FAQs about gastric bypass surgery

Here are a few of the most popular questions about gastric banding.

How long do I have to wait before I can drive?

Ideally, we would advise you to wait for 10 days before resuming driving. This will give the incisions time to heal. Make sure you have someone to drive you home after surgery as you will still feel a bit woozy from the effects of the anaesthetic. You will also find that your stomach is swollen and tender so have a cushion placed between your seatbelt and your stomach to prevent it from rubbing.

It will 3 days before the effects of both the anaesthetic and the post-operative painkillers have worn off so do not attempt to drive in that time.

Can the band leak?

This does tend to happen over time. It is a very gradual loss and the first indication of this is an increased appetite and weight gain. This means that you will need the band ‘topping up’ to resume a normal level. You will have regular check ups as part of your aftercare programme and this will be attended to as part of that.

Can the band move or slip?

The band is firmly locked in place. It is wrapped around the top part of the stomach in a very similar way to a wristwatch. There are however, about 5% of cases in which this does occur. If the band is over-filled; or if the stomach becomes stretched as a result of over consumption of food then this can happen.

If you experience repeated vomiting then that can be an indication of band slippage. If you experience this and any other unusual symptoms then contact your surgeon immediately.

How long will I be off work?

Recovery is quicker from gastric banding than the other procedures. You can expect to be off work for around a week although everyone is different when it comes to post-operative recovery.

Will I experience nausea and vomiting with the band?

No. If you are following a carefully planned diet then this should not happen. Remember, you need to cut your food up into small pieces and chew them slowly and thoroughly.

If this does happen and more than once then it can be down to over-eating, not following the instructions given to you about what to eat or band slippage.

I have a sweet tooth so can I have a gastric band?

Yes. Contrary to popular opinion gastric banding works just as well for those patients who like sweet things. But you will have to be careful about eating anything sweet or sugary as there is the risk of ‘dumping syndrome’. Try to stick to low sugar alternatives.

Does the band last for a long time?

That is a difficult question to answer as this is still a relatively new procedure. The first gastric band procedure took place in 1993 and as far as we know there have not been any problems. So, we can only assume that there is a degree of longevity with the band.

Will I lose a great deal of weight?

You can expect to lose around 50-60% of your excess weight. However, this can vary from one patient to another. Some people will lose more weight then others and vice versa.

Can I exercise?

Yes. We encourage you to take exercise which along with your diet will help you to lose weight. You will also look and feel a lot fitter as well.

You will be given advice about this at the aftercare sessions but, a general rule of thumb is if you have not exercised for a long time then start off slowly. Once you become fitter then you can increase your activity.

Can I take out a loan to pay for this surgery?

If you are looking to be treated as a private patient then many clinics tend to have their own finance scheme. This will take the form of a medical loan which has very similar terms and conditions to other types of loans. It is a good idea to compare this to loans administered by your local bank or building society.

Gastric Band Surgery Guide sections

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