- Damage to abdominal organs or major blood vessels
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Gastritis (irritated stomach tissue)
- Gastroesophageal reflux (regurgitation)
- Inability to maintain long-term weight loss
- Nausea, vomiting, gas and bloating
- Obstruction of the stomach opening created by the gastric band
- Slippage, deflation or erosion of the gastric band
Reducing your risk of complications
You can reduce the risk of certain complications by following your treatment plan including:
- Ensuring that all members of your care team are aware of any allergies you have
- Following activity, dietary and lifestyle restrictions and recommendations before surgery, during recovery, and after
- Notifying your doctor immediately of any concerns, such as bleeding, fever, increase in pain, or wound redness, swelling or drainage
- Taking your medications and vitamin and mineral supplements exactly as directed
How do I prepare for my gastric banding?
It is important to remember that you are a very important member of your own healthcare team. The steps you take before surgery can significantly improve your outcome after the procedure. You can best prepare yourself physically and mentally for a gastric banding by:
- Answering all questions about your medical history and medications you take. This includes prescribed medications, over-the-counter drugs, herbal treatments, and vitamins. It is a good idea to carry a current list of your medical conditions, medications, and allergies at all times.
- Getting pre-operative testing as directed. Testing will vary depending on your age, health, and specific procedure. Pre-operative testing may include a chest X-ray, electrocardiography (ECG), blood tests, and other tests as needed.
- Losing some weight as directed by your surgeon. Even losing a small amount of weight can help reduce serious risks of bariatric surgery.
- Not eating or drinking just prior to surgery as directed. Your surgery may have to be cancelled if you eat or drink too close to the start of the procedure due to a risk of complications, such as choking on stomach contents during deep anesthesia.
- Stop smoking as soon as possible. Even quitting for a just few days can be helpful.
- Taking or stopping medications exactly as directed. For gastric banding, this may include not taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and blood thinners. Your doctor will give you instructions for taking your specific medications and supplements.
Questions to ask your doctor
Facing surgery can be stressful. It is common for patients to forget some of their questions during a brief doctor’s office visit. You may also think of other questions after your appointment. You should feel free to contact your doctor when questions come up. It is also a good idea to bring a list of questions to your pre-operative appointments. Questions can include:
- Why do I need gastric banding? Are there any other options for treating my condition?
- How long will the procedure take? When will I be able to go home?
- What kind of restrictions will I have after the surgery, and when can I expect to return to work and other activities?
- What kind of assistance will I need at home?
- What medication plan should I follow before and after the surgery?
- How will my pain be managed?
- When and how should I contact you? Ask for numbers to call during and after regular hours.
What can I expect after my gastric banding?
Knowing what to expect can help make your road to recovery after gastric bypass surgery as smooth as possible.
How long will it take to recover?
After the surgery, you will stay briefly in the recovery room until you are fully alert, breathing effectively, and your other vital signs are stable. You may have a tube that was passed through your nose into your stomach during surgery. This tube will be used to keep your stomach empty. Your surgeon will remove the tube when your stomach has recovered enough from the effects of surgery to work properly. Gastric banding is often done on an outpatient basis but in some cases, you may have to stay in the hospital for a couple of days.
© Copyright 2012 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, consult your doctor.