Side Effects of the Gastric Band (Part Three of Three) – But it’s not so bad…

Question Below Submitted By:  

Lonicera The Bandit (a patient from Bristol, United Kingdom)

Here I am again with the last of my three articles on the downside of having a gastric band (click here to go back to part one).

Of course it’s not all bad, there are so many benefits to being fitted with a gastric band, not the least of which is the recovery of one’s self-esteem, and on a certain level a return to the person we used to be. To obese people that’s beyond a wildest dream, the rest should be a mere detail.

But still you should go into it with your eyes wide open. Such benefits can only accrue when big changes are made in one’s own life. The band forces you to make most of them, but there are still some you must make for yourself.

As I see it, these are the issues you need to come to terms with if you are with it for the long term:

(12) The sensations caused by the first few mouthfuls of food, which are not always pleasant unless you do it right. I have to admit I invariably get a bit stuck, and hiccups signal the end to the discomfort. By which time a while has gone by and the food is no longer hot…

(13) The greatest restriction is generally felt in the mornings, and must be approached with caution. Big breakfasts are a thing of the past, unless you have them at noon.

(14) Putting weight back on. It tends to happen after the first flush of successful weight loss, when you feel invincible. But it’s the same old you, with the same bad habits, who now discovers she/he can have a little bit of what she/he fancies, and which does you no good. Time for a re-think. Why are you on this journey, what do you hope to get from it, was it worth spending all this money to blow it on the wrong foods? Course not. Get your act together. Read a few bandit blogs to get inspired. And if you find yourself taking a sabbatical, don’t beat yourself up about it. At least don’t sabotage it, just stay level for a while till you feel strong enough.

(15) Scar tissue. Most people get it in the area of the main wound, it feels like a lump under the skin and causes problems when you go for a fill/unfill. Be sure to discuss with the clinical practitioner so they can ask you the right questions, because you need to be sure it’s not getting in the way of anything it shouldn’t.

(16) Taking pills for other conditions. Sigh, pills can be so uncomfortable to swallow for some reason. Try to choose the slippery type, i.e. shiny ones, and as small as possible. It’s better to take 2 x small 20mg pills, for example, than 1 x 40mg pill which is bigger. If all else fails, get yourself one of those little mechanisms that either cuts them in half, or crushes them for you, and you can then mix with honey and eat that way. Not ideal, but doable.

(17) The final indignity: saggy skin. After your heroic journey, you’ve reached your target, but once you’ve been there for a while you cease to be impressed by your new slim body that fits into such tiny clothes; what you see in the mirror (with disgust) is the saggy skin that got left behind. The apron on your belly, the batwings on your upper arms. If you were very obese and over 35 years old you probably won’t have the necessary elasticity to lose it, no matter how many sit-ups you do. Tackle it head on. Seek advice from a plastic surgeon about having it removed, and remember to ask about problems 6-months on after the op – scar tissue, possibilities of more operations to remove it, and so on. And of course, whether you can afford it. And if you can’t, well, join the club of happy, slim, saggy ladies who learn how to disguise it with the right (lovely new) clothes and accept that bikinis were never an option anyway. It’s still better than being obese.

The world is full of imperfect looking people, but don’t forget – ever – that it is/it will be wonderful to feel normal size, and that these so-called downsides are merely obstacles along the way. It will also be wonderful to turn your attention to other aspects of your life.

Lonicera The Bandit

Related Pages:
Analysis & Cost of Lap Band Surgery (Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band) & Whether It’s Right for You
Lap Band Problems & Lap Band Complications
Lap Band Surgery Failure – 2 Types & How to Avoid Them
Life After Weight Loss Surgery


Patient Responses to the Question Above

Lap band and plastic surgery

by: Renee

I like what you say about the band and totally agree with what you say. I had the band fitted in 2004 and have lost 100kg and have had complete body plastic surgery.

Yes, I had the plastic surgery in Malaysia because 27000 vs about 85-100000 here in Austrailia made me chose Malaysia for sure. I also researched the doctor who studied here in Australia. I'm a success story and will always stand by the fact that it's a tool. It does require cooperation from the bandee.

I am pained when I hear people say it doesn't work. What does work is the band reviewed regularly by a doctor and dietitian. This is where people slip up. Just like a car... Needs a regular check up and sometimes a service.

Loss oh b12

by: Nona

Blood work is great B12 very low will have to take b12 injections the rest of my life but still a good thing health is better.

Thank you

by: Anonymous

I have had my band for 17months and totally relate to issues you have mentioned. Like you I'm not thin by some peoples standards but I've come along way thanks to the band, it's a great aid to weight loss.


by: Anonymous

I had my lap band done in April 2008, and started having recurring reflux (sleeping practically sitting up), then some stomach discomfort that slowing started getting a little worse.

I loved the lap band an still wish I had it (lost 120 Lbs. from 260 to 140), but met one of those small percentages and had to have it removed in Oct 2012.

Unfortunately I mananged to gain 80 pounds in five months.

I've slowed down at a cool 220, but it's sad to see the weight come back.

The band worked very well, but my body rejected am now considering Gastric ByPass, although I find completely redefining my body a little scary.

Good luck to you all and hold fast - it will work if you listen to it carefully!! :o)


by: janie

I had my band placed in 2002 and have not had a lot of problems until the last year. I have been having very bad acid and stomach pains. I had lost 105 lbs to start and have put on 20 lbs in the last 11 years. But still feel fine there. But the stomach pain that I have been feeling now is really getting bad. I have to see my Dr. next Mo. I went through cancer treatment 2 years ago and still taking meds for that. I just hope that the 2 havent caused more problems.

lung abscesses through food aspiration

by: Anonymous

One of the side effects was that my husband reported coughing and choking sensations when in bed at night. An x-ray and CT scan showed two lung abscesses caused by inhaling food because of the restriction. The band was too tight and the technician kept adding more fill. He has had to have two biopsies taken and long term antibiotics. That is a side effect you do not want. Be aware when you have a choking sensation at night and have it checked out asap and say no to more fill until you know what is causing it.

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