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Complications Common For Gastric Banding Patients | DeLand Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Complications Common For Gastric Banding Patients

While the majority of morbidly obese patients who undergo gastric banding say they are generally satisfied years later, almost 40 percent are saddled with major complications, and nearly half must have their bands removed, a small, new Belgian study reveals.

Dr. Jacques Himpens, and colleagues at the European School of Laparoscopic Surgery, Saint Pierre University Hospital, Brussels, Belgium, conducted a clinical assessment of patients 12 or more years after undergoing LAGB to determine the long-term efficacy and safety of the surgery for morbid obesity.

“There is substantial evidence that surgery is the only valid treatment for morbid obesity,” the authors write in a press release. “Presently, the most commonly performed techniques are laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, which is also typically performed laparoscopically.”

LAGB creates a small pouch by placing a constricting ring, or band, around the top portion of the stomach; the smaller stomach size allows patients to feel full more quickly.

Since its introduction in 2001, the banding approach has become a popular alternative to “Roux-en-Y gastric by-pass” surgery, which involves the literal stapling of the stomach in order to redirect food past part of the small intestine to instigate reduced food absorption as well as a quicker sensation of satiety.

Opponents of LAGB claim it can result in mediocre quality of life and a significant number of complications, and that there is a tendency for patients to regain weight after some years.

A total of 151 consecutive patients who were treated with LAGB between Jan. 1, 1994 and Dec. 31, 1997 were contacted at the end of 2009, and 82 (54.3 percent) were available for full evaluation.

“Based on a follow-up of 54.3 percent of patients, LAGB appears to result in a mean excess weight loss of 42.8 percent after 12 years or longer,” the authors report.

Thirty-nine percent of patients experienced major complications, and 22 percent experienced minor complications. Nearly half the patients required removal of their gastric bands and nearly 60 percent needed additional operations.

“Still, 60.3 percent of the patients were satisfied, and the quality-of-life index was comparable to the nonsurgical average,” the authors write.

Fourteen patients were switched to laparoscopic gastric bypass, with good results.

Himpens said that patients should limit their expectations with respect to banding, noting that “all weight-loss operations have a high failure rate”. But he added that “it is still defendable for surgeons to continue doing this.”

The report on this study was posted online earlier this month and will appear in the July print issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

For more on medical safety issues, see the library of articles by Daytona Beach medical malpractice attorney.

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