Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Realize Band FAQ

ByLisa Gergen, CNP, CBN

  1. Is the Realize Band better than the Lap Band? From a scientific point of view they are equal when comparing restriction devices. Both bands function in the same manner with a 360 degree realm of restriction.
  2. What is the Realize Band inflated with and how much? Sterile saline solution is used to fill your Realize Band by inflating or deflating the Realize Band through the access port located just below the skin. It holds a total of 9cc.
  3. Does the Realize Band have only one size? Yes
  4. When do you get your first fill with the Realize Band? Depends on the surgeon’s preference. It is usually between 4 or 6 weeks post Realize Band placement.
  5. What is the difference between Lap Band and Realize Band? Both bands come open and are buckled together during installation. Both bands have a good record of weight loss. The newest Lap Bands are called the AP System and come in two sizes, APS- which holds 10cc’s of saline and the APW which holds 14cc’s. The improvements include making the reservoir (where the saline goes) go 360 degrees around, making it wider (supposed to help with slippage), and having it semi-divided into sections. It has two port sizes, regular and low profile. Both are placed by sutures. The Realize Band which is owned by Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson company, bought their band from a company in Sweden and renamed it from the Swedish Band to the Realize Band. It already had a reservoir that goes around 360 and is in the new wide style that most modern bands use. The plastic is softer (supposed to help with erosion) and the reservoir doesn't come pre-divided. It has a low profile port and the port is applied with a device that triggers claw like hooks to attach to the muscle or it can be sutured in place. It's up to the surgeon whether or not they use the claws or sew the port in place the way the Lap Band port is installed. The claws are supposed to be better for preventing port flipping.
  6. Is the Realize Band reversible? Yes, the Realize Band is reversible, but it should NOT be thought of as a temporary fix! We want patients to make a commitment to work with their Realize Band forever.
  7. Is the Realize Band safe during pregnancy? Yes, the Realize Band is perfectly safe. It can be "temporarily" reversed by simply emptying the saline out. We can usually control how much weight you gain during a pregnancy by gradually unfilling it.
  8. How much weight should I expect to lose with the Realize Band? We set a target for band patients to lose 75% of their excess body weight and we have had many patients achieve this goal. Most studies show about 60% excess body weight in the long-run.
  9. How fast does the weight come off? Weight loss is much slower with the band than with gastric bypass. Patients who are following the program usually lose 1-2 lbs per week.
  10. How many band adjustments will I need? Most patients need 3-5 adjustments in the first year after surgery.
  11. Will I continue to get adjustments forever? The Realize Band is permeable like a helium balloon, so it will harmlessly leak a very small amount of saline at a very low rate. Most patients will need a yearly adjustment for the rest of their life.
  12. Why can't I have my Realize Band taken out when I lose all my weight? Theoretically you could, however patients who have their Realize Bands taken out invariably gain weight, as they lose the appetite and portion control that comes with being banded.
  13. What kind of diet will I have to follow after my band? You will follow the basic high-protein, low-carb diet (which is also very heart healthy!)
  14. Does the Realize Band limit any physical activity? The Realize Band should not hamper physical activity, including aerobics, stretching, and strenuous exercise.
  15. Is the Realize Band port considered a low profile port? Yes. The Realize Band port comes in only one size and can be placed using either sutures or the metal claws.
  16. People have experienced stretching of the pouch, is this common with the Realize Band? With both the Realize Band and Lap Band, follow-up care is extremely important to monitor the band's placement and position. Adjustments may be required along the way to insure proper band functionality.
  17. What are the criteria for a Realize Band? You are over the age of 18, are morbidly obese with a body mass index (BMI) in excess of 40 (or in excess of 35 with one or more co-morbid conditions) and that you have already tried traditional weight loss methods (including possible drug treatment) without success.

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