As a leading health problem in the United States and across the globe, worldwide obesity rates have tripled since 1975. In recent years, nearly two billion adults and 39 million children have become overweight or obese, and either of these conditions opens the door for a range of potential health complications with stroke, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.
To help manage this growing epidemic, gastric band surgery — also known as Lap-Band® surgery — was long considered the go-to treatment to help people eat less and lose weight. However, while Lap-Band surgery was once the most popular procedure for managing excess weight problems, it has been largely supplanted by more advanced methods in recent years.
The results of Lap-Band surgery may diminish over time. If that’s happened to you, you need options for how to move forward in managing weight problems and staying healthy. If you live in the Dallas or McKinney, Texas, area and you’re struggling with a Lap-Band or other issues with losing weight, bariatric surgery expert Dr. Michael Sutker and his dedicated medical team can give you the help you need.
To better understand your options, let’s examine how Lap-Band works, what can cause it to stop working, and what you can do if it happens to you.
Understanding how Lap-Band works
The Lap-Band procedure uses an adjustable, inflatable tube made of soft silicone that forms a ring around the upper portion of your stomach. The ring is connected to a subdermal port (a port placed just beneath your skin) which allows you to tighten it using a saline solution that narrows the opening. This limits the amount of food you can take in, thereby making you feel satiated more quickly and with less food.
Lap-Band can be used to manage many of the conditions mentioned above, and provides weight loss options when other methods fail to yield results. On average, it results in a 40% weight loss over a two-year period.
Reasons your Lap-Band may stop working
There are several potential complications related to the Lap-Band procedure, including:
- Gastroesophageal reflux: Acid reflux can occur if the band is too tight after surgery
- Difficulty swallowing: If your body reacts to the band by slowing the motion of your gut during digestion (gut motility), it can become harder for you to swallow food
- Esophageal dilation: This problem develops over time, when food gets repeatedly stuck in the esophagus
- Band slippage: If the Lap-Band slips, it can give rise to bothersome digestive issues like nausea, vomiting, and severe abdominal discomfort
- Band erosion: This rare complication can cause infection in the port over time
- Weight regain: Even if your Lap-Band works well in the beginning, it’s possible for it to stop being effective at maintaining weight loss, and even begin to allow weight gain
The Lap-Band treatment is supposed to last a lifetime, but many of these complications emerge within seven to 10 years after the procedure is done.
Treatment options for a problematic Lap-Band
Since Lap-Band is a reversible treatment, a problematic or ineffective band can be removed using minimally invasive robotic laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopy is performed by using a long thin tube with a camera and other devices attached to safely examine and remove things without performing major surgery.
Here at Michael Sutker, MD, we use the da Vinci® robotic surgical system to perform this procedure. This advanced technique allows for extreme precision and uses small incisions to reduce the impact of the treatment on nearby body tissues.
Once we’ve removed your problematic Lap-Band, we can use other bariatric surgery methods to achieve superior results, such as sleeve gastrectomy or a gastric bypass surgery. Both these techniques help limit the amount of food you eat, but with fewer potential complications.
If you’re struggling with weight problems and Lap-Band isn’t working for you, we want you to know that there are better solutions available — and we’re here to help. To learn how we can help you lose weight and keep it off for good, make an appointment with Dr. Sutker and our team today at your nearest office location in Dallas or McKinney, Texas.