Adjustable Gastric Band Surgery: 3 Month Follow-Up

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Adjustable Gastric Band Podcast

Hi, I’m Nina Crowley, one of the Bariatric Surgery Program Dietitians here to talk to you today about your gastric band and how to use it! The adjustable gastric band is a silicon band placed around the upper part of your stomach and it partitions your stomach into the pouch and the rest of your stomach below. The size of the stoma or the opening between the pouch and stomach is adjusted by adding or removing saline through the access port which is located on your abdominal wall. Each time saline is added in cc’s or milliliters, the stoma or hole gets smaller which reduces the amount of food that can be passed through, thus creating restriction!

The band is designed to curb your hunger by creating satiety on smaller portions of food. The band works when you eat fewer total calories each day! And the band works when you get full on solid food. Let me repeat that, SOLID food! I emphasize this point because the band does not help you to control your portions of beverages or foods that are liquidy. Beverages and liquidy foods will always pass more rapidly through the band than solid food will. Limiting liquid calories will help you work the band and lose weight.  We also call these foods ‘slider’ foods because they slide right through that band instead of sitting in your pouch helping you feel full for several hours. Examples of sliders or liquidy foods are: sugary drinks, regular soda, sweet tea, all fruit juice, alcohol, milk, protein shakes, milkshakes, thin yogurt, soups, ice cream, dips, dressings, and anything else with a similar texture. You should avoid these foods because of their texture, not because they are an unhealthy food.

Your sense of fullness or satiation is different from before you had a band because it is a sense of being satisfied with the amount of food you have just eaten. The awareness of having enough tends to happen slowly so you have to chew slowly so that you know when it is that you are full or not hungry anymore. Some patients describe a feeling of chest tightness below the breastbone or an inability to take just one more bite. You must learn what your personal signals for full are and then stop eating immediately, do not take that last bite. Some ways to help you control your environment are by eating from a small plate or bowl, and using small utensils to keep your bites small. You should stop after each bite to chew and put your fork down in between bites. Serve yourself a small, measured portion and don’t go back for more. Never leave food on the table family style because you might get tempted to eat more than you should.

Lets talk for a minute about fluids. In general, we all need about 64 ounces of fluid a day to stay hydrated. Some people need more when outside or exercising, but in general you should strive for 64 ounces, or eight 8 ounce cups per day. Stick to calorie free beverages like water, unsweet tea or coffee, crystal light or any of the other low calorie non carbonated drinks. Carbonated drinks expand because of the carbon dioxide and can make you feel uncomfortable and possibly stretch out that pouch that you have worked hard to get to be tiny. Also, you want to drink your fluids separately from your foods, which can be difficult at times. You want to wait about 30 to 60 minutes after meals to drink so that you do not push the food past your band. We want the solid food to stay above the band as long as possible to keep you full, so don’t wash it through with big gulps of fluid.

When you plan your meals for the day you want to strive to get in all of your food groups into 3 small well planned out meals each day. Remember that the purpose of the band is to curb hunger between meals, so you want to eat 3 meals, and not snack in between meals to get the most out of your band.  Focus on nutritious foods like lean protein, whole fruits and veggies and whole grains. Plan to have protein, like lean meats, low fat dairy, beans or eggs, and fiber like whole grains, fruits, and veggies, with each meal.  Protein, fiber, and solid food are the three things that will keep you feeling fullest, longest. Remember that fruits, yogurt, nuts and the like are healthy foods, but should try to be eaten at meal time to get the most satiety.  Try to avoid snacking in between meals and plan for those foods to be at your meal instead.

To round out your intake, be sure to take a multivitamin every day, either a chewable or pill form with iron. This helps when you are on a reduced calorie diet, which you are! Remember to exercise! We try to shoot for about 30 minutes of exercise every day for most people, but once you meet that goal, don’t be afraid to go longer! Try to find something that you enjoy, and try to vary what you do for activity, and continue to challenge yourself by going farther, longer, and faster! Exercise is a great way to maintain the weight loss that you have worked so hard for!

Keep coming to your appointments with the bariatric surgery team. Some of our most successful patients come up to 10 times in their first year. There is something about accountability that keeps you on track. Even if you don’t feel that you need a fill, you should come talk with your nutrition experts so that we can help you tweak your diet to maximize your success with the adjustable gastric band!

Your MUSC Bariatric Surgery Team wants you to be successful and stay in touch. If you need an appointment, call us at (843) 792-7929 or visit us at


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