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Thread: Lap Band, anyone had it or doing it?

  1. #1

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    Question Lap Band, anyone had it or doing it?

    Hi
    I am looking into getting a Lap Band and am just wanting to hear from anyone who has one or is getting on. DH and I want to start ttc number two next Feb and I want to get rid of at least 40 kg before I even think about another bub.



    I have tried everything including Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, shakes, Liver Clensing diet, Fernwoods Weight Loss program, Xenical....and more. I have PCOS and find it very difficult to loose weight but very easy to put on.

    Would love to hear peoples stories/experiences.

  2. #2

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    Hi Macca,

    I'm actually scheduled for lapband surgery this Friday, the 1st of August. I decided on it after my younger brother was diagnosed with diabetes. I've done all the pre-op stuff and just waiting now for my operation.

    Check out my blog. I'm happy to chat to you about it, too, if you want more info. I have 27 kgs to lose (after losing 5kgs already on my pre-op diet).

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    My friend got it done in March....she has gone from a size 26 and now an 18. Lost 20kgs and looks fab!!!

  4. #4

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    I don't want to rain on anyone's parade here, but please, please research this VERY carefully before you make a decision. This is not a quick fix, and it is a major surgery. I have seen some research articles out of the US which suggest that:
    1. while there is significant initial weight loss after three to five years most recipients have gained much of the weight back
    2. there are high death and complication rates from all bariatric surgeries.
    3. there are cases of people suffering from long term problems such as continual vomiting, and neurological problems caused by compromised nutrient absorption.
    The human body is an amazing thing which is not fully understood and interfering with its natural capacity to absorb nutrients is dangerous - possibly more dangerous than carrying extra weight. Especially if you want to have a baby, it will need a mum with a full spectrum of nutrients.
    I wish you the very best in whatever you decide but I really hope that you do some serious research before you make a decision.

  5. #5

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    HI Macca,

    My Mum had it done 3 months ago so fire away any questions you have. I have become somewhat of an expert on it!!!

  6. #6

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    Thanks for your replies everyone it's good to just hear about other peoples experiences.

    Sushee - If you don't mind me asking how much is the procedure costing you? Do you know if any of it is covered by health insurance?

    Pixie - Thankyou for your concern about the procedure. At this stage I am just educating myself about the procedure. I am off to have a chat with a GP about it but at this stage my weight is causing me many problems that are starting to affect my overall health. In truth I am about 60 kg over weight.

    Amysarah - If I have any questions down the track I will be sure to PM you if that is ok.

    Thanks again all

  7. #7

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    I have done 6 months of research on it. I promise you I didn't take this decision lightly. In fact a lot of weight loss surgery (wls) does cause malabsorption but lapband surgery does not cause the kind of malabsorption that gastric bypass or even a gastric sleeve does. And it is completely reversible, so if in fact it stops working for you, or you have complications (which is rare) such as a slipped band, it can be fixed or removed.

    Also a skillful surgeon and a patient who makes sure that they get their fills gradually will combat a lot of the problems with vomitting. In the States, the band is done by one Dr but the fills often done by fill centres who see many patients. In Australia, where lapband surgery has been done for 15 odd years, you receive lifetime aftercare from your surgeon. If you're vomiting, your band is too either tight or you've eaten too much. You either a) learn not to eat so much or b) see you Dr immediately for a reduction in your fill.

    Also in Australia, it's been shown that if you keep your band in and restricted, you do not put the weight back on, and won't for years (they've tracked patients for up to 10 years). This is different to a lot a bariatric surgeries, where over the years, the remaining 'stomach' left behind can increase in size to accomodate increased food. Of course, even with the band, you CAN put it back on (or even not lose any weight), if you start eating high calorie, high fat foods that 'slip' past the band, like milkshakes and chips, but no wls would be able to 're-program' someone's mind. It's only a tool to control your hunger and control your portions. The remaining work comes from you. The band will assist you in losing approx 50% of your excess weight, then you stabilise. If you want to lose more than that, you're going to have to eat well and exercise, exercise, exercise. This is no quick fix.

    Also compared to other bariatric surgeries, lapband surgery is the least invasive. It's done laparoscopically, so you're only in hospital a day. It can also be unfilled during pg so that you can eat normally and receive enough food to provide nutrients to both you and your baby.

    In the US, lapbands have only been used since 2001, and even then less often than gastric bypass, as many of their insurance companies try not to pay for it. It isn't as accpeted there yet, but as they see more success, it is gaining in popularity. In Australia, almost all wls is lapbanding. And except for one health fund here in Australia, every single fund will pay towards lapband surgery here in Australia. They accept that it is a way to reduce obesity long term, which in turn will put less pressure on the fund from obesity-related diseases down the track.

    But most of all (and why I decided to do it) it helps me combat a problem I have never been able to combat on my own - my weight. I have significant family history of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease. I also am showing athritic change in my knees.

    So I can definitely say I did not make this decision lightly. Nor should anyone. But it is a tool that is there and is proving to be a permanent solution to weight loss. I only wish I'd thought to do it sooner.

    ETA, Macca posting at the same time: I'm with HBF and paid $1950 out of pocket for the $12000 procedure. I do know that most funds do cover lapbanding, but not all. Call your fund and ask them.
    Last edited by sushee; July 30th, 2008 at 09:54 AM.

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    I was going to give some info, but Sushee has done it beautifully.

    Knowing all about the procedure, and long term effects and outcomes are really important to the success of it.

    K

  9. #9

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    Macca Sushee and Kate - I'm really glad that you are making sure you are fully informed about the procedure before going ahead. Good on you for doing your research thoroughly. I just wouldn't want anyone to go into it lightly or without all the relevant info. Good luck with it all and let us know how it goes.

  10. #10

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    No probs hun. I never do anything without researching it inside and out. That's why it's taken me 6 months from the time my family GP discussing it with me to actually getting it done. I agree that no one should accept surgery without being fully informed.

  11. #11

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    thepixie - there are many steps in place that make sure that people are very well informed before having the surgery. There are many steps involved. These include many visits with your GP, a dietician and group information sessions. You also have to go on a gruelling liquid diet for 3 weeks prior to surgery to decrease the size of the liver (obese people generally have large livers which makes access to the stomach harder). It is not something one can just walk into a doctors office and say "yep, i'll have lap band thanks".

  12. #12

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    I had a bit of a wake up call when my GP suggested that it was something that I consider, so I spent a fair bit of time looking into it.

    A little background info just for context:
    I am the pixie's DH - She is an insurance lawyer that has spent a lot of time managing medical malpractice claims.
    I've been large for a long time - I was 85kg when I was 16, and by my 20th birthday I was 175kg, at the time I was very active, played rugby at a semi-pro level and was definately the wrong person to meet running the other way. I'm much less active now, and I'm around 140kg at the moment.
    I've also worked as chef and have an ongoing love affair with good food - I don't eat badly.

    I'd been trying various things to lose weight - various supplements, Atkins, CSIRO, etc...none of them worked terribly well. I bought low fat foods, and drank diet sodas.

    My conclusion after looking at the lap banding for a while was that it was not a step I was prepared to take, without making sure that I'd exhausted all the less-radical alternatives.

    I'm now losing around 5kg a month - by cutting out all commercially processed foods (no low fat products), artificial sweeteners (so no more artificially sweetened diet foods) and reducing simple carbs as much as possible.

    The principle we are working to is simple - the risks of obesity have increased massively in line with the changes in diet over the last 50-60 years, so we're trying to eat a diet that would have been available over 60 years ago.

    This means that we tend now to only buy raw ingredients and work from there - we make our own jams, preserves, stocks, sauces and dressings from first principles - we've even been tinkering with curing our own meat and fish.

    A big part of the diet is the concept of whole food - whether eating plant or animal, consume as much of the by-product as possible. If we buy carrots or beetroot, then they come with all the leaves, stalks, etc - cooking a chicken or joint of meat then implies making stocks and soups from the bones, pates and terrines from the offcuts.

    The end result is that we are eating extremely well - we have people queuing up to have dinner with us - I'm losing weight, and the pixie has had the most amazing pregnancy - no sickness, cramps, sleepless nights, stretch marks - really could not have been better.

    I'm also eating less, much less - I have a personal theory that one of the side effects of the modern diet is that the feedback mechanisms to control hunger are disrupted. Food is no longer an impulse thing, it takes time to gather the ingredients and prepare a meal. Most animals spend a huge proportion of their energy securing their food - it seemed to me that we had made it too easy and too far removed from a natural process.

    As an example - I made fried chicken last week. From the point where I decided to make it, I had to wait for the weekend markets to get a nice whole chicken, herbs and buttermilk. The chicken was jointed, the breasts frozen, and a stock made from the carcass - the legs were marinaded in the buttermilk with herbs and spices for a couple of days. The chicken was dredged in wholemeal flour with more herbs and spices before being fried and then baked in the oven to render out the remaining fat - it was fabulous. The chicken was rich and creamy from the marinade, the coating was crisp and spicy - but it took me a week to make and when I finally got round to eating it I was barely able to finish the leg (one thigh, one drumstick) that was my portion.
    It is not long ago that I would have quite happily have eaten the entire chicken without a second thought.

    What's my point in telling you all this?

    What I am doing is hard, it involves putting a lot of effort into thinking about what I eat and how I am going to prepare it - if you are reading this and thinking that the lap banding might be an easier solution then think again, from discussing the implications of the procedure with a lot of people I concluded that living with a lap band was going to be an awful lot of work and would require permanent changes to diet and lifestyle that I couldn't live with.

    I'm not advocating that my approach will work for anyone else, or trying to put you off the lap banding procedure - but you do need to be really, really sure in yourself that you have done all that you can to change your diet before making this step.

  13. #13

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    as the daughter of two parents who've had gastric banding, neither of whom have made the required lifestyle changes to compliment the surgery - all i can say is don't go there unless you're ready for life long lifestyle changes - it might give you a short term fix for the weight, but if you don't do what you're supposed to long term, you'll have complications forever. my mother is now larger than she was pre- surgery (and has had both stomach stapling/ gastric banding which had to be reversed after 10 years due to complications, and gastric bypass) - she weighs easily 20kg MORE than she did pre-surgery, and continues to believe that she can eat anything because the surgery is what will help her. it's a constant point of contention - i refuse to eat with her cos she eats crap! dad had gastric banding a year or more ago, lost a bit of weight, but has gradually put it all back on

    it is NOT an easy fix - as sushee said, you need to change your lifestyle - the banding is only there to boost you along - i guess a bit of an added "push" to do the right thing - if you're not prepared to do the hard yards yourself, then you won't get anything other than illness and lifelong probs from the procedure

    i'm a big person, and i know, short term, i could lose a crap load of weight from the procedure (as my parents keep telling me) - but untill i'm ready to make ALL the lifestyle changes i need to make, and can implement them FIRST, there's not a chance in hell i'll go there.

  14. #14

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    My mum's neighbour had it done. She lost quite a lot of weight in a short period of time but had to have it reversed due to complications (not sure exactly what the problems were but she was quite sick). Since having it reversed all the weight has come back on and has spent much of the time depressed and barely left the house(she had suffered from it before too).

    This probably doesn't apply to you from what you've posted but on Oprah recently they had a show about the after effects of lap band surgery. Nothing to do with ops gone wrong or anything, but about addiction. It showed people who had thought their problems would be solved by lap banding only to find that their initial problem was an addiction to food which after the surgery got replaced with something else - alcohol, drugs or gambling for example and their lives were far worse than prior to the op. As I said, not suggesting this applies to you, but just thought I'd mention it in the post for anyone who is reading this and is thinking about getting it done.

  15. #15

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    I agree that addiction to food is something that needs to be looked at prior to undergoing surgery. My mum met someone prior to her surgery at an information session that was unable to give up the bad food. He knew he wouldn't be able to fit in a mars bar so instead he put it in a blender with some milk and drank the mars bar. I agree that you may need to visit a psychologist to treat the addiction prior to undergoing surgery or it will not work.

    My Mum's obesity had nothing to do with the amount of food or types of foods she ate. She has always eaten well and walks every single night. She had a full hystorectomy (sp?) when she was 33 and had a 6 year mental breakdown at 40. She has been on hormone treatment and anti anxiety/depression medication for the past 20 years. This is what has contributed to her weight gain. Because she doesn't have that mental issue with food this surgery is working perfectly for her. She had it done 3 months ago and has already lost 15kgs.

    In her case, lap banding was the best option.

  16. #16

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    A quick note for TheBear - you are a very smart individual. Our bodies were made to digest and absorb foods and nutrients in their natural form - as they are found on this planet. So many health problems stem from humans eating processed, denatured, refined and modified foods - and far too much of them. This problem is perpetuated by advertising and supermarkets that offer pretty looking packages and convienience. I know that eating a healthy whole-food diet takes quite a lot of extra effort and preparation, but it is so incredibly worth it. Well done for making the effort, you are 100% on the right path!
    All the best to you and thepixie and your bub!

  17. #17

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    Just a quick note on lapband surgery - I know one lady who had the gastric banding, and discovered she could still eat the same amount of food (or more) than she ate beforehand if she made it quite liquidy - eg. pasta with lots of creamy sauce, soups etc. She is still struggling with her weight, and the lapband didn't work so well for her. I know another lady who had the lapband about five years ago, and she lost too much weight. She had a great deal of trouble with swallowing and blockages, and this reduced her food intake dramatically. She has recently had the surgery reversed, and is feeling much better. On the other hand, I have spoken to others who found lapbanding a great temporary measure, and have lost weight, and reduced their food intake sensibly.

    It's so good that you are all researching and sharing info, because this is a really difficult decision to make. Good luck in making the choice that works for you xxx

  18. #18

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    Just wanted to comment that I actually did have what I'd call a lifestyle change and moved to eating well and exercising 4 times week last year. I lost 10kgs in that time. But I've put it back on. I always put it back on the minute I ease up on the brakes. In this case I broke my foot and couldn't walk for a month. It broke my momentum, and with DH buying takeaway coz I couldn't walk, I stopped losing. And starting gaining. Because hunger is my worst enemy, and I see the lapband as a tool to fight my enemy.

    If I thought I'd blend a Mars bar and drink it, I wouldn't be having surgery. Anyone who thinks this is some magic bullet is deluding themselves. But it does work. For thousands. You may hear of the few 'vivid' cases of when it goes bad, but there are many people who live among you who don't have any problems at all. In fact most choose not to share their surgery with anyone but their closest family, because of the perception that lapbanders are people who are too lazy to exercise and eat well. When in fact, the lapband does help many break the cycle and help them make those lifestyle changes that last a lifetime.

    I understand that trying to control the 'head hunger' or what some might call food addiction will be difficult, and I'm also realistic enough to understand that the lapband will make help 10% of the time (inasfar as the hunger), but I have to work hard the other 90%. I understand it means I'll be forced to change my life. I'm ready for that.

    Because at 38, I have to stop pretending that I'm going to be able to do this all on my own. It doesn't stay off - I fight hunger every single day. I am realistic enough to know I can't keep that up forever. I have never been able to previously, so now I'm seeing the writing on the wall, and doing something to fight the physical hunger. And for someone who is over 30kgs overweight, I do in fact eat well and exercise, though not as much as I'd like to with fulltime work and university. I am otherwise a healthy person, who in fact had a great pregnancy at 36 years of age, and who, my family will testify, is fitter than my skinny sister. But I'm also not going to wait until obesity-related disease such as diabetes and hypertension hit me, because with my family history, it's very possible, if not likely.

    So if diet and exercise work for you, great. I think you're doing wonderfully btw, TheBear. It does work for many people, which is why programs like weight watchers is so successful.

    But I know my limitations, and I know that each time I 'fall off the wagon' I gain it all back and more. I have tried it all, and now I'm trying this. It's not for everyone, definitely not for those who think this is just going to fix the problem with no work on their part, and it's not something I would recommend to someone without them knowing just what they're getting into, but it feels right for me. It's why I've decided to stop hiding it (which every bander I've met has told me to do for my own sanity) and start talking about it.

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