Pressure & Swelling in Upper Abdomen 3 Years After Lap Band Surgery

Question Below Submitted By:  


Had lap band surgery in 2009 and have started to regain weight in the past year. I’ve also been having a lot of pressure and swelling in the upper stomach area where the lap band is positioned.

I have visited with my doctor about this and my concerns and I feel he is not listening. Could this be a complication of the lap band growing into the stomach lining?


Expert Responses to the Question Above

Surgeon Response to "Pressure & Swelling in Upper Abdomen 3 Years After Lap-Band Surgery"

by: John Rabkin, M.D., Pacific Laparoscopy

2009 Lap Band Patient,

A change in symptoms such as you describe with "pressure and swelling in the upper stomach area" suggestive of abdominal bloating and fullness which you have not previously experienced is worrisome for band slippage which can be a devastating problem if present and not promptly addressed. It is less likely "a complication of the lap band growing into the stomach lining" although that is a remote possibility as well.

You indicated that you "visited with (your) doctor": was this a bariatric surgeon and/or the surgeon who placed the Lap band? If not, I would strongly advise that you promptly return to see your bariatric surgeon or another bariatric surgeon if you haven't already done so. If it was your bariatric surgeon who you visited and you "feel that he is not listening" to your symptoms/complaints, you may benefit from consulting with another bariatric surgeon in your community. If diagnosed with band slippage, band removal (or, at a minimum, repositioning of the Lap band) should be performed expeditiously.

Weight regain, unfortunately, is quite common in patients who have had Lap band weight loss surgery (WLS). Proper adjustment of the band by your surgeon is necessary to optimize the weight loss and minimize weight regain. Avoidance of any liquid caloric intake, as well as strict adherence to a low calorie diet with avoidance of any snacking between meals along with a regular exercise regimen, are all important components of a post Lap band WLS regimen to optimize results. Despite doing all of these things, however, continued weight regain may still be in your future. The long term statistics for durable weight loss following Lap band WLS haven't been as satisfactory as initially hoped for. In part, this accounts for the rapid decline in the number of these procedures being performed currently. Many patients look toward undergoing revisional bariatric surgery if their Lap band WLS ultimately proves ineffective for them in controlling their morbid obesity and obesity related metabolic diseases long term.

If you continue to regain weight despite your adherence to the post Lap band WLS medical regimen, you may want to consult with your bariatric surgeon about this treatment option.

John M. Rabkin, M.D.
Pacific Laparoscopy

(click here for Dr. Rabkin's full bio & contact info)

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.

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Patient Responses to the Question Above

Pressure and Bloating

by: Anonymous

After 4 years since my Lap Band I am gaining weight. I feel like everything I eat is causing bloating in upper abdomen as well. I am gaining weight and I never have. I am gaining a pound about every 6 weeks. I did not gain weight that fast without the Lap Band. I am wondering If I don't have a blockage.


next step

by: sANDI

Gaining weight is typically the result of eating too many calories.
Perhaps the quantity and quality of the foods you are choosing are actually causing some of your discomfort.
Either way, if you are not satisfied with your doctor's response, perhaps you could ask for an endoscopy or go see another doctor for another opinion.
Please let us know what you find out.

Lap Band Bloating

by: Bryan

I'm 9 years out and feel like I'm going to burst two hours after lunch. I feel like I'm being strangled by my band. Have appt next wk for 2nd removal of fluid. Unusual pain under left shoulder.

Pain when sitting

by: Pamela Murphy

Lap band 2006. Dr not in town anymore lapband feels swollen.


by: Leah black

I had my band fitted October 2010. I've not lost any weight with my band . Lately I'm having swelling where the port lies it resembles an large egg size swelling of the area causing me pain. Please any advice would be very much appreciated.

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