Options for Lap Band Slip

by Becky H.
(Colorado Springs)

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I had my lap band procedure three years ago, lost 90 pounds and loved the whole experience. Gradually over the past year I started having GERD-like symptoms to the point that I sleep in a chair and wake up every thirty minutes coughing and chocking. I have a sour stomach most of the time, and can’t hold much food down most days.

I have been working with my primary doc who referred me to a gastroenterologist and I just had and EGD. My esophagus is dilated and extremely irritated, my pouch is very small and the opening for my band was so small that it was almost swollen shut.

I am now on full liquids and am scheduled for a barium scope, but the doc says I need to go back to my band surgeon and have the fill reduced or the band taken out. This terrifies me because I know I do not have any air in my balloon… after surgery we kept adjusting till all air was out.

Can the band be moved back into position, without removing completely? And if so, can it be done laparoscopically?

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Surgeon Response to "Options for Lap Band Slip"

by: John Rabkin, M.D., Pacific Laparoscopy

Becky,

The most concerning news is the dilation of your esophagus. This occasionally occurs in patients who have Adjustable Gastric Banding (AGB) procedures and can lead to permanent esophageal dysmotility syndromes which lead to lifelong swallowing difficulties.

Furthermore, you imply that your doctors informed you that your AGB has 'slipped' which is a potentially very serious complication which can lead to gastric wall necrosis (death of the stomach wall) and requires urgent attention to prevent that devastating and potentially lethal complication.

My advice is that you seek urgent review by your Bariatric surgeon for his/her assessment and likely removal of the AGB and consideration of an alternative bariatric procedure to prevent weight regain.

John Rabkin, M.D.
Pacific Laparoscopy

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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.

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