Same Amount of Food Regardless of Lap Band Fill Amount

Question Below Submitted By:  

Lana (a patient from Knoxville, TN)

I am female that had my lap band surgery in 2008 and I was 40 years old. My maximum weight was ~245 pounds and I am 5’3″. It took two years to get the band to the proper restriction of fluid for me to start losing weight. Between 2010 and 2012 my weight was successfully off and I maintained ~170 pounds.

In 2013 I started being able to eat more with the same restriction (the band was completely full). From that point on, I have worked with my doctor to stop my weight gain. In spite of diet and exercise changes, nothing has worked.

I have tried from November 2013 to now to have my band converted to another procedure but my insurance will not allow it.

In December 2013, the doctor completely removed 100% of the fluid and let my body ‘rest’. The beginning of 2014, he started increasing fluid again. I have drastically been gaining weight all year and it is out of control. I was at 200 pounds in December and now I at 238 pounds.

My lap band doctor and general internal doctor both agree I need to convert to another procedure.

My doctor states that he cannot prove the band is not leaking (it isn’t) and says he cannot prove complications from looking at X-rays and watching the fluid go in and out of the band with dye tests.

I do not understand that if I can eat the same exact amount of food whether my band is full or has no fluid in it, it is not considered faulty in some way.

My weight is escalating and I feel the insurance and my doctor are leaving me hanging.

I am trying to maintain a healthy weight and avoid long-term issues.

Yet, I have not see anyone say they have the same problem. I can eat way too much food whether my band is empty or full.

Are there any suggestions?

Thank you,

L.D. Bean

Bariatric Surgery Source

Expert Responses to the Question Above

Surgeon Response to "Same Amount of Food Regardless of Lap Band Fill Amount"

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


It definitely appears that your adjustable gastric band is not functional (for whatever reason) since there isn't any restriction that you experience with the band being properly filled and adjusted.

Certainly, if the band is still in proper position and maximally filled, you should experience restriction and shouldn't be able to eat as you describe.

However, my recommendation is that you follow the advice of your bariatric surgeon and internist and have the band removed and convert your bariatric procedure to a more durable alternative.

If your insurance carrier won't support that approach even on appeal, then you may want to consult with another bariatric surgeon familiar with the adjustable gastric band for an evaluation of your situation: perhaps additional investigation will uncover why your band is malfunctioning.

Best regards,

John 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.

Related Pages:
- Lap Band Problems & Lap Band Complications
- Lap Band Surgery Failure - 2 Types & How to Avoid Them

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