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Lap Band Surgery Failure

written by: Margo • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 3/17/2010

Lap band surgery failure is more common than many bariatric doctors willingly admit to. There are several reasons for failure with these weight loss devices; learn about them here.

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    What is Lap Band Surgery?

    Lap band surgery is a form of bariatric surgery, designed to help severely overweight or obese adults lose weight. The lap band is fitted around the stomach, decreasing the amount of food it can comfortably hold. Ideally, this makes it nearly impossible for the patient to over eat. The decreased calorie intake should translate into weight loss, but this isn't always the case. Lap band surgery failure is very likely outcome to this uncomfortable and potentially dangerous procedure.

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    Reasons for Failure

    There are several reasons why lap band surgery fails. The band applies a lot of pressure to the stomach, which can lead to heartburn or vomiting. Many lap band "successes" have reported vomiting on a daily basis. The continuous heartburn can increase the risk of esophageal cancer. To reduce this discomfort, some lap band patients begin drinking more high-calorie liquids, instead of eating nutritious meals. A large milkshake, which can be soothing for heartburn, has more calories than a turkey sandwich and glass of water.

    Another reason for failure is that patients don't often get adequate long-term support from their doctor. Frequent doctor visits help gastric band patients remain accountable for their weight loss. They are also able to ask questions and get feedback on their weight loss, which can help a patient stick to their weight loss plans.

    Many patients also receive only minimal dietary advisement. Lap band surgery patients need intensive nutritional counseling in order to successfully lose weight. Poor dietary habits are the leading cause of lap band failure. Some patients fail to understand that gastric banding alone is not enough to decrease their weight. Just like any weight loss plan, it requires limiting calories, eating healthy food and exercise.

    Some doctors blame a lack of discipline for the rate of lap band failures. It is not enough to know the importance of a healthy diet and regular exercise -- patients have to use that information to make positive lifestyle changes. It takes dedication to lose weight, with or without gastric banding, and some patients do not have the dedication needed to make the necessary changes in their lives.

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    Problems with Lap Band Failure

    Lap band surgery failure creates problems for the patient. The most harmful is often the feeling of failure. Patients who were unable to lose weight through gastric banding may give up on losing weight permanently. In addition, any poor dietary habits they may have picked up while using the band could become permanent, adding to their weight difficulties.

    Even lap band patients who initially see a lot of success can have problems later on. Many patients begin to regain weight after a few years. To keep the pounds off, patients may need a second bariatric surgery, to tighten the current band or to replace it with a new, smaller band.

    A lot of people are able to successfully lose weight, and keep it off, with gastric lap band surgery. They are able to make positive lifestyle changes which, assisted by their reduced stomach capacity, allow them to reach a healthier body weight. To prevent lap band failure, gastric banding should be seen as a one of several tools used for successful, and healthy, weight loss.

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    References

    The Royal College of Surgeons of England: Gastric Banding. From: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2216704/

    Annals of Surgery: High Failure Rate After Laparoscopic Adjustible Silicone Gastric Banding for Treatment of Morbid Obesity. From: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1421324/