Laparoscopic adjustable gastric band surgery is a very safe and relatively straight forward surgical weight loss procedure. As with any surgical procedure however, there are potential side effects.
Lap band surgery essentially creates a small pouch by restricting the upper portion of the stomach. The surgeon wraps a band across the upper stomach, making a smaller pouch to be emptied into the larger, bottom of the stomach. The result is being fuller from smaller food portions. The lap band side effects are minimal but possible; they may occur from surgery or the band itself.
Although rare, the Lap-Band device can slip and thus tighten across the larger stomach pouch. This slip can occur if too few stitches were placed, the band was placed too loosely, or if the patient consumes a meal that is too large. According to Lap-Band manufacturer Allergan, band slippage occurs in 2-4 percent of cases. In these cases the problem is typically resolved by a physician tightening, repositioning the band, or converting to a different surgery.
Acid reflux, which may lead to regular heartburn, can be a side effect of Lap-Band surgery. The condition should be reported to your bariatric surgeon. It can be treated by either prescription or over-the-counter medications. If no acid reflux problems occur post-surgery, but then abruptly develop, a band slippage could have been triggered and would be treated by the physician as well.
Band erosion is a rare but serious side effect of Lap-Band surgery. In one study, Dr. Christine Ren from NYU, stated that the condition occurred in less than 1 percent of Lap-Band patients. The condition develops as the band device rubs against and eventually erodes into the stomach. As a result, food will no longer be restricted from passing through. The primary symptoms would be increased feelings of hunger and weight gain. Other symptoms may be irritation or pain at the incision site that can result in a serious infection if untreated. If a patient experiences these symptoms the physician should be notified immediately. Lap-Band erosion can be treated by surgically removing and repositioning the band or through other options of bariatric surgery.
Effective and common conversion surgeries include:
Lap-Band surgery is a generally very safe and effective procedure for weight loss but may not be the option for you. At Riverside Surgical and Weight Loss Center we are committed to personalizing your goals of weight loss to be as comfortable for you as possible. For more on the options and procedures that may catapult you towards your goal, please contact us today!