Heartburn and acid reflux after lap band surgery with no weight loss

Acid Reflux Causes Heartburn

Acid Reflux Causes Heartburn

I had the lap band surgery in 2005, and I haven't lost much weight. I have heartburn after drinking water and acid reflux so bad at night I can't sleep.

I went back to my doctor who did a test and said the band was too tight. He then took all of my fill out, but that didn't fix the problem.

I work out regularly and eat right, but I can't lose the weight.

I need a second opinion to decide what I need to do to fix my problem. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Comments for Heartburn and acid reflux after lap band surgery with no weight loss

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Feb 02, 2012
One extreme to another?
by: Lonicera The Bandit

It looks as though you've gone from one extreme to another, and neither can be right.

Acid reflux is very common with the band, and for those who suffer from moderately severe symptoms (and assuming there is no other reason for it as confirmed by the gastric surgeon) a balance has to be found between the right foods, the right restriction and appropriate medication. Excessively fatty and acid foods give bad reflux - so I'd say the first question you need to answer honestly to yourself is whether you're consuming fried foods or alcohol of any description. Sadly, whereas before you might have been a moderate drinker who enjoyed a glass of wine with dinner, the pouch seems to rarely tolerate more than a sip of someone else's drink.

If your band has been unfilled, I'm not surprised you haven't been able to lose much weight, and I'd recommend that you try extremely gradual fills to see how your body responds - a quarter of a cc is perfect for this sort of exercise (they don't tend to want to give you less than a half, in my experience).

See how you get on, and let us know! Lots of luck to you.

Lonicera The Bandit

Feb 03, 2012
More Testing Needed
by: Lap Band Groupie

I'm one of the many Banders who developed reflux after Banding. Bad reflux at night/sleeping is a huge red flag that you're too tight. Too tight means that you may have resorted to 'soft food syndrome'/eating sliders, which equals no weight loss or even weight gain (not sure if that's the case as you mentioned eating right). As Lonicerna said, it's a delicate balance.

If you still have reflux after the unfill (and it's been a few weeks) you need to get to a Gastroenterologist now (prolonged reflux can lead to ulcers, and pre-cancerous condition and even cancer). They'll probably want to do a scope test (fast and easy, they just 'twilight' you). They can see if your esophagus has stretched and if the flap at the bottom of your esophagus is still working properly (to keep the reflux from coming up). They can assess what damage has been done as you probably have some that needs to heal. If this doesn't explain things, I'd ask for testing to look for a hernia, just to rule it out. It's not common after Banding, but I know some have developed them. I'm hoping your Doc already has done a flouro test to visualize the pouch, etc., to see everything.

It sounds like at the very least you need some meds; I was on a PPI/Nexium for awhile until things were better. I only use an OTC antacid now as a preventative at night (and have no issues now). You can also raise the head of your bed and make sure you don't eat or drink anything for a few hours before laying down.

I also agree with refilling slowly. I know some Banders who have felt a big difference with as little as .1cc. Best wishes!

Lap Band Groupie

Jan 31, 2013
Deadly heartburn
by: Sonia

My band has little fill, so little that I can eat normally but heartburn is a daily pain. I've been on Omizec for 4 months now. I stopped and the heartburn is back. What's going on?

Apr 06, 2013
Heartburn after gastric band
by: Anonymous

I had my band fitted jan 2011 , I have had a weight loss of 3 .5 stones and my last band fill was June 2012, my after care is up,and I am now paying for aftercare. I attended an appointment today which proved costly as instead of filling 1ml was removed !!! This was because I had mentioned I have started to get heartburn lately , I was told the band is too tight . The nurse done a fluid check at my request and it was found that I had lost 2 mls much to my dismay. I left the clinic with the view that I will return in 3-4 wks time in the hope that my symptom has improved .
Once I got home and thought about the outcome I am a now a little angry because I went for the intension of having a fill as my portion size has increased and I am able to eat an adults portion , now they have taken out a whole ml (that's 4 visits!)I am able to eat to excess .
I'm left wandering has this been done for financial gain !!!? Because now I will have to have 4 more fills to get back the 1ml and what about the missing 2 mls !!? It costs £110 for an appointment . I paid £110 for them to take fluid out that was wanted !! I'm very upset , and I'm unsure of what the outcome will be when I return in 3-4wks... Does anyone know ..?
If I say heartburn has improved will my 1 ml b put back ? If symptoms still same then what? Will they invested gate possible band slip?
Please help any feed back greatly received ...I have surfed Internet and not been able to find any info
Ps. I've only been getting heartburn last month and any time of day evn 1st thing with water

May 07, 2013
by: Anonymous

I understand your frustration....& sadly as with everything, it is all about the money. 1st you are paying 110$ for a doctor to do the fill & a nurse is doing it? You should determine the fill or depletion. This whole process is a "scam" in a sense. I had surgery in 07 & it has not worked- I am very frustrated as well, my doctor is not compassionate at all. I would voice my concerns & transfer to another doctor- that is what I should have done in the beginning. You are just starting. There are doctors out there who actually care. Good luck

Jul 06, 2013
Bariatric surgeon at CBGSA , Arcadia , California
by: Dr. Troy LaMar

Hi Acid Reflux,

It sure sounds like it has been a frustrating journey after your lap band placement.....just so you know, this is not uncommon after band placements.

There have been some good comments for you from the others and I agree with most of them.

Unfortunately, the band is notorious for causing acid reflux......and , for not having great weightloss results.......

If antacids work to decrease your reflux, by all means take it .......very low risk meds. However, other issues may be esophageal dilatation as well, so you do need an upper GI and Endoscopy for a complete evaluation....

Finally, some people need removal of their band in order to begin to get back to normal anatomy. And, then, you might want to consider conversion to a sleeve gastrectomy, or a gastric bypass...both which have much better outcomes for substantial weightloss.

Good Luck,

Troy LaMar MD (click here for Dr. LaMar's full bio & contact info)

los angeles bariatric surgeon

P.S. If you've found my recommendations or this web site helpful, please "Like" Bariatric Surgery Source by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the details provided. The above should never replace the advice of your local physicians as they have the ability to evaluate you in person.

Aug 17, 2014
Who are you kidding? NEW
by: Anonymous

If you exercise and eat right you will have no choice but to lose weight. I am thinking that you are not exercising as much as you would like to think, nor are you eating "right". Even individuals who don't undergo a bariatric procedure will lose weight if they eat right and exercise. Try keeping a food and exercise diary. And be honest when recording what you eat and how much you exercise. I think you will be surprised at your findings.

Sep 01, 2014
Very discouraged in Charlotte, NC NEW
by: Anonymous

I had surgery in 2011. I made the decision based on the wonderfully helpful pre-surgery care that made me feel confident I could do this. I have lost weight before through diet and exercise, so this seemed like a great tool. I did not expect the band to do the work for me, but to help. Now, 4 years later I find I have lost 8 pounds. I maxed out at 32 when the heartburn/acid reflux started. My post-surgery care was little to none, and that is when you need the help. After 4 visits, I now have no fluid left in my band and I still have trouble with heartburn. I am taking Nexium (40mg) twice a day.....and still have acid reflux. I have seen four different doctors/Nurse Practitioners at my Bariatric Clinic, and still having the same problems. My whole family wants me to have the band removed, but I can't stand the thought of spending that much money all over again and being back to square one. Of course the benefits of having the band removed would include being able to eat in public without having to worry about throwing up or gaging. That wasn't exactly something that was explained pre-surgery....

Jan 21, 2015
by: Anonymous

I had my band fitted in 2011 and it worked for 6 months then shortly after it materialised a leakage so of course my plate size got bigger.

A year later I had a second operation to replace my tube and port and it had worked perfectly fine since and lost close to 10 stone.

Now to everyone out there it is not a magic cure to weight loss, you have to work with the band, eat right, chew right, and exercise. Yes, acid is a problem and it is very frustrating going back to have infils taken out ect but at end of the day when you got offered the op or picked to have it you made the choice to deal with these things. The point is eating wont be the same as before because if it was you wouldn't have needed the band..

As for the last comment to being sick and dining out, what did you think would happen if you don't chew right and swallow large lumps of food? Yes I do know that's what you are doing as I have the band and know what causes it... over eating and not chewing the food small enough and eating the wrong textured foods.

I have had acid from the band being to tight. I have also had it from different types of food at various times, personally pasta doesn't work ever for me so I avoid it, ain't rocket science. Also I would imagine some of them I would have had regardless of if I had a band at all.

So to cut short above rant,
1) Cut your old portion size to a reasonable appropiate size.
2) Chew properly.
3) Eat smaller mouthfuls.

Best advice I can give is to track your food and drink and see if there is any reason you might have over looked. If not would be logical to get the band investigated to see if it's still too tight.

When I look back at the person I was before I had the gastric band, I have nothing but the greatest of respect for the surgeon, nurses and dietritions. As for me they really did give me my life back.

Hope this helps.

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