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to ask if anyone has had a gastric band

(45 Posts)
irlouise13 Mon 01-Feb-16 16:22:10

And if so, can you tell me the full brutal detail?
Is it very sore
What's this choking business I've read about
How long are you on a liquid diet
did you tell anyone
how long would you need off work (in a new job so don't want to be off for long)

thanks in advance

irlouise13 Wed 03-Feb-16 09:56:28


TattyDevine Wed 03-Feb-16 10:07:01

I have a friend who has a gastric band, and I have a friend who has had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy (also known as a gastric sleeve, or a "sleeve" she calls it)

The friend with the gastric band hasn't done as well as the one with the gastric sleeve. Not just with weight loss but in general. Basically the friend with the gastric band has some kind of residual pain and discomfort - don't know how common this is, but I don't think its uncommon. Strangely the pain can be in her shoulder as well as the general stomach area.

There are a lot of things she struggles to eat, and if she eats too quickly she regurgitates. If she doesn't regurgitate it is very painful and tight. She can't gulp liquid and she can't have fizzy stuff very easily. It seems far more restrictive in terms of afterwards, they need "filling" from time to time (which tightens the band, I think they fill it with water, so you have some kind of port in your stomach which allows this, which I think is weird). Weight loss wise she hasn't done all that well and still hovers around the 15 stone mark, though its possible she could be worse if she didn't have it. She still feels hunger, so still has to have willpower, except she doesn't always, and finds ways to cheat the band (she puts a roll with butter in her soup until it is quite mushy then she eats it, etc) and you can still suck on chocolate, or sip copious amounts of wine, etc.

The friend with the gastric sleeve has done really well and says its the best thing she ever did. This was a keyhole operation where they remove a large segment of your stomach. It apparently has quite an impact on actual appetite, so doesn't just restrict you, it actually seems to have reset her appetite to that of an 'eat like a bird' person. (She used to be able to put away large amounts of food!). She has no pain and she can basically eat or drink anything she wants, albeit in small quantities, but not so small that she'd have to tell anyone - people would just assume she has a small appetite or watches what she eats, etc. And because she is now really slim it sort of fits the picture so she doesn't tell any new people she meets about it.

I think they both paid the same for the op, it was about the same cost. Friend with the band says she wished she'd had a sleeve, but she had it quite a bit before friend with the sleeve and it wasnt available or it was very new.

Hope that helps! If I were you, from observing my friends, I would definitely look into the sleeve as a more permenant, less problematical solution from what I can tell, and do look at the stats and research too as this is a pretty small anecdotal group! x

no73 Wed 03-Feb-16 10:53:33

My mate has had the band, he's still overweight and is in fact bigger than when he had it out in. He just eats past the pain/vomits.

I don't think it was very painful for him though just a complete waste of money for him. Could have paid for me to have it done instead grin

Aphie Wed 03-Feb-16 11:01:25

My mum had the gastric sleeve done and just like the previous poster said, you can't really tell. However. When she came back from theatre she was feeling a little rough as can be expected, they checked her wound site and discovered she had internal bleeding. She had 8 pints of whole blood and 3 pints of plasma and ended up in intensive care because the staples on her new stomach had ruptured. She was in a lot of pain with it but does not regret it obe bit.

After the op she was on liquids for a week followed by 2 weeks of thicker soft food and then another 2 weeks of soft mashed food. Even now she struggles with dry food like bread and if she has a drink she has no room for food and often feels like food is back up into her throat.
Her portion sizes now are half what I eat and 5 years on she is 14 stone lighter. To me the sleeve is much better than the band but comes with its own risks.

AwesomeAF Wed 03-Feb-16 11:10:43

If you like chocolate, crisps or icecream the band will probably make your eating worse as it's so easy to eat these things in bulk.

Potatoface2 Wed 03-Feb-16 11:19:42

with a band you still have to have some will power....its easier to cheat....also a band is reversable(can be taken out) whereas a bypass or a sleeve will have less time off work with a band as its is not such an invasive procedure, there are some new procdures being used....maybe discuss all this with your surgeon or the bariatric nurse that will be assigned to you

irlouise13 Wed 03-Feb-16 11:25:11

my problem would be portion control generally and then binges when I am having a difficult emotional time. I've had counselling and have things more under control but still not great. The clinic says they are not doing gastric sleeve anymore due to the higher risks of the op - that was the one I enquired about originally.

irlouise13 Wed 03-Feb-16 11:27:45

thanks potatoface, I know its medical and I should talk to them, I have an appointment next week, the problem is, it can only be done in one place where I live and they seem to be very into selling rather than a typical medical service, so I worry they'll dress it up and wont give me the pros and cons. Maybe I'm wrong, will see next week.

DiscoMoo Wed 03-Feb-16 11:32:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FluffyPersian Wed 03-Feb-16 11:39:01

One friend had a band, the other had a bypass.

My friend who had the band has had nothing but issues - She did lose 7 stone, but has put a lot of that back on. Her 'port' wasn't sewn in properly so filling it every X weeks was painful and the nurse injected her a number of times each time, so she had quite bad bruising. She paid privately so didn't address any of the issues around food or why she was overweight - She did try and follow the eating guidelines, but would eat a lot of crap, throw up, then eat more etc.

My other friend had a bypass on the NHS. She had to go to group sessions, see a counsellor, lose X amount of weight on her own and be very strict with what she ate before she could have surgery which took 18 months from start to end. She said it was more demanding that she thought it would be and recovery took longer, however she's done so, so well and is currently a size 12 from a size 26/28? She's lost over 70% of her body weight and has kept to the eating restrictions (e.g. not much) but drinks, eats junk food occasionally but on a 80% healthy / 20% good split.

If I was looking to surgery to lose weight, based on my friends, I'd actually choose the bypass - It's 100% commitment and you can't go back, but you can 'cheat' the band (e.g. 'sliders' which are like ice cream etc... ) whereas with the bypass you can't. My friend also pointed out that the band doesn't make your stomach smaller, therefore the hunger hormones are still there, whereas the bypass makes your stomach smaller and there are less hormones to make you hungry (at least, that's what my friend said!).

SealSong Wed 03-Feb-16 11:46:06

Interesting thread. Isn't there a gastric balloon procedure as well?

SparkleSoiree Wed 03-Feb-16 11:50:59

I have had a gastric band. The liquid diet was necessary for a total of two weeks after in my case. There was a two week diet prior to the surgery also where I survived on jelly and soup. Had it in for three years and eventually had it removed. Lost zero weight on it. Regular checks at clinic are necessary to have the band tightened or loosened. If it was too tight food or even saliva wouldn't get through it so it needs to be monitored regularly to ensure it's effective. You have a port in your tummy where they inject the solution to tighten your band and you are given information on recommended foods to eat afterwards. It doesn't suppress your appetite and does have an affect on your social life - you will want to be near a bathroom should you get food stuck! I told my closest family and friends to enable them to support me as much as possible. The surgery was keyhole but I was off for a couple of weeks recovering.

The biggest downside is that you can eat anything slippy or sloppy which can be ice cream, chocolate, alcohol, basically anything high in calorific value. Obviously this is totally detrimental to the point of the band and is a reason why it's ineffective.

Potatoface2 Wed 03-Feb-16 11:55:37

from reading about what you say about yourself i dont think a band would be suitable for you....and a clinic isnt a good idea totally against clinics performing any procedures....but thats my opinion....are you in the UK?....look at private hospitals....some hold free open evenings to find out more about bariatric surgery

SparkleSoiree Wed 03-Feb-16 11:56:36

Should point out I had mine performed by the NHS.

irlouise13 Wed 03-Feb-16 11:59:22

there is a gastric balloon, I think that's for people who don't have less to lose (ie 3/4 stone), it has to be removed after 6 months

irlouise13 Wed 03-Feb-16 12:01:16

no I'm in Ireland and as far as I can make out, nowhere else does it privately, and the public system is completely overwhelmed making it basically inaccessible unfortunately.

Potatoface2 Wed 03-Feb-16 12:01:39

also another point to make is it is a big commitment and you do have to make big adjustments in your life....many people feel an operation to lose weight its an easy option and a cop out, it takes a lot of hard work if you really want to make it work whatever choice of op you have

Potatoface2 Wed 03-Feb-16 12:03:19

have you looked at privately in the uk?

VR46 Wed 03-Feb-16 12:03:20

I had a band for around 2.5yrs.

Okay, so I'll start by saying that I don't regret having it, but I don't think I'd do it again if I had my time again.

I went from 17.5 stones to 12.5 stones (Size 18/20 to 14/16). That took probably 18 months.

The worst thing about the band is the port fills. Maybe it's changed now, but you pay your money and they fill it, it might be okay and the restriction is good, or it could still be slack and you have to go get another fill. Also, if they overfill it, you won't even get your saliva down. The fills are a little painful in so far as you have a big needle prodded into your tummy, and sometimes it can take a little while to get the port, if you don't like needles you won't much appreciate that part of it.

I found that I couldn't eat much when it was just right. I would throw up a lot, that included when eating out too.. and I was always wary of eating in case I had to bring it back up. The feeling when this happens is like severe heartburn, and like a big rock is stuck in your chest, it's not pleasant at all. I got very good at bringing stuff back up though, but I felt awful afterwards, the good thing was it hadn't got to your stomach, so just tasted like food and not sick. (Sorry if TMI).

Eventually my band slipped, probably because I was sick too many times? Not really sure, I didn't feel any difference in restriction, but at night I couldn't sleep laying down. My saliva would sit in the pouch and then every hour or two it would come back up into my mouth and choke me in my sleep. I would wake up coughing and spluttering. I lived off Gaviscon advance, and couldn't eat or drink past 6pm really, otherwise it kept me up. I knew if I got the band de-filled it would stop, but I enjoyed the restriction and I was losing weight, so no ways was I going to get it unfilled.

Eventually it got too much and I went for an appointment where they watch the liquid going down your throat.. they said the band had slipped and they had to take all the liquid out. This basically leaves you with a plastic ring around the top of your stomach, it slightly hurts when you eat but doesn't stop you eating/drinking what you like.

After a while of this I decided to get it repositioned and to have my Gall Bladder removed, as I had suffered badly with Gall Stones after losing the weight (very common). So I had that done and it made no difference (another 5k wasted).

A few years ago I wanted to get it removed, I didn't want it in me if it was broken and was worried about it damaging my stomach. Plus I was embarrased at having to mention it for anything medical, and it still felt a little painful eating.

I've had it out for maybe 3 yrs now.

I miss it, when it was good it was good and eventually I didn't even care for food. I remember having my Easter chocolate still hanging around in the summer! I miss that feeling of not being bothered for food and just probably feeling like a "normal" person does.

The worst thing is, I regained the weight and some more.

I think I would advise against a band, just for the simple reason of the aftercare required. Also, my mum had one, also now removed, and she really didn't get on with it and lost almost no weight with it for some reason. I had to work very hard to pick the right foods, get the fills done and generally was sick most days because it wouldn't go down.

You WILL NOT be able to eat salad, vegeteables, fruit, fish, steak or anything nutritious. It won't go down in my experience. I had to eat some food, then have a bit of bread, then a drink to try and push it through the band... like I say, probably not the best thing to do, but the amount of times bits of salad would come back up when I was sick and I'd not had salad for days.. it just sat there in my stomach and wouldn't go through the band.

I don't think it's healthy at all, there's the operation which is a risk, and then you can't eat healthy food anyhow. They make out you can eat anything, just small portions and it's just not true at all. When I had it out I ate so many apples, because I hadn't been able to have them for so long.

If I were to do bariatric surgery again, I would possible go with the gastric sleeve I think, although the long term implications of malnutrition worry me a lot, as do complications with surgery, so for that reason I would carefully consider any weight loss surgery.

I completely understand how you feel though, I dream of having that nagging "food food food" voice in my head gone.. but I'm not sure a band is the answer, I would research the other operations.

Just to add, it cost me in total £7,000 for the initial operation, £5,000 for the revison + gall bladder removal, £6,000 to have it removed, probably at least £1500-£2000 in fills.

YouSayWhaaat Wed 03-Feb-16 12:11:00

Please please please do not make your decision based on what you read on mumsnet. Go and speak to real professional (Bariatric surgeons, dietitians, psycologists). There will be a treatment option that is best for you as an individual and it takes into account a number of factors that you may not have considered. 'My mate had one and she did OK' is not the level of evidence you should be basing your decisions on.

I wish the very best of luck and health in the future!

Potatoface2 Wed 03-Feb-16 12:27:18 right...

VR46 Wed 03-Feb-16 12:28:14

The problem with that YouSayWhaaat is that they will all have a different opinion, so the OP won't be any more certain of the right path to take for her.

The bariatric surgeons I spoke to were all pro-bariatric surgery, as you would expect. Dietitians will say that they can solve this by making you a diet plan. Psychologist's will say that therapy will help.

I think most people on this thread have actually been negative about the band, rather than saying "My mate had one and she did OK". People like me, that have actually had a band, can advise the OP on what to expect and the realistic outcome of living with one. Anyone trying to sell you a band, including bariatric surgeons will not be as realistic unfortunately.

I think psychology is probably the wisest way forward for most, I had CBT therapy from a psychologist for an RTA, and it actually changed my life, it was that effective. I've never been for a weight issue though, I guess I find it deeply embarrassing.

VR46 Wed 03-Feb-16 12:29:46

Not that I'm disagreeing with you *YouSayWhaaat", just that honest opinions of the negatives can help people realise that actually it's not all as great as it sounds.

BillBrysonsBeard Wed 03-Feb-16 12:34:51

I know a woman who had the band- waste of money, she put it all back on. £6k down the drain.
I know another in the US who had the bypass. Recovery took a long time but it worked and she lost so much weight, despite always posting pics of fatty food which I guess she just ate small portions of. It stayed off for 4 years but now seems to be going back on. I'm sure others have a more successful experience though! It's hard if you're just the type of person who loves food too much.

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