Also known as Lap-Band, gastric banding surgery places a silicon band in the upper part of the stomach. On the inside of this band is a balloon that is attached to the other side to a port underneath the patient’s skin. The Lap-Band works by squeezing the opening to the stomach and restricting the amount of food that one can eat at one meal. To create a tight squeeze, or “fit”, the band itself must be filled with saline (water).
All About Lap Band Fills
A lap band fill involves a visit to the doctor where a needle is inserted into the port located under the skin on the abdominal wall. Lap band fills are typically not painful at all. Once the needle goes through the port, the doctor injects it with saline. The saline itself will travel down the tube and into the balloon, the Lap Band. As the band fills up, there is pressure put on the top of the stomach. The area of the stomach above the band is known as the pouch, and when food is consumed, food will sit there until it begins to break down.
Filling the band will make this opening smaller and make it harder for food to pass through it. A tight band will create a small opening to the stomach, which means it will take a longer period for food to make it to the stomach. This limits the amount of food consumed leading to weight loss. It is crucial that the right amount of fluid is consumed to provide the food a chance to digest at the right pace and to keep the patient hydrated.
Band Fill Amounts
Overfilling a Lap-Band can potentially prevent a patient from eating. Underfilling one will prevent it from doing its job. This makes finding the real fill level imperative for success. While the process is a guess and check situation, a surgeon will be able to find the right level for each patient gradually.
During the first year after gastric banding surgery, the patient will see the surgeon between 3-5 times. After the first year, patients typically have two visits annually for adjustments to their band.
Some questions that a surgeon may ask a patient during their visit may include:
- Are you hungry a lot?
- How often do you snack?
- How much do you eat at each meal?
- What kind of food do you eat?
- When do you feel full usually (fast or slow)?
Too Tight of Band
There are many warning signs associated with the fact that your band may be too tight. If you experience any of these signs, contact your surgeon immediately.
- Waking up at night coughing can mean there is food or fluid stuck above the pouch.
- Pain when eating solid food.
- Sudden loss of volume control meaning you don’t feel full when you used to. This can mean the band has slipped.
- Redness or pain at the port injection site.
Cost of Lap Band Fills in Mexico
Typically insurance covers the cost of one’s surgery and most often will cover the fills too. It’s important to discuss this with your surgeon even before you have gastric banding surgery. Many times you will only pay a co-pay associated with a doctor’s visit. Contact our helpful, patient care coordinators to discover our costs in Mexico.
Overall, lap band fills are a necessary part of a successful weight loss surgery in Mexico. Consider them bi-annual appointments as a way to stay accountable with your weight loss and to keep your body working as well as it possibly can. It is never safe to skip fills throughout a year as the lack of adjustments can lead to serious health issues.