Dr. Bhoyrul describes the ideal LAP-BAND® bariatric surgery candidate. He also shares how a woman can prepare for LAP-BAND® surgery and discusses whether she will be in pain after the procedure.
The ideal LAP-BAND® patient is a woman who realizes that the surgery is a tool for success, a woman who is able to really completely take charge of her health.
And she says, she wakes up one day and she says, “Not only am I going to see my doctor and get a LAP-BAND®, but I am going to be responsible for my physical activity. I am going to be responsible for the food choices that I make, and I am going to work in a strong partnership with my doctor.”
That strong-willed woman is the one who is going to do the best with surgery and is going to do the best with the LAP-BAND® surgery.
If you are getting ready to have a LAP-BAND® procedure there are really two things you can do to make it a safe and effective procedure. One has to do with diet; one has to do with exercise.
As a surgeon the part of the stomach that I have to band is directly underneath the liver. Now it turns out that the liver is about 40 percent junk food by weight. The liver just acts as a sponge, if you will, for sugar.
So every time you go out there and you eat anything with sugar, anything highly processed, the liver enlarges. The good news is when you starve yourself of sugar, when you starve yourself from processed food the liver shrinks.
Well when the liver shrinks I can see what I am doing better than when it’s bigger. So it makes sense. If you are going to have a LAP-BAND® you need to be on a sugar-free diet for one to two weeks leading up to the surgery.
Because then your liver is smaller and your surgeon can see what he is doing. He has a good time; you have a faster recovery. That’s a win-win situation so that’s diet.
Number two, exercise. The number one cause of death in the United States from weight loss surgery is the blood clot that starts off in your calves and goes to your heart.
Well, that’s preventable. If we ask ourselves why do blood clots happen? They happen because you got a stagnant circulation. Why this circulation stagnate? Because you don’t exercise.
And so just going for a walk for 20 minutes every day for a couple of weeks before surgery will make sure that those calf muscles are moving, that the blood isn’t stagnating in your calves and when you have surgery you don’t get a blood clot.
So two really simple and really effective things you can do to make sure you have a safe and effective operation is give up your sugars for a couple of weeks and go for a walk for 20 minutes a day for a couple of weeks.
For people who are going to have the LAP-BAND® system procedure the level of discomfort is about the same as a friend of yours who may have had a gall bladder or an appendix operation.
In other words, it’s laparoscopic surgery. Most patients should experience minimal discomfort. In other words they, should really have that discomfort that’s easily treated with a prescription strength pain medication.
About a third of our patients go home within a couple of hours of surgery, so that’s a good example of how little painkiller is required for surgery.
About Dr. Sunil Bhoyrul, M.D.:
Dr. Sunil Bhoyrul, M.D., is the award-winning surgeon in charge of the bariatric surgery program at La Jolla Weight Management. He is a fellowship-trained specialist in laparoscopic surgery and an attending surgeon at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California and Alvarado Hospital in San Diego. Previously, Dr. Bhoyrul was the head of general surgery and surgical director of bariatric surgery at the Scripps Clinic. Each year since 2005, Dr. Bhoyrul has been selected by his peers as one of the “Best Doctors in America.” He was also honored with San Diego’s “Top Doctor” award for 2008.