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Surgery should not be considered until you and your doctor have evaluated all other options. As with all surgeries, there are risks associated with these procedures. WSUPG Bariatrics has an excellent track record for safety with complication rates that are well below the national average. Nevertheless, it is important that you are aware for the following risks of the lap band procedure:

  • Deep Vein Thombosis and Pulmonary Embolus: This is a rare but dangerous complication. A blood clot could form in your leg or in your pelvic veins and could travel to your lungs, endangering your life.

  • Heart Problems: Severe cardiac problems can occur. This office has made every effort to assess your cardiac condition prior to the surgical procedure.

  • Lung Problems: Respiratory insufficiency or problems may occur after the surgery necessitating the use of a ventilator. This potentially would lengthen your hospital stay and your recovery.

  • Injuries to other Intra-abdominal organs: As with all surgical procedures, injuries to other intra-abdominal organs can occur. Your surgeon will attend to them as needed. *Removal of the spleen is necessary in about 0.3% of patients to control operative bleeding.

  • Bleeding: Bleeding may occur during the procedure or in the early post-operative period. You may require the transfusion of blood products as needed. Your surgeon has explained the risks of such transfusions.

  • Complications due to anesthesia and medications.

  • Infections: either at incision sites or within the abdominal cavity could require further procedures or possible need for another operation.

  • Slipped Band: Occasionally the gastric band can slide out of its original position or a small portion of the stomach can "slide" underneath the gastric band. Patients usually complain of difficulty swallowing or will vomit soon after eating or drinking. The diagnosis is made with X-ray studies. An operation is required to remedy the problem. Slipped bands usually occur at least one year after surgery.

  • Slipped Port: If the port becomes dislodged from the abdominal wall it can make gastric band adjustments extremely difficult if not impossible. There are occasions when the port must be repositioned. This requires another operation.

  • Band Erosion: In the past the gastric bands had been documented to erode into the stomach in a very small number of patients over a long period of time. Now, this is exceedingly rare as a result of design changes made to the gastric bands as well as a change in the surgical technique used to place the band.

  • Band infection: As with all "synthetic implants" if the gastric band becomes infected it must be removed. This would require another operation. A gastric band can become infected if contaminated by another intra-abdominal infection (ie. "burst appendix, perforated ulcer, etc.).

  • Port site infection: The port is secured to the abdominal wall. If a patient develops an infection over this area it is possible for the port to become infected. Most of the time this can be treated with oral antibiotics. However, there are occasions where the port must be disconnected from the band and removed until the infection is cleared. This requires an operation to remove the port followed by a second operation to replace the port.

  • Mechanical Failure: The gastric band is a mechanical device that is prone to breakage or balloon rupture. In the case of mechanical failure, the device can become ineffective and will need to be replaced. Band replacement requires a second operation.

  • Hair Loss: Some patients report some form of temporary hair loss, which is believed to be due to a reduced and insufficient post-operative intake of protein. Again, patients need to follow post-operative instructions meticulously.

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