Weigh-Ins are on MONDAYS - Updated July 3, 2017

Surgery Date: October 20, 2009:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Does a Lap Band Adjustment Hurt?

This shout-out post is for the newbies.  I get emails from you guys all the time asking about whether a band adjustment (A.K.A "a fill") hurts.  Well, since I had a fill yesterday, I thought that I'd tell you all about it.

Here's how a fill usually goes down:
  1. I lay on the table and lift up my shirt to just below my bra line. I fold my pants waistband down. I put my hands/arms above my head.
  2. My belly area is cleansed with Betodine.
  3. The medical professional feels for the port (I am very lucky that my port is pretty easy to find).  It helps to push your tummy out a bit, like you're doing a sit-up.
  4. The area is numbed with Lidocane (this hurts more than the actual fill, in my opinion)
  5. The port is accessed with a special needle as shown below.  Fluid is added or removed and then the needle is taken out.  Here's a photo of the needle inside my port yesterday:
      6.  They clean up my belly to remove the Betodine and then put a band-aid on.

My nurse practitioner ended up putting in 0.3 ccs which takes it to a grand total of 7.6 ccs in my 10 cc Lap Band.

Here's what it looks like when the needle is removed:

Overall: it hurts less than a flu shot or a vaccine in your arm.

By the way, the sensation of when they remove fluid is really an odd feeling.  I cannot explain it very well.  You have to experience it to know it.  I feel like I can't quite catch my breath. It's super weird. But it tells me that yes, indeed, there's a band in there.

Tomorrow's post: 10 Tips For Unlocking the Keys To Success With the Lap Band.  (Ummm...yeah, I stole borrowed some informational sheets from the surgeon's office yesterday and I will be sharing them with you.)


  1. I have never had local before my fills,It is a really odd feeling when they remove the fluid,you are right hard to describe:))

  2. I was just so happy to get the unfill ... all I felt was happiness (I guess I'm not much help with this one). :)

  3. I just had my very 1st fill on Oct 26th and there was nothing to it at all.. It went just how Lapband Gal described. The numbing stuff stung but the fill needle didn't hurt at all I just felt a little pressure from the doctor pushing on the port.

  4. I have never had lidocane before my fills. I have had to be stuck more than once so not so pleasant but then again nothing horrible.

    I have only had two fills in four years I am quite lucky!

  5. Good to know!!! Since I go for my first fill next week.

  6. Mine always hurts! They never numb the area though. I wonder why that is. But my port doesn't really stick out much so the PA always has to dig into my gut with her fingers to find the port and then she digs around with the needle for a while before it actually hits the port. It's definitely uncomfortable and I always have a huge bruise after. But it only lasts 5 minutes or so and it's worth it to me to have my band adjusted to the right level.

  7. I've also never had the lidocane before. However, my port is so close to the surface of my skin that I can actually grab it!
    I've never gotten a band aid either. I'll have to tell my doc I feel robbed!

  8. Strange how some docs numb and use that big ol' needle, but my fill place does them with the tiniest syringe you ever did see. :)

    You're braver than me, I'd see that and be ready to leave.

  9. My practice does not numb me beforehand, and I still barely feel anything. I almost didn't have surgery due to my fear of needles, but fills are really such a non-issue. At the same time, I won't be looking at the needle... I just keep my eyes closed.

  10. I too have never been numbed, but honestly, I don't really think you need it. The stick is def that of a vaccine and doesn't hurt. It's only when the Nurse gets a little anxious that she hasn't got the needle directly into the port right away that it might get a little uncomfortable. Overall though, it's easy breezy.

  11. They never numb my area either. I always think it hurts a little bit, a bit more than a shot. However it's totally manageable. I have also been told I'm a wuss for pain. Hee Hee

  12. Disclaimer - I'm terrified of needles; I almost didn't have my surgery because of the fills part. However, the fill is not bad at all. I have not been numbed either, and it is easy and just a quick pinch and it's over. Takes a minute and sooo worth the results.

  13. I don't get locals either, they just go straight in with the needle. I used to HATE shots, but between this and allergy shots, I barely notice anymore. ;)

  14. I can't believe you get a local for a fill! It's got to be more painful than the actual procedure.
    Although, if you think back to your heavier days, the fills were probably less painful than they are now. Seems to be more pain when it's closer to the surface.
    I've been banded for almost 3 years (Dec 08) and have lost 100-105 lbs. I have a bit of a window up and down, but over all, very happy.
    My fill nurse is quick and well trained and it doesn't hurt beyond a bit of a pinch. Once the needle is through the skin (the pinch part),the practioner can move it around a little as needed to locate the port. No pain.
    And then you should get a band aid.

  15. Good LORD that needle is HUGE!!!! I request Lidocaine (and lots of it). One pinch, a tiny burn, then feel NOTHING. From the time the alcohol swab touches my skin to the time the band aid is applied is 1 minute. I love my NP. Well, and the Lidocaine, too. :) If you don't get offered Lidocaine, ASK if you want it. Advocate for yourself to get what you need and what makes you comfortable. Good luck newbies. I'm a pain weenie. If I can do it, so can you!

  16. Cool photo :) Did you take it lying down, lol!

  17. Yep, took it lying down...ha ha

  18. I had my first fill a week ago and was not numbed. It was not bad at all. My fill was done under fluoroscopy and while laying on the table I was shaking like a leaf. Then the doctor inserted the needle in the port and I couldn't believe that was it!

  19. Im thinking about getting lap band surgery but im terrified of needles. I go out of my way to not get them. Yes im a big baby. Any advice for this procedure. Looking at that big needle scares me. Lol