LapBand Surgery: Common Risks and Complications
Those who suffer from severe or morbid obesity often opt for the LapBand surgery. With surgery, an adjustable gastric band, known as the LapBand, is used to reduce stomach size. This can assist with weight loss. Although deemed a successful and relatively safe way to lose weight, there are risk and complications.
When researching the LapBand system, you will see safety as an advantage. Yes, this is true. With that said, it is important to remember that the LapBand procedure is a surgery. Although no stomach stapling is involved, like with traditional gastric bypass surgeries, there are still risks. All surgical procedures, no matter how large or small, carry some dangers.
Unfortunately, those who suffer from obesity are more likely to experience surgery related complications. This seems like a lose lose situation. You are obese. After all, that is why you are seeking weight loss surgery. It is important to follow all doctor recommendations and choose a quality and certified surgeon. When you do so, your risks of LapBand complications are drastically reduced.
In terms of complications, most occur in the days or weeks following surgery. One complication or side effect of the LapBand system is regurgitation. This is caused by the blockage of food. Luckily, it is easy to avoid. Take small bites, wait before eating a second bite, eat slowly, chew food, and stop eating when full. These steps can reduce the risk of regurgitation; however, it may be due to surgical complications. If regurgitation occurs, no matter what steps you take, speak to your doctor. Your LapBand may be too tight.
Another complication of LapBand surgery is band slippage. Slippage is rare, but it can occur. In most cases, you will notice pain and discomfort. You may even find it difficult to sallow liquids, let alone eat food. As previously stated, slippage of the LapBand is rare, but contact your doctor immediately if you feel it may be an issue. If not treated, complete obstruction can occur.
Acid reflux is another common side effect of the LapBand system. Acid reflux leads to the production and buildup of acid in the stomach. The most common sign is heartburn. Although many individuals experience bouts of heartburn, including those who haven’t had surgery, acid reflux should not be ignored. It is a sign that your band may need adjusting.
Although not necessarily considered a dangerous complication, no weight loss is a complication of surgery. It has to do with band positioning. It is common for adjustments to be made following surgery. If you are not experiencing the weight loss anticipated by your surgeon, speak to him or her. An adjustment to the LapBand is needed. Luckily, this should not involve surgery. A thin needed and saline is used for LapBand adjustments.
As previously stated, LapBand adjustments are common. For that reason, they are not technically considered a risk or complication. Each patient’s weight loss needs vary and changes overtime. For that reason, expect to have your band adjusted. Do not fret when it is suggested.
As a recap, all surgical procedures have some form of risk and complication. With that said, you may take comfort in knowing that many studies have shown the LapBand is a relatively safe weight loss surgery. The risk of morality, minor and major complications is lower than with alternatives.