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Band doesn't work for me like it does others

Started by Cleo's Mom, Oct 15, 2010 6:34 PM
11 replies to this topic
11 replies to this topic

Posted October 15, 2010 - 6:34 PM

I posted this in the post-surgery forum but this is a more appropriate site. Did anyone else have this problem and if so, how did you solve it?

So, here is my situation. I was thin all my life growing up and had an enormous appetite. It always took a lot of food for me to feel satisfied. I ate when I was hungry, stopped when "full", didn't gain weight and didn't think about food.

That all ended in my late 20's when the genes of my obese family kicked in. The weight started coming on, especially after 2 pregnancies. I did all the diets. They all left me hungry.

So fast forward 30 years and now I'm obese. I get the LAP-BAND® in Sept. 2008. In January 2006 I started my own diet, plus the 6 month pre-op diet and 2 week liquid diet before and after the LAP-BAND® had me losing 60 lbs.

My surgeon wanted me to lose another 10-15 lbs in the 3 weeks after surgery with no fill. That should have been red flag #1. That is an unrealistic expectation for anyone, plus I didn't have a lot more to lose at that point.

Red flag #2 was when I found out he lied about the size band he put in me. He said it was 10cc but I found out it was 4cc. His first fill was 2cc's and his second fill was 1cc. This one caused me many problems - pain, reflux, heartburn, pressure. He blamed me. It was a case of well, if you drink that and it does that then don't drink. After he did an upper GI and saw what a mess I was and how I was too tight he called me in immediately for a slight unfill. At this point I had lost about 75lbs. He was never satisfied with this and gave me the come to Jesus talk when I hadn't lost from one appt. to another. That should have been red flag #3.

So, I got a second opinion and that is when I found out about the lies, etc.. And then I switched to this new surgeon. He was very complimentary about my weight loss and had a supportive attitude. He told me I was too hard on myself (something my late husband used to always say to me)

I want to make this very clear: At no point in my LAP-BAND® journey from no fill to 3cc's did the band ever, ever for one second take away my hunger or provide me with satiety.

Did it make it difficult to eat a lot at one sitting? Yes, but that is different. I was still very much unsatisfied. The inability to eat more and the feeling of satiety are two different things for me.

In hindsight, I think the sleeve would have been a better choice for me - it takes away the stomach and reduces those hunger hormones which I think are my two biggest problems.

But, I digress. So last December I got stuck so bad that I had to go to the ER and spend the night in the hospital. I have been through a lot of painful things but nothing like this. I couldn't even talk I was in so much pain. Dilaudid (sp?) didn't even help. All the fill was taken out of my band and that is where it is now.

So, what am I supposed to do? Getting a fill will not help with the hunger and just make it more likely to cause a stuck episode and when I tell you the fear I have of this - it is overwhelming. I cannot even begin to tell you how painful that episode was. I am sure getting shot couldn't have been more painful.

So, what do I do? I exercise every day. I count calories and keep a food log and I have the same hunger as I have always had - before the band.

So, what do I do? I am 59, my insurance won't pay for the sleeve. But I did all this and now fear gaining weight back. So far I haven't but it is a struggle every day. Every day.

So, you can see that the band doesn't work as it should for everyone. And I followed all the rules. Still do.

So, what should I do?


    Bariatric Evangelist

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Posted October 15, 2010 - 6:44 PM

Sorry to hear you've had such problems. That would drive me nuts trying to resolve.

A few ideas: 1. My insurance (Tricare Prime) will only pay for a second surgery when it is medically necessary to correct problems caused by a previous surgery. Perhaps you can get recommended for a revision to the sleeve to correct the issues caused by the band.

2. The prices I see for band and sleeve self-pay surgery are coming down. If you check the ads on the edges of this forum, you'll see sleeve surgery is "only" $5200. The folks over at verticalsleevetalk.com absolutely RAVE about Dr. Aceves in Mexico. So maybe you can figure a way to self-pay and use him? Not too much money, and you may have some answers you can live with.

3. Post your question over at that same forum. verticalsleevetalk.com I spent a ton of time there before learning my insurance won't pay for the sleeve unless it's done at a military treatment facility. That's how I ended up here. There are a lot of revision people at verticalsleevetalk.com, many of whom are very resourceful about getting insurance companies to pay for things.

Hope this helps a bit. Good luck!


Posted October 15, 2010 - 6:48 PM

Thanks, Dave, for your suggestions.



  • Posts: 2,973
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  • Current Weight: 146
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Posted October 15, 2010 - 6:54 PM

I have also heard of surgeons who will charge a revision fee to a new procedure if insurance pays for removal of the band due to complications.

On a different forum I saw a quote of $1100.00 for revision to RNY during band removal.

That might be a possibility for switching to a sleeve.

Posted October 15, 2010 - 7:02 PM

I saw this post on the sleeve forum and thought - YES, YES, THAT'S THE EXPERIENCE I WANT. THAT IS ME (HER BAND EXPERIENCE)

I personally think the band and the sleeve are two completely different. So far the sleeve for me has been everything I was looking for in the band, which I never got.

  • No Hunger
  • No Fills/Unfills!!!
  • No food dragging in my esophagus
  • No night coughs
  • No cheating (like with the band you could just wash it down to your biggie stomach)
  • I feel real fulness.. Not just pressure in my throat
  • I really only can eat a few Oz at a time. I NEVER had this with my band, unless I was so tight I choked up everything I ate.
This surgery IMO is FAR SUPERIOR to the band. Good luck!!!

I am going to have to discuss all this with my new surgeon and insurance company. They wouldn't consider what I have now a complication (no slip, erosion, etc..)

Thanks for your information.


    Banded Down Under

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Posted October 16, 2010 - 7:59 PM

The band hasnt ever taken away my hunger or the desire to eat either. I have no idea why I have been so successful with it, because things sitting in my pantry still call my name and I have every bit as much ability to eat inappropriately as I ever did. It simply stops me eating so much at one sitting, and that combined with me growing up and accepting that I simply could not eat every time the random urge struck, along with my running, has been enough to bring my weight to normal levels.

However, now I'm facing having my band unfilled for 2 or 3 months, I do wonder if I'll find it is doing more for me than I think it is. Its very hard to know what's me and what's the band and perhaps you're not realising quite what its done, afterall, you did lose a lot and you havent piled it all back on.

I definitely dont have the same sort of expeirence with my band that I've read about here, I havent ever really "felt" restriction, I eat way more than other bandsters do, I eat from all food groups and I only get stuck if I really break the rules - big bites, poor chewing, fast eating. But obviously weight loss can still occur under those circumstances.

You havent had such a good run of it unfortunately, and I think considering a revision to a sleeve is probably a sensible option - we've had surgery and it just shouldnt be this hard. I could probably never fill my band again and keep this weight off but why the heck should I when I find it so easy with some fluid in there? Likewise, why would you continue to struggle and impose such levels of self discipline when another surgery might release you from all of that?

I wish I could help with the cost of it, but unfortunately nobody really can. I do think in your situation I'd be considering the same thing though.

Posted October 16, 2010 - 10:17 PM

Thanks, Jachut, for your insight and thoughts. I have a lot to discuss with my surgeon the next time we meet.

So, it sounds like the inability to eat more (due to the band and pouch) didn't stop you from being hungry or wanting more food, it just made it difficult for you to eat more. And with your reduced eating, better food choices and exercise, you were successful. That sounds like me but I don't like living with the hunger.

That's where I am at this point. I do feel "restriction" of some sort from time to time - with the strangest things, too. Like if I drink cold iced tea (decaf and sugar free, of course) too fast it feel like it is just sitting there waiting to go down. Then in a bit I feel it going down.

Thanks, again. And good luck with your cancer treatment. I've been there too (with breast cancer) and when you get that diagnosis it's like a kick in the gut. I think you will do fine.



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Posted October 17, 2010 - 12:49 PM

What is this sleeve?? Please?? I know my band is not going to last another year and am horrified at the thought of gaining a pound!!



  • Posts: 6
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  • BMI: 37.5
Posted October 18, 2010 - 5:18 PM

1100.00 for lap band removal where?



  • Posts: 2,973
  • Joined: Aug 2007
  • Gender: Female
  • Location: CA
  • Surgery: LAP-BAND
  • Surgeon: Charles Callery
  • Surgery Date: Feb 2008
  • Height: 5 feet 5 inches
  • Starting Weight: 217
  • Weight Lost: 71
  • Current Weight: 146
  • Goal Weight: 146
  • BMI: 24.3
Posted October 18, 2010 - 8:28 PM


1100.00 for LAP-BAND removal where?

That is not what I said. I was quoting someone on another forum who had insurance pay for band removal due to complications.

She revised to RNY at the same time. Insurance would not pay for the RNY portion, but since insurance was covering the operating room, staff, and anethesia, the surgeon charged a fee of $1100.00 to perform the extra surgery to do the RNY portion.

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