Problems with a gastric band

December 21, 2011

As the number of people having gastric bands fitted to lose weight increases, so will the number of complications associated with the procedure. A Case Report published Online First by the Lancet details the problems experienced by a 49-year-old woman several years after she had a gastric band fitted. The Case Report is by Dr Adam Czapran, Department of Respiratory Medicine and Coronary Care Unit, Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley, West Midlands, UK, and colleagues.

In May, 2010, the woman presented to the hospital's outpatient clinic with a 4-month history of night sweats and a persistent productive cough of green and yellow sputum. Her medical history included asthma that had not responded to treatment, and the fitting of a laproscopic adjustable gastric band in September 2008, which has seen her body-mass index (BMI) decrease from 45 at that time to 33 when she presented to hospital. A chest radiograph showed a cavity within the left upper zone, and this, combined with her night sweats, led doctors to suspect tuberculosis. However, consistently negative test results ruled this out. After further tests doctors suspected the problems were being caused by her gastric band, namely recurrent aspiration of ingested food (causing reflux down her windpipe and subsequent ) and cavitation (the formation of holes in the lung, often due to infection) secondary to the gastric band fitting.

Treatment with antibiotics only provided limited relief. The patient had experienced substantial weight loss as a result of her gastric band, but as her symptoms persisted, the medical team then completely withdrew the fluid from (or 'emptied') the gastric band, at which point the woman's symptoms quickly resolved. At last follow-up in May, 2011, her BMI was 35 and her gastric band had been cautiously refilled with no symptom recurrence.

The authors point out that the most common complications related to gastric bands are band slippage or erosion, and that lung-related problems such as those described above are rare.

However, they conclude: "These late pulmonary complications can present with asthma-like symptoms and can be misdiagnosed if not properly investigated. Patients who have undergone laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding should have chest radiography or thoracic CT scan, or both, if they present with respiratory symptoms. Withdrawal of the fluid from the band should be done as soon as possible to relieve the obstruction. Given the increasing frequency of people undergoing interventional procedures to aid weight loss, recognition of the short-term and long-term complications is paramount."

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1 / 5 (2) Dec 22, 2011
It really is sad that one cannot simply tell another person that s/he is getting fat without causing some painful mental reaction in that person. It would have been so much better if everyone could simply accept the feedback from others, weigh it up and then act on it if it seems positive.

It really is simple to lose weight, the major complication being that people want it NOW, never mind that it took years to gain the weight in the first place [ ironically because of instant gratification ].
1 / 5 (1) Dec 24, 2011
@kevinrtrs You really have no clue what you are talking about. There are so many factors that can affect weight. In my own case medicine itself was to blame or rather the insurance company. They changed the the type of insulin they would pay for.
My body responded with hunger. I was constantly hungry and a worsening of my insulin resistance. I kept telling my Dr. I was on the wrong insulin but they ignored me for 3 years.
In the meantime I put on 100 pounds and was using a whole bottle of insulin in a day.
Finally they gave up trying to "motivate" me and referred me to a specialist. Bet you can't guess what the very first words out of his mouth were?
"Sir, you are on the wrong insulin". Now I can barely walk and am facing a surgery to help remove some of the fat to help me be more mobile but the recovery will be at least 2 months and very painful.
I used to walk 2 miles a day. Now I can barely walk to my car, It isn't simple and I'm tired of people who know nothing thinking they do

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