Having your gastric band adjusted
Your surgeon placed a band around the upper part of your stomach to create a small pouch to hold food. The band will limit how much food you can eat by making you feel full after eating just small amounts.
The gastric band has a balloon in it that contains fluid. A tube comes off the band and leads to a port. This port was placed under your skin near the muscle of the abdominal wall.
When fluid is injected through the port into the balloon in the band, the band becomes tighter. When you eat, you will feel full sooner, and the feeling of fullness will last longer.
Your surgeon can make the band tighter or looser any time after you have this surgery. Adjusting the band will make food pass more slowly or more quickly through your stomach pouch.
When to have your band adjusted
In the first year after gastric banding surgery, most people will need several adjustments before they are losing weight at a good rate. Your band will be adjusted until it is at the tightness for you to lose weight at the right rate. A good rate of weight loss is about 1 to 2 pounds per week.
If you are having problems with nausea and vomiting after eating, if foods that are good for you get stuck, or if you are losing weight too quickly, your surgeon may loosen your band.
If your weight loss slows down or you begin to gain weight, you may need to see your surgeon to have your band adjusted. But first, look closely at what you have been eating and drinking.
- Are you following your diet? And, have you been exercising for about 30 minutes at least 3 times a week?
- If you have not been following your diet and exercise plan, getting back on your plan may be all you need to resume your desired rate of weight loss.
How is the band adjusted?
To adjust the band, you will be asked to sit or lie down on an exam table or special x-ray table:
- The area over your port will be cleaned.
- Your doctor may inject medicine to numb the skin over your port. You may feel some stinging at this time. You should have no more discomfort after this.
- Your doctor will place a special needle into your port and inject or remove saline, depending on what you need.
- If your doctor uses an x-ray while doing an adjustment, you will need to swallow a special drink that contains barium, which shows up on x-ray pictures.
- Your doctor will use the x-ray pictures to guide the needle and inject fluid into the balloon in your band.
- Most often, the procedure takes a few minutes.
You may be asked to stay in the clinic for about 30 minutes after your band is adjusted. During this time, you may be asked to eat something before you go home in order to make sure the band is not too tight.
This adjustment procedure is very safe and has very few risks. But if the band is too tight, you might have vomiting after you go home, and you will need fluid removed. It's better if you are not planning to travel right after you have the band adjusted.
A special note for women: Tell your health care provider if you may be pregnant before your band adjustment starts.