy foods, fresh vegetables and fruits, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Plan meals to ensure proper food choices, drink at least 64 ounces of water daily, avoid the use of alcohol, taking a multivitamin and mineral and calcium supplement and initiate a minimum of 10 minutes of daily activity may also be recommended.

Overall Preparation After Scheduling the Lap-Band

Right before the Lap-Band surgery, the health care team will provide patients with instructions about how to prepare for the day. Patients will be submitted to lab tests and exams before the surgery, in addition to the dietary restrictions. Physicians will also control the medication taken by the patients and will require them to quit smoking. In addition, it is important to remember the details that need to be planned for the days after the surgery and recovery, including home or work arrangements.

Patients may feel nervous about the Lap-Band surgery, but other patients who have already experienced the Lap-Band can help them through the process, which will culminate in a milestone to a changed and healthier life. The day before the Lap-Band procedure, it is mandatory for patients to follow the recommendations in order to reduce the possibility of side effects. The two general guidelines for the day before include not eating or drinking anything the night before since the stomach must be empty to minimize surgical risks, as well as asking a friend or a family member to be at the hospital to offer both comfort and support.

Note: Obesity News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Find Out More