Although minimally invasive in comparison to other bariatric procedures, fitting of the laparoscopic adjustable gastric band, or ‘lap band’ for short, is still a major operation. As such, patients who have undergone lap band surgery must look after themselves in the days and weeks following the procedure. One necessary course of action is to adopt a fairly strict post-operative diet, but what exactly should patients eat?
It should be noted that professional medical advice must be sought before making dietary changes – especially if such changes follow major surgery. The information provided below is intended as a general guide or overview for prospective patients and should not be followed without the explicit consent of a professional medical practitioner.
Although lap band surgery is minimally invasive, it is still invasive enough to exert a strain on the human body. The physical effects of lap band surgery can be minimized if patients are fully briefed prior to surgery.
The lap band procedure results in the installation of an adjustable silicone band circling the upper portion of an individual’s stomach in order to create a pouch.
Food enters this pouch before slowly passing into the lower stomach; the area that has not been constricted by the lap band. The goal oflap band surgery is to reduce the patient’s appetite by making them feel full much earlier than would be the case in normal circumstances.
Patients who have been fitted with the lap band must recognize that they have undergone major surgery, which means that they are required to act carefully following the procedure. The effects of the lap band, which are particularly noticeable in the first few weeks after surgery, should be factored in when post-operative care is considered. Unquestionably, the patient cannot return to his or her diet of old.
Instead, lap band patients are advised to drink clear liquids on the first day after bariatric surgery. A semi-liquid diet consisting of smooth mashed potatoes, soup (hold the croutons), blended fruit and yoghurt can be considered from the second or third day after surgery. Up to four weeks later, solids can be reintroduced to the patient’s diet.
The types of solids that can be sensibly consumed within four weeks of the lap band operation include cooked vegetables, scrambled eggs, cottage cheese (low fat, low sodium), canned fruits and some forms of meat. It is essential at this stage of post-operative care that the patient’s diet does not consist of anything too bulky or difficult to digest. Vegetables should therefore be skinned, while a steak dinner should not even enter the patient’s dreams.
Meal sizes should be measured carefully. Generally speaking, portions should be no greater in volume than a 6-ounce (just under 180ml) measuring cup. Fortunately, lap band patients can eat up to six meals per day, subject to medical recommendations, so there is no need to feel starved after the operation. It is essential that a patient receives a sufficient supply of vitamins and minerals, so supplements are invariably necessary. Raw foods should be avoided until at least a month after the procedure.
Finally, the patient can introduce low fat solids to their diet over time. Subject should consume enough protein, vitamins and minerals as their bodies require, but fat should be kept to a minimum: not excluded altogether, but noticeably less than the norm.