If you're considering lap band bariatric surgery or have already had it, you need to be up to speed on gastric lap band lingo:
Lap Band Adjustment: Just like you can make a belt around your waist tighter or looser by adjusting the notches, a gastric band can be made tighter or looser by adjusting the amount of saline in the inner ring.
(Thus the name LAGB: Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band Surgery.) An adjustment to the band is also referred to as a "fill" in lap band talk. See below.
Lap Band Fill: A "fill" is the process of adding saline to the gastric band via the (surgically placed) port in order to produce a greater restriction/reduction in how much you can eat. The band can also be "un-filled" allowing for less restriction.
There may be times when you want to feel less restricted and choose to have the band "let out" (e.g., when you're going on a cruise) and there may be times when you need to have it "un-tightened," (e.g., when you're sick with the stomach flu and persistently vomiting). You should only get fills from a qualified doctor or nurse. Never attempt lap band fills yourself!
Lap Band Slime: This is lap band talk for the slimy vomit you may experience if food gets stuck in the gastric band. YUCK. Take small bites and chew thoroughly and "slime" never has to be a part of your lap band talk.
Port: Lap band talk for the access point used to adjust the gastric band. The port is surgically placed under the skin at the time of lap band surgery and is attached to tubing that's attached to the gastric band.
Restriction: Just like it sounds, the "amount of restriction" you have is a reflection of how tight the gastric band is (how much "fill" you have). The tighter the lap band, the less food you'll be able to eat.
If you're too "restricted, however" (e.g, the band is "too tight") you won't even be able to keep water down. That's not good. If you "don't have enough of a restriction," (e.g., you can eat as much after bariatric surgery as you could before surgery), that's not good either. It may be time for a "fill" in the latter case.
Stoma: Term used to describe the narrow passage (created by gastric banding) between the upper and lower portion of the stomach.
The size of the stoma is controlled by adjusting the amount of lap band fill. (More fill = tighter band = smaller stoma) The stoma regulates the flow of food from upper to lower stomach.
I like to think of the stoma as a "drain." Consider that everything you eat has to pass the stoma (or "get down the drain"). If you take too big of a bite, don't chew your food well, or eat the wrong foods, you'll wind up with a "clogged drain."
Sweet Spot: Lap band talk used to describe the feeling where your gastric band is tight enough...but not too tight. It's not uncommon to require a few tries before you and your doctor discover the required fill to achieve this spot.
Bariatric Dietitian: Kinda cheesy to add this here, I know, but I feel I have to! Your lap band dietitian needs to be a regular part of your lap band lingo! Your ability and motivation to stick to the post lap band diet have everything to do with your success.
Your gastric band dietitian is one of your most valuable team members. She/he is there to help you succeed. Make sure you check in with your dietitian at regularly planned intervals (once every 1-2 months or more if necessary) even if your insurance doesn't pay for it. It may be the best out-of-pocket-expense you ever spend.
A good bariatric dietitian can provide you ongoing support and motivation, help assure you're eating a nutritionally balanced diet, keep you stocked with new and exciting lap band recipes, and address any personal food questions/problems you have. Don't have a personal dietitian? Need a good one? Contact ME.
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