Gastric Bands Side Effects

The prevalence of obesity in the United States is rising due to several factors that promote weight gain such as a sedentary lifestyle, consumption of food high in excess calories and refined carbohydrates, and lack of physical exercise among others. Obesity is characterized as having a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30 kg/m2.

Some weight loss methods work for some and not others. This proves that everyone undergoes a different weight loss journey.

When all else has failed, you may qualify for bariatric surgery, including gastric band surgery.

Gastric banding, often known as lap-band surgery, is one of the surgical therapies for obesity.

In this article, we will be looking at the basics of gastric banding and gastric band side effects.

Side Effects of Gastric Banding

Side effects are possible with any major surgery. Band slippage and erosion of the gastric band are two side effects particular to vertical gastric banding. In rare instances, stomach fluids may escape into the stomach, requiring immediate surgery.

The most common consequence of adjustable gastric band surgery is an enlargement of the stomach pouch. Esophageal dilation and saline leakage are two additional concerns associated with adjustable gastric band surgery.

According to research, many gastric banding patients will have the following side effects:

Slippage of the Gastric Band

Band slippage occurs in 8% of patients. Symptoms usually present as vomiting, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, gastric obstruction and acid reflux. It occurs when the band falls out of its proper position, which is normally downward on the stomach, producing stomach protrusion above or below the band. 

It is more common in patients who are not compliant with lifestyle change. Even though slippage can occur in different ways, the symptoms are the same and can include any combination of swallowing difficulties, reflux, or vomiting. 

While the proper surgical technique can lessen the chance of slippage, it can never be completely eliminated. Even when the error is repaired, more than half of patients experience a recurrence. Often, band removal is required to resolve this issue.

Gastric Band Erosion

Gastric band erosion affects 1-11% of patients. Erosion can happen due to operative injury or due to the band being too tight and overinflated. This causes erosion through the stomach wall.

This reduces the effectiveness of the gastric band operation. Some patients might see weight gain and loss of restriction. In some situations, band erosion can lead to a developing infection that can be fatal. 

Band erosion is a severe side effect that can lead to obesity, abdominal pain, obstruction, nausea, vomiting, or infection. It is typically diagnosed by an endoscopy.

The treatment includes band removal and gastric wall repair. If symptoms of infection are evident, a consultation with the surgeon is required to discuss the possibility of reoperation.  After three months, you may have to consider band replacement.

Expansion of the Esophagus

Expansion of the esophagus is an esophageal enlargement. This may also be called esophageal dilation. When following up a year after surgery, 14% of patients were found with esophageal dilation. 

Dilation can cause esophageal disfunction. This can lead to a back-up of food in the esophagus. Simultaneously, the valve that connects the esophagus to the stomach may become less efficient. This can result in swallowing difficulties, vomiting, severe heartburn, or acid reflux.

side effects of gastric banding

Gastric Band Intolerance

Band intolerance entails the development of food intolerances resulting in severe vomiting and other symptoms. In a 2019 study, almost 13% of patients presented with band intolerance. 

Band intolerance can cause progressive nausea, vomiting, and reflux. Adjusting the tightness of the band can typically alleviate nausea and vomiting symptoms. However, in many circumstances, band removal is required.

Trapping Of Food

Food trapping, also known as food stuck after gastric bypass, refers to the obstruction of food flow from the gastric pouch to the remainder of the stomach. It is an uncommon problem that is more likely in individuals who do not follow diet modification or who swallow unchewed food.

Food trapping affects approximately 2% of patients. Even if the band does not slide, food fragments can become trapped in the restricted stomach entrance confined by the band and scar tissue. 

The issue might be caused by eating the wrong foods or not chewing properly. It can also be caused by scar tissue accumulation, which some people experience as a reaction to the insertion of a foreign object.

Patients can experience a feeling of something stuck in the throat, frequent bad breath, and vomiting. 

Band and Port Infection

Band infection is not as common as some of the other possible complications of gastric band surgery. This can also be seen in the side effects of gastric bypass.

The band hardware is a foreign entity, there is always a danger that the port or band will become contaminated. Infections frequently require the removal of the band and port. 

Port infection can occur due to band erosion. It can manifest as discomfort, warmth, or inflammation in the initial postoperative period. However, it is a possible delayed side effect that could occur as long as the port is in position. Late infection can be identified by physical examination, endoscopy, or ultrasonography, and can manifest with stomach symptoms or failed weight loss.

Port Inversion

The anchors used to fill the gastric band with saline can become loose or dislodged, causing the port to physically flip on its side or even upside down. 

This can make accessing this port for band adjustments difficult or impossible for your doctor. This gastric band issue frequently requires re-operation to remodel the port and its anchor system.

Pouch Expansion

As a result of continuous overeating, the stomach pouch can expand to accommodate for the food you are taking in. Patients may complain of weight gain, reflux, or nausea after gastric sleeve surgery

The stomach can occasionally expand above the band, making the band less effective. This issue effectively expands your stomach pouch, resulting in uncontrollable hunger and weight regain.

Band deflation and reinforcing dietary patterns should return the pouch size back to its normal size in four to six weeks. Alternatively, band replacement or removal may be necessary.

Gastric Band or Port Leak

A gastric band or port leak might result in hardware failure. The inner balloon section of the band or the tubing around the port can sometimes fail and leak the saline solution used as fill fluid. 

This loosens the band, allowing it to no longer constrain your stomach. This issue can make you feel hungry and eventually cause weight gain.

A leak can be detected by injecting contrasting fluid into the band, which will be seen on an X-ray. Your doctor will then perform an X-ray to determine whether or not this fluid is present outside of the gastric banding system. A band or port leak can only be repaired surgically, and there is no certainty that it will not happen again.

Final Thoughts

Most of the side effects that occur following gastric banding surgery will require immediate diagnosis since early detection might be critical in preventing subsequent difficulties. 

Typically, patients consult their primary care doctor, so it is critical that they are aware of potential complications. Communication and consultation with the bariatric surgeon are required for adequate treatment.

Make sure that you keep yourself informed every step of the way. This way you can easily avoid and treat any side effects of gastric bypass, gastric banding, or gastric sleeve.

Gastric Band Side Effects FAQs

Gastric banding side effects

Can I have the gastric band removed once I've lost all of my weight?

Many people question if they can get their gastric band removed once they have reached their target weight. The gastric band is intended for long-term use. However, it can be adjusted or removed if medically necessary. 

Once the band is removed, it is typical for patients to regain weight, as there is no longer a restriction on food intake. Although gastric banding is a reversible treatment, it is not recommended that the band be removed once you have reached your target weight.

Is it possible for me to lose weight and achieve my optimum body weight?

Following gastric banding, you can lose weight and return to your ideal weight. Most patients lose around half of their excess weight, and they lose it slowly and steadily, at a rate of one to two pounds per week. The weight-loss trajectory differs greatly from that of gastric bypass, which is typically swift and drastic. 

Your success will be determined by what you consume, how frequently you eat, and how much you exercise. Your lap band will assist you in controlling your portion size. Everything else is under your control. If you eat too quickly or do not chew sufficiently, you will most likely experience discomfort or throw up your food. 

Is it possible to become pregnant while wearing a gastric band?

It is possible to become pregnant while wearing a gastric band, although women are usually advised to wait a year or two following surgery before attempting to conceive. With the majority of weight loss occurring during the first year, it is usually best to wait until your weight has stabilized before considering pregnancy. 

If you intend to become pregnant, consult your doctor. Before you become pregnant, they will want to make sure you are eating a well-balanced diet, taking post-bariatric vitamins as prescribed, and exercising. 

If you do become pregnant, make sure to notify your weight-loss team immediately. They will regularly monitor your dietary status and weight gain.

 

**This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition.