#6 – THE MORE FILL, THE BETTER
I’ve heard bariatric surgeons comment that some band patients seem to be addicted to fills. I can identify with that because I had a good relationship with my band surgeon who not only administered my fills but gave me a lot of encouragement as well as answers to my many questions. I left each fill appointment with a renewed sense of commitment and hope. How can you not get hooked on something good like that?
The problem with equating fills with weight loss success is that more fill is not always better. In fact, too much fill (which varies from one patient to the next, and also varies in a single patient as time goes on and the patient’s body keeps changing) can be downright dangerous. An overfilled band, and the side effects it causes (see #5 above), can lead to a complication like a band slip, esophageal dilation, or stomach dilation. While complications can come out of nowhere, most bariatric surgeons agree that too much saline in the band puts too much pressure on the stomach. Eventually something’s got to give. That’s often hastened by the patient’s efforts to eat around the problem, and it is absolutely not a guarantee of weight loss. I gained weight several times because of what’s called Soft Calorie Syndrome. My band was too tight and I was dealing with it by consuming mostly soft and liquid calories that offered little or no satiety.
The human body is an incredible organism, capable of amazing feats of growth and healing that we take mostly for granted, but it’s not endlessly forgiving. Too much fill in your band, too many eating problems, too much inflammation and irritation in the upper GI tract, can compromise your body’s ability to recover from a complication like a band slip. Sometimes a complication can be treated conservatively, with an unfill and rest period, but sometimes it requires a surgical fix, including removal of the band. And after all you’ve gone through to get that band wrapped around your stomach, shouldn’t you be doing your utmost to treat it (and your body) with respect?
Finally, the fill myth can cause us to overlook a very important guest at your WLS party….you. If you are going to succeed with your band, lose weight and keep it off and keep that band safe and sound inside you, sooner or later you will have to take personal responsibility for your success. Expecting your band alone to carry you to your goal weight is like expecting your car to safely deliver your child to school without anybody in the driver’s seat. And I sure hope that you are a very important person in your life!