No doubt you've been reading a lot more about lap band surgery, adjustable gastric band surgery and gastric bypass surgery in the past few years than ever before. Although weight loss surgery has been around for many years, newer procedures and techniques have made it safer and more common. However there are many risks of lap band surgery, complications and side effects to be aware of.
If you've been thinking about a gastric banding procedure to lose weight, such as lap band surgery, which is a safer alternative than permanent gastric bypass surgery, you may be wondering what the health risks are or what possible complications can develop from this procedure .
When doing your research online you'll no doubt read on the lap band websites that are promoting lap band surgery some of the risks and complications but you need to find out all of the risks and possible complications. You'll also want to know what side effects to expect and if you can handle these. And will you lose weight and if so at what pace?
Of course one of the best ways is to read articles like this and to go to lap band forums where you can discuss your concerns. You particularly want to find forums that are owned by people who have had lap band surgery and see what they have to say, good and bad, and what testimonials you can find.
Any surgery can be risky and many have more risks than others. In any event elective surgery is always something that should not be taken lightly. As a nurse I've been present at many surgeries and although most of the surgeries go well, there are those that have complications. If a patient is obese or overweight or are carrying a lot of extra fat tissue, there can be some serious health problems present that may or may not be evident or known about and may have serious health consequences regardless of the type of surgery the patient is having.
Some of the risks to be concerned about are those that are general to any surgery and are affected by your age, weight, how you react to the anesthesia and what diseases you may have and whether they're related to your weight problem or not. I will not go into all the risks of general surgery here but focus on the specifics risks and complications for lap band surgery.
The largest risk of lap band surgery is the possibility of gastric perforation during the surgery, which occurs in about one percent of the surgeries. Gastric perforation is a tear in the wall of the stomach.
Following lap band surgery there are numerous complications that can develop over the next few months or so. These can range from the less mild to more serious. Directions after surgery must be followed closely, as solid food eaten too early can cause a medical emergency. This mistake is made if the weight loss surgery patient eats solid food in the day or two after surgery or if they have traveled to Mexico or another country and fly home soon after surgery and think it's okay to indulge a little. Make sure you understand the lap band diet and understand liquid food and solid food restrictions.
Side effects can affect many patients such as nausea and vomiting and some will experience regurgitation. Some patients will find that the band has slipped and it'll need to be adjusted and some find that the passage is blocked between the two sections of the banded stomach.
The extended list of risks include ulceration, gastritis, which is irritated or inflamed stomach tissue, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux), which is regurgitation, heartburn, bloating from flatulence (gas), difficulty swallowing, dehydration, constipation, regaining of weight and rarely death but needs to be mentioned. If the surgery is done laparoscopically rather than a full open surgery then there are other problems that can develop such as liver damage or spleen damage (requiring removal of the spleen), damage to the blood vessels, lung problems, blood clots, the rupture of the incision and perforation of the esophagus or stomach during surgery.
Following surgery there are problems that can develop with the lap bad system type of gastric banding and they include: a deflating of the band causing leakage, which can come from the tubing band or the reservoir, slippage of the band or stomach, an enlargement of the pouch and the stomach outlet can be blocked, or the band can erode directly into the stomach.
Be aware that the cost of lap band surgery may rise if you have after-surgery and ongoing complications that are not fully covered under your health insurance plan or affect your pocketbook if you are paying cash out of your pocket. So you want to research this also.
Although lap band surgery is typically done laparoscopically, in some cases the surgeon may have to switch to a more open method of surgery, which has happened in about 5% of the cases as reported in a US clinical study.
Make sure that you completely understand all the risks of lap band surgery and adjustable gastric banding and discuss them fully with your bariatric or weight loss surgeon before undergoing this surgery. Although safer than the more permanent gastric bypass surgery it does come with risks, possible complications and side effects. What is not known are the long term effects of this surgery. This is true whenever you tamper with nature. So it's better to be safe than sorry. Make sure you do plenty of research before you commit.