Curing Side Effects 27 Years After Vertical Banded Gastroplasty (VBG)

by Becky
(Iowa city, Iowa, USA)


I am a 60 year old female, 27 years post vertical banded gastroplasty. I regained my weight many years ago and my BMI is now 40. I’ve had acid reflux for the last 5 years, and last year I started vomiting undigested food and having stomach pain and severe acid reflux.

An endoscopy showed stomal stenosis… my stoma has stretched but I’ve experienced no improvement. My surgeon says my band is not likely to stretch and must be removed. An upper GI recently showed severe stenosis and delay of transport through stoma. Pouch dilated.

My gastroenterologist and bariatric surgeon both recommend revision to by-pass or sleeve. I have rhumatoid arthritis and currently take NSAIDS daily and Aciphex twice daily, as well as methotrexate.

My insurance has an exclusion for bariatric surgery. What are my options? Any chance insurance might pay based on medical necessity?

I am in pain, acid reflux causes cough and choking at night, so I sleep in recliner. I vomit frequently after eating.

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Fighting Insurance

by: Tonya

Becky, as it IS a medical necessity, I would have my doctor submit it, & appeal any negative decisions until all appeals available for your doctor to help with have been exhausted, then, depending on how much time you have to work with, appeal it with the insurance commissioner at the state level. Only after exhausting all available avenues would I consider giving in & financing the revision (which is no means purely cosmetic). I truly wish you the very best & hope for you a positive outcomey

Bariatric surgeon at CBGSA, Arcadia, California

by: Dr. Troy LaMar

Hi Becky,

Your history is like many who underwent the VBG in the you are not alone.

I would agree with your surgeon, in that a conversion to either a bypass or sleeve is the best option, and of course removal of the band if possible.

Since you take NSAID's, might want to do a sleeve, since they put you at risk for pouch ulcers.

Unfortunately, insurances do as they please, especially if you are dealing with Medicare.

Good Luck,
Troy LaMar MD

los angeles bariatric surgeon

(click here for Dr. LaMar's full bio & contact info)

P.S. If you've found my recommendations or this website helpful, please share on your favorite social media platform or tell a friend about us. Thank you!

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.

vomiting problems for years after VGB surgery...

by: Cheri

We have a great deal in common! I'm the same age as you, had my Gastroplasty Surgery done approx. 20 years was made too tight and I've suffered numerous, difficult comparable problems since. There so much more I'd like to be able to compare notes on. I have no idea when you posted, hopefully you will be able to read and then comment.?..

Same here 2017

by: Wanda in OK

I am now 21 years post VBG. I lost about 140 lbs but not down to my "ideal" weight. I gained about 20-25 lbs back but that was all until about a year or two ago, I put on another 15 or so because the only food that will stay down is potatoes and of course ice cream... well except at night. I did the stomach emptying test and it showed extreme delay... in fact, the eggs I ate for the test came back up that night 12 hours later. I have horrible reflux, I take 40 mg of omeprazole 2x day. I've been told I have Barrett's Esophagus but another doc said no. I throw up about every other day and once I throw up, keeping anything down is impossible for a day or so. When I go to a GI doc, three so far, they just want to test, I've had more cameras go down my stomach than you could see at a little league baseball game. When I go to a bariatric surgery clinic they all want me to go through the six-month protocol for bariatric surgery, which is stupid since I'm living with it. I have not had a Big Mac in 21 years... this is stupid! Help!

Same issues here, 17 yrs post VBG Current summer of 2017 about to have revision

by: Michelle

I had the VBG 17 yrs ago. I lost and kept off 50% of my excess body weight but still have a ways to go. I regained about 40 over the past year due to a torn meniscus but through the help of my new primary clinic and PT I have been able to start moving again and lost most of that.

I was referred for revision of the VBG back about 6 months ago now by 3 different doctors because I was still in need of losing weight. I am now eligible for full knee replacements on both knees.

2 of those doctors informed me of complications with the old VBG and they need to be revised. I thought "Hmmm, I will look into it." I have always had issues with vomiting a few times a week since surgery, I just thought it was “the tool” working.

I started my journey to a revision and through the process we found I am having issues with swallowing, have a hiatal hernia and Barrett’s esophagus with precancerous cells. Yes it has been a long process to go back through the required program, but I feel it will be worth it. Yes I’ve lived with the smaller VBG pouch for 17 yrs, but a bypass is a whole new thing with different restrictions.

I have fulfilled all my pre surgery requirements the surgical group has all patients do and am now just waiting on a surgery date. I am a Medicare and state medicaid patient, and I called them both first to explain what was happening. They both said based on just my BMI I qualify to have the surgery, let alone the co-morbidity.

I regret ever having had the VBG now having learned how this whole time it has caused the damage to my esophagus.

19 years post VBG same problem

by: Susan

I had my surgery 19 years ago. I lost all my weight and kept it off 3 years. Then suddenly started gaining weight and gained much of my weight within a year. The VBG had failed and staples had ripped. The doctor said it was nothing I did wrong.

They did a revision 14 yrs ago. I noticed that my stomach seemed bigger instead of smaller right away. Lost 20 lbs from 2nd surgery but regained it within a year. About 3-4 years ago, I started having trouble keeping my food down at times. This regurgitating after eating would happen intermittently but has worsened in the last few years.

I have tried to explain to GI doc that this is different than the vomiting from overfilled pouch that you have trouble with after surgery. I get no response and written off as another fatty that can't control herself. Sometimes food comes up hours later undigested.

I had the surgery because of severe GERD with esophagitis and severe asthma. I was not quite 100 lbs overweight. I am on Medicare so I have no clue if it will pay for anything. Anyone have any suggestions? At times I practically live off crackers. Healthier foods like vegetables are really hard to keep down.


by: Michelle

Susan, you said you had revision but did not state what kind did they revise you too??? I noticed I also did not mention what I was revised to. I was revised to the good old gold standard RNY. It has only been 3 months but I have lost another 40 lbs. Any GERD has been reversed and yesterday I actually had a surgery to go in and remove the damaged tissue to my esophagus, and the GI doc said my Barrett's has improved greatly and the procedure he was going to have to do was changed to a less dramatic one.

I am asking about what kind of revision you were given because I have read a lot of bad experiences with people going to the Sleeve, so I was curious of that is what you were revised to.

You can find a new bariatric clinic and as long as you still have issues and co-morbidity you will probably qualify.
You do need to find a good group who do revisions. They know what they need to go to make sure it gets covered. Good Luck!


by: Beatrice

Wow, so glad to find this. I had vbg 23 years ago & wondered if anyone had any issues. I had the initial vbg in 1995 and a fix in 1996.

I lost about 50 lbs & gained most of it back. I too vomit about once a week, wake up at night choking, unable to lose weight, gerd & recently found out I have barretts esophogus & stomach inflammation.

Now I am wondering if I should get my band out since I've been on ppi's for 15 years.

SAME HERE 33 years VBG

by: Tim Girard

I am 54 and am really concerned because I am now throwing up in my sleep and have almost choked out multiple times. I finally have good insurance and am seeing an internist to hopefully get a sleeve (I really don't want a bypass).

Vertical Banded Gastric Bypass

by: Kim

I had my surgery in 1993. I have lost about 125 pounds. I’ve always had to deal with vomiting and the “dumping “ but about 6 months it became horrible.

It was discovered after an endoscopy that I have gastroparesis. I will be looking into revision surgeries but wanted to comment on this because of the other comments mentioning undigested food.

Good luck to all.


by: Cathy Jessee

I used to weigh 245 and I hated being fat. I struggled my whole life with being fat but not 245. I did the most drastic thing a fat person could do and I did surgery that changed my life forever.

How can I be sorry when I weigh 128. Yes I throw up and I throw up EVERYDAY MORE THAN ONCE and yes I throw up in my sleep but if I don’t eat late it won’t happen. I have had my esophagus stretched twice because yes I’ve had a few times when liquid wouldn’t go through for a few days.

I drink and drink and drink trying to flush out the problem and finally I’ll get ok. I’m 63 and I remember very well what drove me to VBG. I felt so ugly and undesirable.

I just can’t understand how some of y’all gain so much weight back. Are you drinking milkshakes a lot or what? I don’t know what my future holds as far as this but I try to be smart about the things I know will cause a problem. I’m so sorry y’all are having problems

Deb Treece

by: Debbie Treece

Tim Girard can you share what you outcome was? My story is yours.

My outcome

by: Tim Girard

Hi Deb (Treece),

So I had an endoscopy done and they did not find anything of any real concern. At the time it felt like the worst news I could get because:
a) The doctor can't really do what I wanted to have done and
b) It looks like I was exaggerating, which I sure as hell am not!!

Luckily, my doctor is pretty cool and definitely wants to help. He explained that before they can do anything that's invasive (like a sleeve or bypass) they have to try things like diet and possibly stretching the opening up (which he did a little bit when he was in there). they have to show a path of least invasive to most, I don't like it, but I totally understand.

He suggested semi-soft foods (for a while) and just see if things settle down. They have for the most part but I still have moments where I start to reject. I have discovered (Actually I kinda knew ) that when I get upset or really tense or even really happy, My stomach will tense and I start getting the hiccups, start throwing up and/or can't eat anything.

So I carry on and see how things go. I am diabetic and getting my sugars under complete control did make a big difference with my stomach issues (I recently went on a low dose of daily Insulin as well). I also try not to get into heated conversations (Happy or otherwise) during meals and that's helped as well

I had my Gall Bladder removed the year after my surgery so I take a single does of Prilosec daily. I've tried other drugs and they just don't work as well. I would really like to find an alternative to Prilosec though. Staying consistent with the prilosec makes a big difference in my indigestion and consequently the night vomiting

I'm going to see the doctor soon but I doubt we're going to do anything more. I really can't justify doing anything.

I wish I had a better answer for you Deb. I really thought that I was going to have to have some sort of correction but right now, watching what I eat, Taking care of my Diabetes and checking my excitement levels when getting ready to eat have made enough of a difference to make things ok.

I'd be more than happy to talk with you if you have other questions or just want to compare notes. I've never had another person in my circles who has had the surgery so it would be nice to talk to someone who has :)

Good luck

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