Lap Band Adjustments (“Fills”)
One of the advantages of the Lap Band is the ability to adjust the band as weight loss continues or circumstances in our life changes. The ability to know when an adjustment is needed is a skill that can take some trial and error to master. Keeping a band too tight can reduce the effectiveness of the band and may lead to complications and possible loss of your Lap Band.
Adjustments to the band are made to allow the band to suppress appetite for a prolonged period of time. Adjustments are not meant to make you stop eating. The band is a tool and a guide, it is not meant to be a restraining collar.
We recommend that patients do a quarterly self assessment to make sure their band is adjusted properly.
Here is a list to help you with your assessment:
Your Lap Band is too tight when…
It is normal to be tighter in the morning due to dehydration that occurs naturally through insensible loss of fluids throughout the night. What I am talking about is more than a mild feeling of tightness that most of us feel in the morning. You may have difficulty eating in the morning even when you take small bites and really chew your food. If you are really tight you may not be able to eat until mid afternoon or later. You may also experience difficultly drinking cold liquids. If you can’t even drink a hot liquid slowly you are super duper tight.
Do you frequently feel a trapped gas feeling in your chest, and feel the need to belch to reduce this pressure? You may also experience this feeling after taking a bite or only a couple of bites of food. The pressure builds if you continue to eat, and may lead to a PB episode (bringing up food and a slimy fluid). You may also feel the need to belch when you lay down. And have to sleep sitting up.
Do you experience PB episodes three or more times a week? You may also experience a PB when you first start to eat. You may also feel too tight after a PB to continue eating. You may also have trouble eating solid food, and can only tolerate liquid, soft or slider type foods.
When you band is too tight, you will have difficulty eating the healthy foods that are recommended to banded patients to eat. You may find yourself choosing slider foods like soups, chili, ice cream, liquid calories, coffee drinks, crunchy food and the like.
Acid reflux is a common symptom of a Lap Band that has been tight for a while. Acid reflux can go from mild to severe. If you experience acid reflux daily you are most likely too tight. Severe cases may experience symptoms day and night and can lead to additional complications if the band is not loosened. Consult your health care provider for medication to help reduce the symptoms of acid reflux.
When your band is too tight you may experience one or more of these symptoms depending on how tight you are. These are some of the more common symptoms of a Lap Band that has been adjusted too tight. Removing even just a small amount of fill can eliminate some or even all of your symptoms.
If you have some or all these symptoms you most likely need an UN-fill to help relieve your symptoms. If you think you may not be adjusted properly and would like some help determining if you need an Un-fill call the office to speak with your Patient Facilitator 1 (888)223-4046
We also have Resources available to help you adjusting your Lap band to the right level.