General Question

deaddolly's avatar

Has anyone had personal experience with lap-band surgery?

Asked by deaddolly (3406points) September 29th, 2008

Please share your stories. I don’t mean the text book or googled versions, I mean real experiences. A friend is considering it. She in her 20’s and healthy and obese. Tried dieting, nothing seems to work. What do you think?

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31 Answers

robmandu's avatar

I’m probably going to way oversimplify it.

In essence, the gastric band is an attempt to physically force the person to abide by a strict dietary regimen.

That’s it. It’s expensive. There are adverse effects. There are significant risks.

In the end, the exact same positive result could be achieved if the person were able to maintain the strict dietary regimen on her own without submitting to surgery.

If it were me, I’d try to learn all I could about the regimen used by The Biggest Loser. If I had to take time off work to exercise and everything that they do, well, I would. No different than taking time off for surgery & recovery.

Ultimately, it’s not about reducing caloric intake alone, but also increasing metabolism and overall healthiness.

Judi's avatar

I wanted to but I weighed 20 lbs to little. They convinced me to try one more diet and I did. I have maintained my 80 lb weight loss for 3 years. check out I like it because you can have as much of the good foods as you want. You never go hungry.

deaddolly's avatar

@judi I’ll pass that on to her. Thanks!

qualitycontrol's avatar

How much does she weigh? I think certain doctors will only do it if they’re above a certain weight and it’s the last resort that will save their life. I saw one before while I was interning in surgery. They cut the stomach and make it smaller so the person will eat less food. It’s supposed to be very risky and only recommended as a last resort type thing.

deaddolly's avatar

@qualitycontrol that’s gastric bypass surgery. Lap-band doesn’t cut the stomach, but rather puts a band around it, causing you to eat less and feel full. It’s reversible and can be maintained eaiser.

You have to be over 100 pounds overweight to have either done. She’s gotta be at least 150–200 pounds over weight and it will affect her life, bones etc as she gets older.

shilolo's avatar

I am personally aghast at the advertising on TV for the lap band procedure, as I am for most (if not all) drug advertising. This is a new procedure without long term followup. The advantage, as deaddolly said, is that it is far less invasive than gastric bypass surgery. That said, there are two advantages to the gastric bypass surgery. One, it is far more difficult to “break through” (i.e. overeat) the surgical procedure (though it has been done). Secondly, and more importantly, gastric bypass surgery doesn’t just involve creating a smaller stomach, but also significantly shortening the region of the intestines that absorbs food. Thus, you eat less and absorb fewer calories. This one-two punch explains the dramatic weight loss with the surgery.

poofandmook's avatar

I had a distant aunt that had gastric bypass, and after 2 weeks, had some sort of related complication, passed out in her kitchen alone, was unconscious for some time, and now has mild brain damage.

shilolo's avatar

@Poof. Sorry to hear about your aunt. Gastric bypass surgery isn’t for the faint of heart. It has a high mortality rate (for an elective surgery) of ~1–2% (meaning 1–2 out of 100 people will die from the surgery). The complication rate is also quite high. Both of these outcomes are due to the fact that morbidly obese individuals have lots of medical problems, and are difficult to operate on.

greylady's avatar

If it is choice between lap-band and Roux-en-Y, then the lap-band is far less permanently life changing in how your body is able to absorb nutrients from there on.

qualitycontrol's avatar

oops sorry bout that. I think she should really give diet and exercise another try. Maybe get some professional help first?

scamp's avatar

My daughters in-laws have both had it. The mother-in-law died on the operating table during the surgery because the surgeon “nicked” an artery during the operation. They used the paddles to bring her back, and now she has burn scars in addition to the scars from surgery. She was also very ill because they didn’t anticipate the problem, so there

This surgery is not something to take lightly. It is a major operation and your friend should not think of it as anything less.

shilolo's avatar

@scamp. The surgeon nicked an artery during the lap band procedure? Wow. My (limited) impression of that procedure is that they would insert the typical laparascopic ports, and then basically place and tighten a giant band around the stomach. Since this seems to entail little to no cutting, I am shocked.

deaddolly's avatar

@scamp, yes—it’s supposed to be much less evasive than the other surgeries. It’s done laparascopically.
@quality control I’ve known her for ages; she’s been big all her life. and tried every diet/exercise plan out there. Always gains it back or looses little.

I used to work with someone that had gastric bypass. The side effects of that are so nasty. And she never loat as much weight as she had hoped. Haven’t seen her in ages now, but she went thru a lot with that.

scamp's avatar

I don’t know exactly how the procedure is preformed, but somehow one of her arteries got “hit”. Maybe the lap port hit it, I don’t know. I think I remember her saying something “arced.” I’ll try to ask my daughter again for the details when I talk to her tonight.

@shi, we talked about this about a month ago in another thread. I just wanted deaddolly to know there are risks involved, so her friend would carefully weigh her options.

shilolo's avatar

Absolutely! I couldn’t agree more. Like I said, the advertising for this procedure is nauseating! Makes it look like a walk in the park. I’m livid!

Lightlyseared's avatar

the only pesonal experience I have with this is a patient who had it done and then went out and had a massive slap up meal to celebrate. The results were not pretty.

Moral of the story – surgery is only half the battle, will power is also important.

deaddolly's avatar

Understandbly so. I think a person has to really want to loose weight for themsleves; not for anyone else. and it’s a life style change.
I wish there were some magic pill!

shilolo's avatar

And I wish I could invent that magic pill…

scamp's avatar

Also, from what I heard through my daughter, it takes a lot of will power leading up to the surgery. Both in-laws weren’t allowed to eat for several weeks before their surgeries. I think they were on some type of liquid diet. The husband lost 40 lbs before his surgery.

They have to go to the doctor’s office periodically to get a “fill.” There is apparently a port in the band, and the doctor can make the band tighter or looser. Under flouroscope, the doctor inserts a needle into the port to add or remove a solution which makes the band tighter or looser. I wish you could invent that pill too shi!

@deaddolly I wish your friend all the best.

Judi's avatar

The best “pill” available today is friuts and vegetables. If you fill up on fruits and vegetables you won’t have room for so many higher calorie foods.

maybe_KB's avatar

Deaddolly, encourage her not to do it.
Some people have said to me
their friend(s) attitude changed
over time as they thin.

(I know for me, eating 1/4 cup of food for dinner would turn ME into a piece of work)

I have a buddy that now has hanging skin-
and guess what?

She wants to undergo the knife to get THAT removed!

Some may build a callous for surgery (esp. when all goes well the 1st time…& I’ll pray that it does)

If your friend just has to do this and there’s no talking her into alternative methods,
Be SURE she under goes counseling!
I find,
should tap into one of the greater reasons why she is obese to begin w/.

Gastro or Lap is typically a way to heal yourself from the outside in, not the other way around.

By the way that’s my personal quote:_)

greylady's avatar

Here is something I have learned. It is almost never a good idea to try to change someone’s mind. If they do change, and the result is less than perfect, you will be blamed for it, or resented for it, even if only subconsciously, by your friend or family member. No matter how wrong you think they are, and how awful the decision is, people don’t like to be proved wrong. If you are able to change their mind and it turns out well, they also resent that “I told you so” feeling- even if you don’t say it. Must be some kind of human nature thing.

I have found that a better way to go about it is to provide or help them find all the information possible on the subject and be available as a “sounding board” only. After all, it is your friend who has to make the final decision and she is the one who has to live with it. But the more information you can provide, the better chance she has to make a good decision for herself.

deaddolly's avatar

Thanks everyone for your answers!

scamp's avatar

Update and note to shi: I asked my daughter again what happened during her Mother-in-law’s surgery. They were cauterizing a bleed and there was a spark due to a problem with the equipment which stopped her heart. So this was an equipment problem, not necessarily a procedural one. But it should be noted that although this is a rare problem, it is one of the risks involved in having elective surgery.

I think greylady gives good advice. Gather as much information as you can to help your friend, but in the end, this is her decision to make. I hope she chooses well.

deaddolly's avatar

Thank you, Scamp!

scamp's avatar

You’re very welcome!

Jimbo550's avatar

deaddolly, I have had the Roux-n-Y (or gastric bypass) surgery, and I am very happy that I did! I feel so much better than I have in YEARS! I am able to get out and do “normal” stuff – walking, going to the grocery store without having to take frequent rest breaks, I’m able to do work around the house… I have actually done quite a bit of remodeling for my daughter in her new house. All this, and much more, I would never have been able to do without the surgery! I personally know many other people that have had the Roux-n-Y surgery, also some that have had the lap-band surgery… and everyone I know is just as happy with the surgery as I am! I have so far lost over 70 pounds (surgery May 27, 2008), and they tell me I will lose more if I continue to follow the program. I am certainly going to “follow the program”! I never want to go back to feeling like I did before.

There are some who cannot “do” diets. I am ashamed to say that I am one. I have no will power… well, I didn’t before, but since the surgery I have discovered will power I never knew I had! Would I do it again? Yer dang tooting!!!

More benefits – I went from using 70 units of one type insulin 3 times a day plus 20 units of another type 3 times a day (total of 6 shots!) to NOW – I take 15 units of insulin ONCE a day! (ONE SHOT!!!) Plus, before I was also taking oral diabetes medicine, now – NONE! My doctor says I should be able to get completely OFF insulin within a year! In addition, I have cut back my other meds to 5 daily pills!!! That’s from appr. 20 before the surgery! But, to ME the biggest benefit is the way I feel!

Do I recommend your friend to have weight loss surgery? I recommend that your friend go to a reputable bariatric surgeon, and explore the options. Do not go to the educational meeting with the mind-set that “I’m going to do it”, but go in with an open mind. Examine the possible benefits, weigh that against the possible risks. Then make an informed decision!

deaddolly's avatar

@jimbo550 Many thanks for sharing your story and CONGRATULATIONS! I’ve been overweight all my life too, so I know what you are talking about. I plan to go along with her and find out for myself.

Jimbo550's avatar

Good luck to both of you, and God Bless.

scamp's avatar

@Jimbo550 congratulations on your success. You must feel so much better now. I’m so happy for you!

tinbon434's avatar

I know people that have gastro surgery they all gained a good portion of the weight back. I went to the free seminar about the three different options for the surgery. The bottom line is that you have to be willing to commit to changing your eatting habits. The doctor explained that people that get the surgery must work with it. Because it is possible train the body to manuever around it and gain the weight back. The average weight gain for patients that don’t work with the surgery 40lbs. If you are thinking about doing focus on people succeeded

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