Lap Band Surgery Side Effects: The Good and the Bad

Posted by Jason Radecke on Tue, Sep 23, 2014

There’s no question that undergoing lap band surgery has been a life-altering, amazing experience for many people. Many patients say that this decision was one of the best that they’ve ever made because it gave them the tool and the strength they needed to live a better, healthier lifestyle. Because this surgery involves placing a belt around part of the stomach, in order to decrease hunger feelings and satisfy your body off of smaller portions, there are some complications or side effects that may be present. Although complications are minimal and treatable in most patients, the side effects are sometimes long-term. The side effects are realistically just things that happen because of having a gastric band. Depending on how you cope with the lap band surgery side effects and turn them into everyday parts of your new life, determines how successful you are at adopting the band as a weight loss tool and using it as part of your journey to shedding the pounds.

Weight Loss

One side effect of gastric banding is a lack of adequate weight loss. Sometimes patients come back to their doctor or surgeon, reporting that their weight loss hasn’t been sufficient enough. They haven’t lost as much as they thought they would or as much as they would have liked. Often times this is because a lot of patients don’t realize that the band won’t lose the weight for them. The band is a tool. It gives you the necessary push that you need, but it can’t choose what you put in your body or how you take care of it. Basically, many people don’t follow their postoperative exercise and dietary regimens. This can be easily resolved by putting more focus on proper dieting and exercise. Many side effects can actually be avoided by following your doctor or surgeon’s guidelines!

Nausea & Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are not things that you’ll have to worry about for the rest of your lap band life. They’re common side effects, and most of the time they’re caused by diet related issues. Sometimes when patients eat too fast, too much or something not on their dietary plan, nausea and vomiting occur. However, it’s very important to contact your physician if you’re vomiting as it could be a sign of other lap band complications.

lap band surgery side effects

Heartburn & Reflux

Fried foods, some fruit juices, drinking any type of alcohol and even eating too late can all cause heartburn and acid reflux. You need to figure out what types of food trigger these effects in your body, and adjust your diet accordingly. After talking with your physician, both can be combated with over-the-counter meds or prescriptions.


Lap band slippage
occurs when the band slips out of its intended place, off of the upper portion of the stomach. According to Lap-Band manufacturer Allergan, band slippage occurs in two to four percent of cases. This problem is typically fixed by your surgeon or doctor tightening, repositioning, or removing the band. If the band needs to be removed, conversion to a different weight loss surgery, like gastric bypass, is often recommended and very effective. Sometimes the band may also erode into the stomach. This is also a very rare occurrence, only one percent of patients really experience lap band erosion. Erosion generally reverses the lap band procedure, as patients no longer feel satisfied from small portions. They eat more and, in turn, gain more weight. Although both these complications are incredibly rare, if they do happen they can be treated by removing or repositioning the band.Band Slippage & Erosion

You’ve heard plenty about the side effects, complications and other unpleasant features of lap band surgery, but don’t forget about the benefits! This procedure is the least invasive weight loss surgery, it’s adjustable, reversible, and compatible with pregnancy (for the women who were wondering). It has reduced, reversed or prevented people suffering from asthma, Type II diabetes, sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux, and high blood pressure. Most importantly though, it’s an outstanding tool to help get people the life they deserve. If you’re interested in lap band surgery, contact Riverside for a personal consultation with one of our bariatric surgeons. We can answer all of your lap band questions and help you decide on the perfect weight loss option for you.  

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Tags: Lap Band Complications

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