No surgery is completely free from any risks – however Gastric Banding is very safe. It is significantly safer than the other types of weight loss surgery, which is the main reason why it is preferred by the majority of Australian patients. Remember also that chronic, untreated obesity poses many serious risks to a person’s health and indeed their lifespan, and that once a person’s BMI reaches 30 or more, these obesity risks become greater than any of the risks involved with Gastric banding.
Short term risks
The short term risks involved with a gastric banding procedure are similar to any other laparoscopic abdominal operation such as removal of a gallbladder or repair of a hernia- such risks include bleeding, accidental injury to internal organs, infection, anaesthetic problems, and blood clots. In our experience, the risk of a complication such as these during surgery is less than 1 in 500.
Long term problems
Problems that may occur long term after Gastric banding include:
- Band slippage or enlargement of the pouch above the band
- Access-port rotation
- Disconnection of the tubing between the band and port
- Reflux or heartburn
- erosion into the stomach
- Oesophageal dilatation
Fortunately most problems are quite straight forward to fix, allowing your Gastric Band to continue to provide ongoing hunger and portion control. Its important that you maintain an ongoing relationship with the clinic, with band check-ups at least once a year long term, so that we can identify and correct any problems. We strongly recommend that you maintain an appropriate level of health insurance so that any problems that may arise can be corrected without any cost to you (apart from your hospital excess).