Gastric Band Complications Medical Students should know about

rondYou may be studying medicine with the view to performing weight loss surgeries, such as gastric band surgery. Or you may be a medical student experiencing challenges with obesity and are interested in knowing more about weight loss surgery.

Either one, you need to know that all surgeries carry risks even though surgeons may be fully trained and experienced. A patient may have a medical condition that isn’t evident, or they may have a predisposition to a condition that isn’t obvious. Risks are the probability that harm may occur and medical doctors are usually trained to manage and reduce such likelihood through controls, such as health and safety procedures and infection control. One in 2000 people undergoing gastric band surgery are at risk of death. This may be true of other surgeries too. Risk is not the same as complications.

A complication is usually a setback that arises during or from surgery because of an underlying factor, which is discussed on, that hadn’t been foreseen or patient choice – not to follow medical advice. Patients need to know potential complications that may arise from gastric band surgery.

Complications of gastric band surgery

surgery-2surgComplications as a result of gastric band surgery may arise during or after surgery, such as bleeding and infection. The patient may have an existing infection that revealed no symptoms. After surgery, a patient may experience vomiting that can cause the gastric band to slip. Not correcting this slippage can spur further complications, such as gastroesophageal reflux.

Other complications may arise due to the quality of the band or the manner in which the band is fitted, such as erosion or leakage within the stomach. We’ve recently seen press coverage originating from France about inferior silicone used in breast implants where surgeons used the product in good faith. The same applies to gastric bands as a product.

A patient’s body may respond sensitively to the gastric band and reject it, resulting in an enlarged stomach pouch or blocked stoma. A patient not following post gastric band surgery advice, such as overeating, may also cause complications.