There are three reasons why a gastric band may feel tighter when you are flying on a plane:
- If the air pressure in the cabin isn’t adequately adjusted, and there is a small amount of air in your gastric band, the band could theoretically feel tighter. I have seen this explanation given on a number of websites but in practice I think it is pretty unlikely.
- All tissues expand including internal organs in the stomach wall in circumstances where there is inadequate pressure in the cabin.
- It is well known that anxiety and stress will create a sensation of the gastric band being tighter so if you get stressed when flying this is the most likely reason.
None of the above amount to a tightening that is physiologically dangerous. Look at it as a positive benefit. You can avoid the ghastly airline meal; sip lots of water (avoid alcohol) sit back and arrive at your destination with calories to spare.
Dr David Ashton
4th June 2010