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Gastric Band Complications

    Instrumentation Malfunction

    • Complications can arise from the band itself, including leakage and band slippage. Additionally, in some instances the band itself can erode into the stomach. As with the earlier-mentioned complications due to the band itself, these occurrences will require further surgery. In most cases of band malfunction, the malfunctioning band can be replaced with a new band.

    Nausea and Vomiting

    • According to the Medical University of South Carolina, nausea and vomiting were a complication associated in slightly over half of all procedures performed. Much of the nausea complications can be due to the stomach adjusting to the newly applied gastric band and to the amount of foods that can be eaten.

    Dysphagia

    • This condition occurs when a person has difficulty swallowing. This can be due to changes or inflammation in the esophagus, which may cause dysphagia. If dysphagia symptoms do not disappear in the weeks following surgery, a patient should seek medical attention, as this could be a signal that the band was not placed correctly or has slipped.

    Gastroesophageal Reflux

    • Another complication related to band placement is gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), which occurs when gastric juices flow up the esophagus, causing a painful burning sensation in the abdomen, chest and throat. Because the stomach size is significantly reduced, gastric juices can more easily reach the esophagus. For this reason, it is important that gastric banding patients avoid foods that are known to cause GERD, such as spicy or high-fat foods.

    Stoma Obstruction

    • The opening of the stomach pouch created through the gastric banding procedure is known as a stoma. Because the stoma is significantly smaller than a typical stomach, it can become blocked if food is not chewed sufficiently. A blocked stoma can cause severe pain as well as the inability to ingest further food particles. If the stoma frequently becomes blocked, a surgeon may need to loosen the gastric band in order to prevent further obstructions.

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