Suspected gastric band leak?

You may be failing to lose weight with your gastric band and don’t know why. If you are following the dietary guidelines but the band is not giving you that early feeling of fullness that you should expect, and that you used to feel, it may be that your band, and not you, is the problem. If you suspect this may be the case, then it might be worth having a gastric band review to check if your band is leaking.

Our leak review comprises a two-step process. The first step is a short series of clinic review appointments with one of our bariatric nurses to check the fill volume in your band. This will give an indication if there is a leak. It will not be conclusive in isolation but a fill discrepancy, where their actual volume is lower than expected, would trigger an x-ray band adjustment to look for a leak from the band system (port, tubing and band itself).

Tubing and band leaks

There is a weak point in all gastric bands where the access port connects to the band itself. The different types of bands make this connection in different places and in different ways.

Whatever approach is used it remains, unavoidably, a weak point. It is usually referred to as a tubing leak and these leaks are often identifiable on x-ray. If the leak to your tubing is close to the access port it can usually be fixed by cutting the tubing above the leak and replacing the port and tubing below it. If the leak is closer to the ‘band’ then the entire band would need to be replaced.

In either scenario, it would be a day case procedure. The complete band replacement would require longer in theatre and is more technically challenging. The old band needs to be carefully removed and the new band placed into the same ‘tunnel’ that was formed by it around the stomach. Both procedures are routine when done by experienced and skilled gastric band surgeons.

In rare cases, it may be difficult to pinpoint pre-operatively the site of the leak. Identifying this during the operation and rectifying the problem requires a diligent and experienced gastric band surgeon.

There are occasions when the band itself (the part that sits around the stomach – this is called the ‘balloon’) leaks. These leaks are the rarest that we see. When they do occur they require complete replacement of the band. These leaks can be diagnosed with confidence with a barium x-ray.

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Port leak

Port leaks are easily fixed when diagnosed. When we know the band is losing fluid, the clue that it is the access port that is leaking (and not the tubing or band itself) is that the saline (salt water) we draw from the band is ‘gin clear’. This is important because these leaks cannot usually be seen under x-ray examination.

If your band is leaking from the access port it can be easily fixed through replacing the access port. This is a simple procedure that takes 15-20 minutes. For your comfort, it is done under general anaesthetic. You would normally be discharged within a few hours of the procedure being completed. Once replaced, adjustments can recommence about 5 weeks later.

Prices and Finance Plans

Call us today on 0121 693 4488 or click the pink button to arrange a call with one of our experts.

There are several reasons why bands leak and sometimes it’s impossible to find the precise reason. The most common reasons are:

Usually this is when the band leaks at the site of the access port. The manufacturer explains that leaks can occur and this risk is impossible to eradicate. That’s of no consolation to the patients who experience them but fortunately these types of leak are few in number.

In some patients the tubing will fracture. It’s impossible to tell for sure why this happens and there are differing theories about it. The most common are that there could be a twist in the tubing that over time causes the tubing to perish. Another is that the tubing becomes kinked in the stomach simply due to the way the band sits in the abdominal cavity. It’s normally impossible to establish exactly why tubing fractures occur. The fracture will usually appear where the band tubing links to the access port (for a Bioring gastric band) or where the port tubing connects to the band tubing for an Apollo AP band. This connection of port and band is always the weakest point in the band system.

Occasionally a tubing leak arises from an attempted band adjustment. Sometimes ports sit deep below the surface of the skin and are hard to access. No matter how skilful the band fill nurse who adjusts your band there will be bands where the tubing is punctured instead of the access port. These types of leaks are usually visible on x-ray.

Price and finance plans

We have a range of finance plans to help you get the help you need with your gastric band. Read here to see our price and finance guide for gastric band revisions. Everyone’s situation is different and our prices are tailored to each individual, arrange an expert call to get a more accurate quote.

Call us today on 0121 693 4488 or click the pink button to arrange a call and talk to one of our experts.

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