One of the possible issues after having Lap-Band surgery is Lap-Band erosion, also called Lap-Band migration. Lap-Band erosion means that the band your surgeon placed during surgery has grown into your stomach. This issue:
- May be the reason for your increased hunger, weight regain, port site skin infection or abscess, or your band needing to be overfilled in order to work correctly
- Occurs in 2% to 9.5% of patients
- Is treated by permanently removing the band from your body
Read the sections below for everything you need to know about the issue.
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- You could experience increased feelings of hunger
- You could be regaining weight
- Your port site might be infected or have an abscess
- You might need to overfill your band to get good restriction
If your gastric band is growing into your stomach, it will no longer be restricting food from passing through. As a result, the primary symptoms of Lap-Band erosion will be increased feelings of hunger and weight gain.
But how can you know if the weight gain is caused by erosion, the need for a band fill or your bariatric diet?
First, it takes a while for erosion to happen. On average, Lap-Band erosion is diagnosed almost 2 years after surgery, so if it has only been a year or less since your surgery this is not likely to be your problem (1).
The most common symptoms other than increased hunger and weight gain are…
- Port site skin infection (about half of all patients with gastric band erosion also experience port site infection)
- Port site abscess
- A band that needs to be overfilled in order to give you the right amount of restriction (2)
However, it is possible that you won’t experience any symptoms at all other than weight regain.
If you notice increased feelings of hunger, weight gain or symptoms of infection, call your doctor right away.
If during your next fill you notice that your band is being overfilled (compared with previous fills), ask you doctor if it could be a sign of erosion.
Your doctor can confirm the Lap-Band erosion diagnosis by inserting a scope through the mouth and into the stomach to take a direct look (also called an “endoscopy”).
- Your surgeon will need to remove your lap band
- You might be able to convert to a different weight loss procedure like a gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, or duodenal switch
Patients who experience Lap-Band erosion have the same amount of weight loss as patients who do not experience it (3). In other words, if it happens to you it does not mean that all you’ve gone through was for naught.
While you would need to have your gastric band removed if erosion has occurred, converting to a different type of bariatric surgery is usually very effective. Conversions have also been found to have much better results than rebanding (4).
“Patients who experience erosion have the same amount of weight loss as patients who do not experience it.”
Common Lap-Band revision procedures include:
Conversion to the duodenal switch usually results in a bit more weight loss than gastric bypass, but this comes with a longer operation time and higher complication rate (5). Several studies suggest that gastric bypass is the safer conversion alternative, but partner with good bariatric doctors to make the choice that’s right for you.
Following a conversion surgery, you should continue to lose weight or, at a minimum, not experience any more weight gain.
See the following pages for more information:
Your Surgeon, OR Time for Someone New?
If you were happy with your first experience and are confident about your surgeon’s expertise and qualifications, stick with them.
However, if you’re unsure, get a second opinion. Initial one-one-one consultations with a new surgeon are usually free. Best case, you’ll find a better surgeon with better outcomes. Worst case, you’ll feel better about your decision to stick with the same surgeon.
- Patient Experiences
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I had gastric lap band surgery 8 years ago. About 3 years ago I started having problems with extremely loose stools. It has gotten worse over time, and most of…