Lap banding, or adjustable gastric banding, involves the placement of a narrow band around the stomach. It limits the amount of food the patient can eat and helps him lose weight. The patient’s doctor injects saline solution into the band through a port under the skin to tighten the band. The doctor can also withdraw fluid from the band to loosen the band. It’s important to get just the right amount of restriction because if the band is too loose the patient can eat too much food but if the band is too tight it can cause other problems.
Difficulty Eating Certain Foods
An overfilled lap band makes the narrow opening in the stomach too small so patients with an overfilled band often have difficulty eating certain foods. Liquids and soft foods like yogurt, cottage cheese, oatmeal and ice cream may go down easily but dense foods like meat or bread may not. This can make it difficult for the patient to get adequate nutrition and if the patient eats a lot of foods like ice cream since that go down easily, he may not lose much weight.
In severe cases, food or even liquids cannot fit past the lap band. This causes vomiting whenever the patient eats or drinks. This may lead to poor nutrition or dehydration in patients. Withdrawing fluid from the lap band allows the patient to eat and drink again but if the patient has become dehydrated, he will need intravenous fluids.
Sometimes food gets trapped in the narrow opening created by an overfilled lap band. The patient may feel pain or discomfort and may vomit but some food does not come back up. Instead, it remains trapped in the narrow opening. Often the patient’s doctor must withdraw fluid from the band to allow the food to pass through the opening.
Esophageal dilation, or enlargement of the esophagus, sometimes occurs when the lap band is too tight due to overfilling. Symptoms of esophageal dilation include acid reflux and vomiting. Often the problem resolves when the doctor withdraws fluid from the band but sometimes the band must be surgically removed.
Bariatric Surgery Source. http://www.bariatric-surgery-source.com/lap-band-problems-lap-band-complications.html. Lap Band Problems and Complications.
Quality Gastric Bypass. http://www.quality-gastric-bypass.com/gastric_lap_band.htm. Adjustable Gastric Laparoscopic Band.