Complications of Lap Band Surgery

There are many options available if you need to lose some weight. However, if you are very obese, you may find exercising to lose weight is difficult. If this is the case, you may be considering lap band surgery.

Lap band surgery is only recommended if you have 100 pounds or more of excess weight to lose and are willing to make changes in your diet and exercise routines. Lap band surgery should be used only if you’ve tried other weight loss methods without success. There are certain medical conditions that will prevent you from getting lap band surgery.

The lap band is an adustable ring that is placed around your stomach in a laproscopic surgical procedure. Inside the ring is a pouch that can be filled with saline to compress your upper stomach, creating in essence a smaller stomach so it can not hold as much food at one time. The lap band is more desirable than gastric bypass because it involves no cutting of your internal organs, can be adjusted in an outpatient procedure as your weight loss progresses or for pregnancy, and is not permanent.

Typically, lap band surgery has few adverse effects. Since it is done laproscopically, the incision is very small and normally heals quickly. You can usually go back to work or get back to your normal activity level in about a week. Many patients report digestive problems after lap band surgery, including vomiting, reflux, and diarrhea.

But lap band surgery is not without complications. During the surgery itself there is a small risk for stomach perforation, requiring another procedure to repair. Typical surgery risks such as bad reactions to anathestic also apply. Although the incision made for the surgery is very small, it can become infected after the surgery.

Other complications you may face after lap band surgery include abdominal pain, various types of hernias, and even difficult menstrual periods. You may also experience pain at the access port site, displacement of the access port, or band system leak.

More serious complications may also occur after lap band surgery. These include slippage of the band itself, erosion of the band into the stomach, and blockage of the stomach-band outlet.

Most complications after lap band surgery are considered to be minor. Nearly 90 percent of all lap band patients will experience at least one side effect or complication in the first three years after the procedure. However, about nine percent of lap band patients will need a second surgery to fix a problem with the lap band itself. Another nine percent will need to undergo a procedure to fix the access port, typically because it becomes twisted or begins to leak.

While lap band surgery is not without complications, it may be a good option for you if you are very overweight. The health benefits that may be gained by dropping to an appropriate weight range may far outweigh any possible risks of lap band surgery. Discuss lap band surgery thoroughly with your doctor if you feel as though it could be a good solution for you.


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