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Safety of Gastric Banding Weight-Loss Surgery in Question

Author: Winters Enright Salzetta & O'Brien, L.L.C.(i)

Published: 2010-09-12 : (Rev. 2020-02-06)

Synopsis and Key Points:

Increasing doubts about safety of Lap Band surgery and similar weight loss procedures.

The 30-minute to hour-long procedure known as Lap-Band surgery inserts an inflatable silicone band around the top portion of the stomach, creating a small pouch.

The surgery is not as invasive and hazardous as gastric bypass surgery, which involves large incisions and a bypassing of a part of the intestine.

Main Digest

With a culture obsessed with the waistline, it's not surprising that the business of gastric weight-loss surgery is growing quickly in America.

Led by Allergan, maker of Botox and breast implants, the gastric weight-loss industry has grown to $400 million annually. But its continued rapid expansion is threatened by increasing doubts about the safety of the popular Lap-Band surgery and similar procedures, according to a report by Reuters.

What Is Gastric Banding Weight-Loss Surgery?

The 30-minute to hour-long procedure known as Lap-Band surgery inserts an inflatable silicone band around the top portion of the stomach, creating a small pouch. The pouch limits the amount of food their stomach can hold, enabling them to feel full while eating less. The surgery can be done on an outpatient basis, though it may require a night's stay in a hospital for some patients.

The surgery is not as invasive and hazardous as gastric bypass surgery, which involves large incisions and a bypassing of a part of the intestine.

The Risks

Food and Drug Administration regulators are now looking into the possibility of allowing companies to market the Lap-Band and similar surgeries to teens.

In one study of the laparoscopic surgery, more than one in five teenagers had "symmetric pouch dilation," in which the pouch size increases at the top of the stomach, allowing patients to eat more (and thereby defeat the purpose of the procedure).

While fewer than eight percent of gastric banding weight-loss patients experience complications in the first month following surgery, more than 40 percent have problems in the long-term.

Those problems include disintegration and slippage of the silicone band (both problems may require additional surgery to remedy).

Long-term complications also include esophagus dilation, which can make it difficult for patients to swallow, and infections around the band's port, where doctors add or subtract saline to tighten or loosen the band.

Leaks of the saline in the bands are also not uncommon, according to reports.

A Swiss study of 167 adults who underwent the gastric band surgery showed that almost a third of the devices had failed 10 years after insertion.

An Austrian study found that just fewer than 54 percent of gastric band patients had the original band after nine years.

Also See:

Gastric Bypass Surgery General Overview - Gastric bypass surgery includes both true bypass operations such as the Roux-En-Y and popular forms of weight loss surgery such as gastric banding.

Gastric Bypass Surgery in Obese Patients - Study examines outcomes of gastric bypass surgery in morbidly obese and super-obese patients.

Pain and Disability Reduced After Bariatric Surgery - Study reveals clinically meaningful improvements in bodily pain, specific joint pain and physical function are common following bariatric surgery.

(i)Source/Reference: Winters Enright Salzetta & O'Brien, L.L.C.. Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith. Content may have been edited for style, clarity or length.

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