Food Sticking for Lap Band Patient

Question Below Submitted By:  

Chris (a patient from Rockingham)

I had the band fitted 5 years ago and have only lost 4 kilos as a result of the band. Because I was working on mine sites, the surgeon did not want to put too much fill in just in case I experienced sticking.

I experienced sticking all of the time and not with the foods that we were warned about.

Basically anything could get stuck at any time and I was always having to put my finger down my throat to bring up something which helped unblock. After 5 years of this, I have just had the band removed and I am in quite a bit of pain. It was a difficult experience.

Whilst I was told about the possibility of food sticking, I never expected the experience that I had.

I know of a couple of people who have had the surgery – one person was very overweight and he has lost quite a bit but would still be at least 140 kilos. The other person was a young mother who due to constant sticking had the band removed and had a gastric sleeve which has been very successful for her.

Bariatric Surgery Source

Expert Responses to the Question Above

Food Sticking with the Lap Band

by: Dani

Hi Chris,

Thank you for your question.

I think that your question is about food sticking with the Lap Band.

With any weight loss procedure or surgery, I have had patients comment that sometimes food "gets stuck" after swallowing. There can be many reasons for this. With the Lap Band, sometimes, food can be held up in the lower esophagus because it was too big of a bite or because it was not chewed well enough, or even if it was consumed too fast. I frequently recommend the following:

1. Take bites that are about the size of a dime. Yes, I know a dime is very small but this will help you to be able to chew it thoroughly.

2. Chew, chew, chew and then, chew some more! I recommend chewing each bite until it is "apple sauce" like consistency. What I mean by this is when you are chewing, if you feel like you are still breaking that bite apart, the keep chewing. If you feel like a bite is already mushy, then swallow. This is something that everyone should do. I frequently remind my children that our stomachs do not have teeth and it's best to use the teeth in their mouths for chewing.

3. Take your time when eating. A meal should last for at least 20 minutes. Each bite of food, the chewing process, swallowing and pausing should last for one minute. I recommend having a clock with a second hand to help with this.

4. Lastly, try to eat in a relaxed environment so that you are not feeling rushed or stressed.

This is education that I use with all of my patients regardless of their procedure.

Some foods can be "stickier" than others. Many of my patients avoid foods like breads, noodles, rice and other sticky grains and starches because of the "stickiness" factor of these foods. This is perfectly fine because we don't actually need these kinds of food like we need protein and produce.

I recommend focusing on a protein and produce approach to eating and try following the recommendation I gave above to see if this helps you.

Take care,
Danielle DeKay, Bariatric Dietitian

(click here for Dani's full bio & contact info)

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the details provided. The above should never replace the advice of your local physicians as they have the ability to evaluate you in person.

Related Pages:
- Bariatric Diet (What you eat)
- Bariatric Eating (How you eat)


Patient Responses to the Question Above

Response to Chris

by: Patrick

Thanks for sharing your experience Chris.

Since your LAP-BAND removal, do you have any updates on your current weight?

I know that some patients undergo more weight loss surgery after a "failed" LAP-BAND. There are other weight loss options that have less side effects than the LAP-BAND. You can see the most popular options on a page entitled 6 Types of Weight Loss Surgery.

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