Gastric Banding (Lap Band) Risks & Side Effects

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As with all the weight loss surgeries, there is always the chance of complications with Gastric Banding or Lap Band surgery. Risks include leaks, bleeding, hernia, pulmonary embolism (a blood clot to the lungs) or even death.  

One the main disadvantages of this type of surgery is that patients need to develop a healthy diet and stick to it if they want to see significant weight loss.  Many patients experience gas which can be foul smelling.  The band may need adjusting if it is too tight or loose.  If the band is too tight and you eat food which is really crunchy you can experience a feeling of the food being stuck.  Some patients have to resort to puree foods and liquids if this happens. 

For some this procedure is not covered by insurance companies because it is a relatively new surgery.

Side Effects of Gastric Band Surgery

You should be well aware of the side effects of lap band surgery before your procedure.  Your surgeon should have informed you so you know both the positive and negative side effects along with the risks of surgery. 

If you have many health problems, the risks are higher.  The better condition you are in health-wise the less the risks of surgery will be.  Some of the possible complications or side effects of lap band surgery are:

  • Erosion –where the band migrates through the stomach wall
  • Gastritis (irritated stomach tissue), stomach ulcers
  • Slippage – were the band is displaced sometimes causing an obstruction
  • Internal bleeding
  • Infection
  • Leaks – usually a the point where the band meets with the stomach wall, port or connecting tube

Some of the most common side effects can be vomiting, nausea, feeling faint, sweating, diarrhea and abdominal pain.  Often these symptoms are a sign of some type of complication such as the band being displaced or needing adjustment.  In some cases patients can experience severe abdominal pain, which can be a sign of a leak, which will require correction surgery.  Complications are generally rare, however it is important that you are aware of what could happen and inform your surgeon of any abnormal side effects.  Other side effects include stoma obstruction, constipation, gastro esophageal reflux and dysphasia.  

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