Medication Guide App

Vertical Banded Gastroplasty


  • Vertical banded gastroplasty (GAS-troh-plas-tee) is also called "gastric stapling" or "stomach stapling". It is a surgery that is done to help a severely obese (very overweight) person lose weight. During surgery caregivers use a soft band and staples to make a small stomach pouch. When you eat, food collects in the stomach pouch. Because the pouch is very small, you will feel full quickly. A narrow opening (stoma) at the bottom of the stomach pouch allows food to pass into the rest of the stomach. Between meals, the food moves from the pouch to the stomach and is digested (broken down) normally. Over time, you may lose weight because you feel full sooner and cannot eat as much food during a meal.

  • Right after surgery, you will look and weigh about the same as you did before surgery. As you begin your new eating and lifestyle habits, you will begin to lose weight. Losing the amount of weight that you want after VBG takes time. It may take 18 to 24 months to reach the weight that is best for you.



  • Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.

  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.

  • Acetaminophen: Use acetaminophen to decrease pain or to lower a high body temperature (fever). Do not take aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAIDs). Aspirin and NSAIDs may cause stomach irritation or an ulcer. Read labels so that you know the active ingredients in each medicine that you take.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

What diet changes should I make after VBG surgery?

Right after surgery, you will start with a clear liquid diet. Then you will begin a soft diet. At the beginning of the soft diet, you may need to puree (chop up) your food in a blender or food processor. You may feel full after only a few teaspoons of food. In time, your stomach pouch will expand a little bit. Then you should be able to eat about one-half to three-fourths cup of food during each meal. You should also be able to eat regular foods (instead of only soft or clear liquid foods). Do the following after your VBG surgery:

  • Eat slowly. Chew your food well before swallowing. Large bits of food may cause choking, or block your stoma.

  • Eat three small meals each day. Do not eat snacks between meals unless your caregivers say it is OK. During meals stop eating when you feel full, even if you have not eaten all of your meal.

  • Do not eat and drink at the same time. Drink liquids between meals. Wait at least one or two hours before drinking liquids after a meal.

  • Drink the right type of liquids.

    • Drink water or drinks that have few or no calories. These include diet drinks, tea, coffee, and skim or one percent lowfat milk.

    • Ask your caregiver if you may have alcoholic drinks, such as wine or beer, on special occasions.

  • Select nutritious foods to eat.

    • It is important to get enough protein. Good protein foods are meat, poultry (chicken and turkey), fish, eggs, nuts, and legumes (peas and beans). Dairy products such as milk and yogurt are also good sources of protein.

    • You may have trouble eating certain foods after your surgery. Examples of these foods are red meats, bread, rice, and foods that contain a lot of fiber. Start with softer meats such as fish and chicken.

    • Take multivitamins as ordered by your caregiver. Ask your caregiver, a dietitian, or a nutritionist any questions you may have about your diet plan. A dietitian or nutritionist works with you to find the right diet plan for you. Dietitians and nutritionists can also help to make your new diet a regular part of your life.

What else should I do to take care of myself?

  • When you are allowed to bathe or shower, carefully wash the incision with soap and water. Afterwards, put on a clean, new bandage. Ask your caregiver if you should cover your bandage with plastic wrap to keep it dry. If you have steristrips, let them peel and fall off by themselves. Change your bandage any time it gets wet or dirty. If you cannot reach the incision area, ask someone else to help you.

  • Do not miss medical appointments. It is important to follow your weight loss team or caregiver's instructions for the rest of your life. This includes changing your eating habits and lifestyle, taking vitamins and supplements, and going to regular medical appointments. If you do these things, you will decrease your risk of problems after surgery.

  • Begin exercising as soon as possible. Make an exercise plan that you can start when you get home.

  • Do not try to get pregnant until you have lost the weight that you wanted to lose. Your weight should be stable. Getting pregnant while quickly losing weight could hurt you and your unborn baby. If you want to get pregnant, talk to your caregiver about this first.

  • Ask your caregiver when you can start doing your usual activities again.


  • You cannot stop vomiting. You have nausea (sick to your stomach) that will not go away.

  • You have pain or pressure in your belly or back, hiccups, and you feel restless. Call if you also have a very fast heart rate that will not slow down.

  • You have new swelling or pain in the calf (lower part) of your leg.

  • You have redness, swelling, or drainage (pus) coming from your incision.

  • You have any questions or concerns about VBG or your care.


  • You have sudden chest pain, trouble breathing, or are coughing-up blood. Call 911 or 0 (operator) to get to the nearest hospital or clinic. Do not drive yourself!

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Vertical Banded Gastroplasty (Discharge Care)