JOSE ERBELLA, M.D., FACS
General, Oncologic & Minimally Invasive Surgeries
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LAP-BAND FILLS AND ADJUSTMENTS
An important part of lap-band surgery success is getting regular “fills” after surgery. Watch this video to see how easy it is to perform a fill.
WHAT IS A LAP-BAND FILL?
During LAP-BAND surgery, an adjustable gastric band is placed around the top portion of the stomach. This band is an inflatable silicone tube similar in shape to an inner tube. It is usually empty when it’s positioned. This band has a long, narrow tube that connects the band to a small port that is placed just under the skin in the lower abdomen during surgery. A needle can be inserted into this port after surgery to add or remove saline from the band. When saline is added, the band inflates and the opening between the pouch stomach and the lower part of the stomach is made smaller, reducing the amount of food that can be eaten at once. If saline is removed, the tube deflates and the opening is made bigger to allow more food to pass into to the stomach more quickly.
LAP-BAND “fills” are the adjustments that are made to the saline after surgery. This procedure is generally painless and only takes a few minutes in our office. Jill or I will do the fills for you.
WHEN DO YOU NEED A REFILL?
Usually, the first fill is done 6 to 8 weeks after surgery. After this initial fill, adjustments will be made based primarily on the feedback you give your surgeon during your regular checkups. Usually we see you again at 2-4 week intervals until you are losing weight at a steady pace.
It will be up to you to monitor your appetite and make sure you remain in the healthy weight loss zone. If you are losing weight too quickly or having trouble swallowing, contact your doctor to have the band loosened. If you are losing weight very slowly and notice that you can eat more than a few ounces of food at a time, we will likely recommend tightening the band. Pay attention to your appetite, including how much you can eat at once and how long you can go between meals without getting hungry again.
After your initial fill, we may want to see you again in two weeks to check on you. It’s not uncommon to have as many as eight fills within the first year as your body adjusts to the lap band. The frequency of follow up visits and fills will often decrease after a year or two, depending on your progress.