Complications after Gastric Band Surgery
Gastric band surgery comes with many of the same risks and complications as any other major surgery. However, there are some added risks when you are obese or overweight. Some of these complications will be short-term while others can be long-term.
Short-term Risks after Gastric Band Surgery May Include:
- Blood clots in either the legs (deep vein thrombosis) or the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
- Adverse reaction to the anesthesia
- Internal bleeding
- Stomach damage or gastritis (irritated stomach tissue)
The risk of death during or shortly after your gastric band surgery is low. However, there is a chance with any surgery. The risk of death in gastric band procedures is 1 in every 2,000. Your chances may be increased if:
- You are over 45
- You have high blood pressure (hypertension)
- You have a BMI above 50
- You have a known risk for a pulmonary embolism
Your bariatric surgeon will take into account your risks before surgery. If you have any concerns about potential risks before your gastric band surgery, make sure you ask your surgeon.
Long-term Risks and Complications May Include:
- Band prolapse. This occurs when a part of the stomach wall slips through the band, causing a larger portion of the stomach pouch to sit above the band. This can prevent weight loss and cause an obstruction which could lead to vomiting, heartburn or coughing spells. Your band can prolapse if you eat too much or too quickly. Your bariatric surgeon can reverse this with another laparoscopic procedure.
- Erosion. This occurs when the band moves from the outside of the stomach to the inside. It may occur without your knowledge. Erosion of your gastric band requires surgical removal of the band.
- Port or tubing problems. Your port can move or become disconnected from the tube that leads to your gastric band. The tube can also become perforated or develop a kink that prevents your band from functioning properly. This, too, would require a minor surgery to reverse.
- Food intolerance. This is a rare complication, but it can occur years after your gastric band surgery. Your body will be unable to tolerate certain foods such as red meats or certain greens. This can lead to nausea and vomiting.
Obesity puts you at an increased risk for several disorders and could lead to premature death. The complications associated with gastric band surgery are usually rare and are often treatable without additional surgical intervention. When considering the possibility of surgical risk, it is worth discussing with your surgeon the likelihood of a problem after surgery versus the risk to your health of not treating your obesity.