LAP-BAND® Complications: When to Call a Healthcare Provider

While the sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass have long since eclipsed the LAP-BAND® procedure in popularity, this weight-loss option has been the procedure of choice for thousands of patients across the country since its approval in 2001. Designed to offer a less invasive, reversible way for people who are obese to address their weight-loss concerns head on, the laparoscopic alternative began to fall out of favor as problems associated with device failure and complication rates became more widely known.

Although many people continue to obtain the LAP-BAND® procedure with fantastic results, some former patients may find themselves facing issues related to the device. The high rate of failure and complication potential, in fact, has given rise to the recommendation that anyone who uses this device check in with their doctor at least once a year for an evaluation. Outside of annual evaluations, there are some potential issues that may arise that could make contacting a doctor sooner rather than later important. Here are some of the circumstances that should prompt a call for medical advice:

• Excessive gains of weight that was once lost – This may signal that the device has stopped working. If that is the case, a bariatric surgeon may be able to refill the band using an office-based procedure. This essentially restores its effectiveness.
• Unexplained nausea, vomiting or acid reflux – If the source of the concern is unknown or other causes have been ruled out, the band itself may have slipped from its intended position. Revisionary surgery may be required to address the problem.
• Unexplained pain – If pain is in anyway associated with the LAP-BAND®, it is recommended patients contact their healthcare providers right way. Slipped may have occurred that requires intervention to address.

Thousands of people have benefitted from the weight loss help the LAP-BAND® has provided since 2001. For most, the procedure has been a trouble-free experience, but that is not always the case. Former patients who suspect LAP-BAND® failure or complications are strongly advised to seek medical attention. Revisionary procedures may address the concerns while putting people back on the path for weight loss success.



Can Weight Loss Surgery Really Benefit Health?

Bariatric surgery has a proven track record for helping people lose weight and maintain their losses. Procedures such as the sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass, in fact, are commonly recommended by doctors to patients who are considered morbidly obese. Over the past few years, however, researchers have gained a better understanding of the full slate of health benefits such procedures may hold for those who are considered dangerously overweight. While the headlines might seem sensational, the results doctors, their patients and researchers are finding are not.

While the main focus of weight loss surgery is to help obese people bring their weight into check, the health benefits associated with procedures like the gastrectomy and bypass may include:

• Prevention or better control of type 2 diabetes – Studies have shown that bariatric procedures can help people who are obese dramatically lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Should the condition already be present, surgery may help put symptoms into remission in some cases. Other patients have found that controlling blood sugar levels and other related symptoms is much easier post-surgery.

• Lowering heart-related concerns – People who are obese are at much higher risk for developing heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other potentially dangerous concerns. Weight loss surgery can lower the risks for these concerns and may make treating them if they are already present much easier. Many patients who suffer from high cholesterol and blood pressure prior to surgery find, for example, that these concerns go away as the weight comes off.

• Reducing cancer-related risk – Obesity is a common risk factor for many different types of cancer. Bariatric surgery has been shown to help reduce the risk.

Improved mobility – People who are morbidly obese may suffer from mobility-related concerns, such as osteoarthritis, knee and back pain, and other related concerns. Studies have found that people who lose weight through bariatric procedures may enjoy significant improvements in these conditions while also having the potential to see their stamina and range of motion increase.

People who are overweight should talk to their doctors about the potential health benefits bariatric surgery or other weight-loss methods may hold for them. Losing weight and keeping it off through diet, exercise, surgery or other medical interventions can improve and protect health.