As the recession has taken hold, there has been a flood of companies piling into the gastric band market and frankly, some of these practitioners do not offer a good service. We have seen patients, many who have gone abroad for treatment and who have been left without decent aftercare. I’ve seen patients from Belgium, Latvia, Poland, Tunisia, Spain, Turkey and France.
The most common problem is because follow up visits are limited, the gastric band is over tightened. This leads to vomiting, regurgitation of food and, paradoxically weight gain. This weight gain is due to maladaptive eating, because the band is too tight the individual can only tolerate things that can slip through. For some reason, cheesy wotsits are frequently mentioned along with ice cream and mountains of chocolate.
When the over-adjustment is long standing it can lead to serious problems because of pouch dilatation. Treatment is to aspirate the gastric band, prescribe acid-blocking medication, allow the stomach to rest, check the band with a barium study and gradually adjust back up over time. Sometimes in severe cases, corrective surgery is necessary.
Dr David Ashton
27th May 2010