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What Are the Most Common Gastric Banding Complications?

By Christina Edwards
Updated May 17, 2024
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Gastric banding is one of the most common types of bariatric surgery. Although it generally poses fewer complications than gastric bypass surgery, there are several gastric banding complications. Some complications, such as nausea or dehydration, are rather common. Many patients may also experience some regurgitation, especially if there is an obstruction in the stomach. In some cases, the internal organs may be damaged either from the surgical procedure or the band itself.

A few gastric banding complications are experienced by most patients. Nausea, reflux, and constipation are typically experienced by the majority of gastric banding patients. Dehydration may also occur, which can result in fatigue. In most cases, little or no medical intervention is needed to remedy these side effects.

Some more serious gastric banding complications may include slight regurgitation or severe vomiting. Some patients may regurgitate a small amount of swallowed food during gastric banding recovery. These patients are usually advised to eat smaller meals, chew their food more thoroughly, and eat slowly.

Frequent vomiting may be one of the more serious gastric banding complications. In some cases, patients may regurgitate everything that they eat. A feeding tube will need to be put in place, if this happens. This complication most often occurs when the band on the stomach is too tight.

An obstruction in the stomach may also occur after gastric banding surgery. This complication can occur when a piece of food becomes lodged in the small opening between the upper and lower sections of the stomach. This opening is created when the gastric band is placed around the stomach. Additional surgery is usually required to loosen or even remove the band.

Damage to a patient's internal organs is one of the most dangerous gastric banding complications. The stomach, intestines, and esophagus are the most commonly damaged organs. This can occur during the laparoscopic surgery done to place the band around the stomach. If this occurs, serious complications may develop.

Internal bleeding can be fatal if not treated promptly. Also, if the bowels are perforated during the surgery, the contents of the stomach or waste products may leak into the abdominal cavity. This can lead to peritonitis, which is the bacterial contamination of the abdominal cavity.

The gastric band itself may also cause some gastric banding complications. For example, the band can possibly slip off of the stomach, which will result in weight gain. It must be either surgically replaced or removed. The band may also erode through the stomach wall, this can also cause the stomach contents to leak into the abdominal cavity.

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