It is important to remember that there are no ironclad guarantees in any kind of medicine or surgery. There can be unexpected outcomes in even the simplest procedures. The adjustable gastric band has fewer risks than the gastric bypass, but there are still some potential complications.
In this procedure, the stomach size is reduced by placing a small band around the upper stomach. If the band is too tight, patients develop vomiting. If the band is too loose, you will not lose weight. The key to success with the band is appropriate adjustment when you need it. As you lose weight, the band will loosen and it will need to be tightened by adding saline into the port to maintain the needed satiety. If you do not come in for adjustments, you will not lose weight with the band.
On occasion, the band will slip on the stomach, changing position. This complication requires laparoscopic surgery to return the band to the appropriate position. There have been rare cases where the band erodes through the stomach from being too tight and needs to be removed. Infection of the band is rare but can occur. Although the band has been tested in thousands of cases, on rare occasions a port or piece of tubing may malfunction and need to be replaced.
Weight loss from the band occurs due to a reduction in calorie intake. We recommend you take a regular vitamin to replace what you may not get in your new diet. Unlike gastric bypass, you will still absorb vitamins normally so special vitamins are not needed.
The effectiveness of the procedure may be reduced if the diet is not followed after surgery. Your success depends on following diet and adjustment instructions.
Patients who undergo adjustable gastric band are at increased risk of developing blood clots in their legs that can travel to their lungs. Early walking, the use of compression boots, anti-embolism stockings, and small doses of blood thinning agents help lower this risk.
Other Post-Surgery Issues
Patients who undergo bariatric surgery must make a lifelong commitment to eat healthy, exercise, and adhere to strict dietary guidelines. The lifestyle changes can seem overwhelming at first and can strain relationships within families and between married couples. To help patients achieve their goals and deal with the changes surgery and weight loss can bring, Memorial Health Bariatrics offers support groups, counseling, and continuing education.
Ultimately, the decision to have the procedure is entirely up to you. After having heard all the information, you must decide if the benefits outweigh the side effects and potential complications. This surgery is only a tool. Your ultimate success depends on strict adherence to the recommended dietary, exercise, and lifestyle changes.