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The Potential Risks of Having Your Stomach Banded

Woman showing how much weight she lost. Healthy lifestyles concept

If you are overweight or obese, it is likely that you have heard of lap band surgery. As one of the most commonly performed types of weight loss surgeries, many people have now started to see it as 100% safe and very common. However, it continues to be a surgical procedure, and it is very important that you understand the potential risks associated with it.

How to Find True Information about Lap Band Surgery

The fact of the matter is that, out of all the different types of weight loss surgeries, the lap band is the safest of all. However, it is a medical procedure, and that means there are risks associated with it. Those risks can be hard to find, however, as most medical facilities will not be too keen on sharing them. Luckily, there are many different forums online where people who have had the procedure come together to discuss their experiences. But there, again, you must take things with a grain of salt, because once even the tiniest thing goes wrong with a procedure, people will often make it sound as if everything went wrong. Hence, the recommendation is to search for potential concerns, and discuss these with your specialist.

What Are the Risks of the Lap Band?

The risks of the lap band vary tremendously. In many cases, when someone does experience complications, it is because they had an unidentified medical condition, hidden by their obesity. What the surgery did, by making them lose weight, is make that condition more visible – and treatable.

The chance of experiencing complications also varies depending on your weight, your age, your comorbid conditions, and the type of anesthetic you have. But those are chances that exist with any type of procedure, and are not reserved solely for those who have lap band procedures.

The biggest, and one of the rarest, risks of lap band surgery is gastric perforation. This has occurred in around 1% of surgeries. Gastric perforation tends to happen during the procedure.

After your surgery, there is a chance of other complications as well, some of which are mild, and others that are serious. In order to avoid those, you should follow the advice in terms of aftercare. Most complications happen because people go back to solid food too quickly, or because they don’t understand their dietary restrictions. This means they are fully preventable.

Then, there are the side effects. Some people experience regurgitation, and nausea and vomiting are quite common for the first few days. Other possible side effects include:

  • Gastritis (inflamed or irritated stomach tissue).
  • Ulceration.
  • GERD (bloating, flatulence, heartburn, regurgitation).
  • Dehydration.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Weight regain.
  • Constipation.

In very rare cases, the complications of lap band are fatal. This is becoming increasingly less common, however, as lap bands are now performed mainly laparoscopically. If the surgery is performed as open surgery, which happens in about 5% of cases, potential surgical complications include:

  • Spleen damage.
  • Liver damage.
  • Blood vessel damage.
  • Blood clots.
  • Lung damage.
  • Incision site rupture.
  • Esophagus perforation.
  • Stomach perforation.

After surgery, there are some other potential problems to be aware of, including the band deflating, the band slipping, the band eroding, the pouch being enlarged, or the outlet becoming blocked.

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