Life After Lap-Band Surgery

Lap-Band placed on a replica stomach.
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Lap-band surgery is the least invasive form of weight-loss surgery currently available. You must make lifestyle and dietary changes following the surgery in order for it to be successful.

What Is Lap-Band?

Unlike gastric bypass surgery, which creates a bypass in the digestive system, lap-band surgery does not cause part of your digestive system to be re-routed. Instead, a constrictive band is placed around the top part of your stomach. This change helps you feel fuller sooner and thus eat less.

What Happens Immediately After Lap-Band Surgery?

After lap-band surgery, you will need to follow a number of fairly simple, but important, eating and drinking guidelines. In time, you will be able to eat three healthful, nutritious meals a day. But during the first couple of weeks following surgery, you will not be eating solid foods. You will likely be on an all-liquid diet for the first 10 days after surgery, and you will eat solely pureed foods for the second 10-day period. After that, you can try soft foods and work up to eating regular foods again.

Returning to Normal Eating

When you do return to eating normal food, there will be some items you may want to avoid because they could get "stuck" in the band and cause discomfort. These foods include doughy breads (e.g. croissants, donuts), red meat (e.g. steak, veal), and fruits or vegetables with thick skins (e.g. apples, cucumbers).

You will only be able to eat small amounts of food at each sitting, and you'll be advised to eat very slowly, taking at least half an hour to eat your meal. You will want to avoid high-fat, high-calorie foods, and make sure you are getting plenty of vitamins and minerals by including a variety of foods in your meals.

You will also be advised to stop eating as soon as you feel a sense of satiety (fullness) coming on, because overeating can cause significant discomfort for a lap-band patient, and if done regularly, would ultimately lead to weight gain.

Ideally you will not drink liquids while you eat, but you can have them after your meal (about half an hour later). Eating and drinking at the same time can cause food to move through the digestive system a little too quickly. However, it is important that you drink between meals in order to keep your digestive tract moving.

A Word From Verywell

In general, it all comes down to a balanced diet using smaller meals and a concerted effort to stick to recommended foods. Living a new lifestyle after lap-band surgery takes a lot of work, but it can help you lose much of your excess weight.

Be sure to talk to your physician about your interest in bariatric treatment options to make sure you're a good candidate.

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Article Sources
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  1. NYU Langone Medical Center. Adjustable Gastric Band Nutritional Guidelines. Updated February 2011.

  2. MedlinePlus. Diet after gastric banding. Updated November 3, 2020.