Why is my Gastric band Failing me?

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With all weight loss surgery, there is a ‘failure’ rate of about 15%. Whether you are choosing a sleeve, bypass, band or ESG this rate is fairly common, give or take a little. 

There are a few reasons why patients might fail to lose weight with the gastric band. The most common reason is that people have been unable to make and sustain the diet and eating habit changes that are required for success. The band works very well for those patients who can make these changes. It helps them feel fuller on a smaller portion when they are eating the right foods in the right way. Some people can find it difficult to make these changes, we advise our patients to use a portion control plate to aid with meal volumes. That could be for various reasons. For these patients, life trying to work with the band can become difficult and tiresome with the result that they want the band removed. 

A person might also fail to lose weight because, over time, the stomach above the band has stretched. This might happen when a band has been too tight or a person has eaten portions that are too big. We see this with sleeve and bypass patients too. The other possibility is that the device might be failing, usually meaning it has leaked. If the band is leaking we establish this through either an x-ray or clinic volume checks or both. These tests are conclusive. If your band is leaking you will usually experience a sudden loss of restriction that is noticeable to you. This problem is easily fixed with a  simple additional procedure to replace the access port or port tubing. 

If you are struggling to lose weight with your band or if you are tired of living with your band, get back to the clinic for a review. There is usually something we can do to help, whether this advice, a replacement pot for revision to another procedure. Only in very rare cases does the band need to be removed. Don’t despair if you are finding it hard to live with your band. Many patients experience this before their ‘eureka’ moment when it all falls into place. Contact a reputable band aftercare clinic if you feel you need some support. 

Useful links:

About the Gastric band

Gastric band removal

Gastric band complications

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Rishi Singhal

Rishi is an expert bariatric surgeon based in the West Midlands and also Medical Director at Healthier Weight

The Healthier Weight App

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