Laparoscopic surgery has many pros, such as minimal scaring, fast recovery, and lower chances of infection. Nevertheless, it also has a side effect experienced by many patients: post-surgical gas pain. Since the band is placed in the stomach laparoscopically, DayOne Health patients report gas pain as the most immediate side effect of the weight loss procedure. If you would like to discuss this or other aspects of the lap-band surgery with a weight loss surgeon, sign up for a one-on-one lap-band consultation today.
Why is the gas there?
During your lap-band procedure, in order to get better access to your stomach, the weight loss surgeon fills your abdomen with CO2 gas. After surgery, some of the gas stays trapped against the diaphragm (a muscle below your lungs) and irritates it. Usually DayOne Health patients report it as an abdominal or shoulder pain. The reason why you feel pain in your shoulder is because retained CO2 puts pressure on the phrenic nerve, which connects most of your internal organs. Usually, patients of our Chicago clinic report gas pain underneath the abdomen, and moving to the shoulder. Everyone is different, and the speed with which gas gets reabsorbed may differ. Most often the gas build up goes away after few days; nevertheless, some lap-band patients admit they may feel some discomfort even a few weeks after the laparoscopic banding.
How can I relieve gas pain after lap-band surgery?
Because the shoulder pain comes from the gas pressure in your abdomen, the natural way of fighting the discomfort is walking and drinking warm drinks. Moving around and warming up your stomach will give you “more space inside,” relieving the pressure. As you may have guessed, your gas pain will most likely get worse when your stomach is full or you feel bloated; therefore, after lap-band surgery you should definitely stick to the diet advised by your dietitian. Most of the time, these simple recommendations help gastric band patients to minimize the pain and make it go away faster. Remember, heat, massage, and exercise are your best friends in dealing with the discomfort caused by a post-surgical gas buildup. If you feel that your pain is getting worse with bloating, you can try to take GasX or any other over the counter bloating medicine.
As I mentioned before, gas pain is not inherent to the lap-band surgery only, but to all laparoscopic procedures. However, as a lap-band patient remember that a few days with gas pain is just a small price to pay for soon-to-be lost pounds. While the shoulder pain is temporary, the lap-band is a permanent solution to your weight struggle. Moreover, the benefits of laparoscopic placement of the band highly surpasses the side effects which in the case of open weight loss surgery can be much more severe.