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December 11, 2010

What is the band?

   My friend Mike asked a good question on the Weigh In #5 blog when I mentioned getting my band filled...what exactly does that mean?  I don't think I've ever actually talked about it on here. The best description of the band itself is that it is like a small blood pressure cuff.  The band itself is attached around the stomach near the top.  What this does is create a small "pouch" at the top of my stomach.  The top part is also where the receptors are located that tell you when you are full.

   The way it works is that when you eat, the food is slowed down significantly in the new pouch and then slowly makes its way into the main part of the stomach.  Since the pouch fills quickly, your body feels full faster.  The band itself has a tube with a port at the end.  The port is attached inside my stomach on the muscle just below the rib cage.  It can hold up to 14cc of fluid and every now and then, they use a special syringe and go into the port through my stomach and put fluid into it.  That does the same thing air does to a blood pressure cuff and makes the band tighter around my stomach, further limiting what I can eat.

   The fills will happen a number of times over the next couple of years.  If the band is too loose, I will eat too much and not lose weight.  If it is too tight, food won't go down.  Not only are you looking for the "sweet spot" where I don't feel too hungry and am not overeating though.  As you loose weight, the fat stores around your stomach are lost and the band also gets more loose.  I am very excited for a fill because I definitely feel I am able to eat a lot more than I want to be able to.  So there is a good description of the band and what a fill is.  Please comment and let me know if you have any other questions about the surgery, equipment, process or anything at all!!  I'd love to post an answer.

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