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16 yrs Banded, Now May have to revise to sleeve! HELP!



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Hi all! I was banded in Mexico in 2002. I started at 285lbs and over the years (I was a slow loser) I had lost just over 130lbs by 2009. I had stay steady at same weight from 2009-2014. Was filled to where I wanted and THOUGHT I was ok. I decided to just get checked out at Kaiser just because it had been so many years since I had ANY type of checkup on it. They did a flouroscopy and found my esophogus had doubled in size. My band had been overfilled all those years..my doctor in Mexico ALWAYS does fills under flouro, but eventually had started getting "blind" fills by a local doctor. This is what caused the overfill. But I lived with it over the years figured just the band quirks..my weight stayed off so it worked. So when they found the expanded esophagus they completely unfilled my band and had me weight about 3 months for improvement. My esophagus returned to normal, so they agreed to refill me slowly. I got a few fills at Kaiser, but then moved to central california from northern..and went back to surgeon I had been getting blnd fills before at his northern cali location. I was now closer to his central ca location. So in Feb 2016, his NP filled me and most likely introduced an infection when she filled me. She may have stabbed me twice. So not knowing I had an infection, I was starting to have pain shortly after. I felt a hard lump in my stomach that felt like my port but the lump was now higher than the port was always stitched. So I thought my port had become unstitched and moved up to my waistline. SO I contacted my surgeon in Mexico and he advised I head down there to get checked out, so I did. He did a flouroscopy and everything looked normal..but he decided to go in and open me up to see what was going on. He found a massive infection brewing in there. He did an endoscopy to make sure my band had not eroded. It was fine.So he cleaned me out, stitched me up and sent me home with a few heavy duty antiobiotics. After almost the full course of antibiotics, my incision wasn't healing and was still oozing. So he figured my body was attacking the port and tubing, so he had me come back to Mexico to remove the port and tubing..let me body heal and said to come back in 4-5 months to put port and tubing back in. This was May of 16. My band was filled again..and I know I need to have the port/tube in but for almost 2 years, did not go back due to time and money. I had NO issues. I had gained 50lbs quickly after that initial unfill, but have not had luck really losing this 50lbs. Admittedly had not been trying extra hard..but figured my body was adjusting to all the fill, unfill, fill activity. I was glad I had not gained ALL my weight.

So fast forward to today. About a week ago in the midst of being sick with bad flu for over 2+ weeks, developing a yeast infection and ear infection, I started having pain in my abdomen at the site of the incision from 2 years ago. I feel a lump now underneath and was feeling like it did when I had the infection before. Not sure why now..so I went to ER and they did a CT Scan. They sent to a local bariatric surgeon to review..he said he didn’t really see anything unusual..he didn’t know I didn’t have a port so I think whatever lump I have he thought was my port. Before I could get my story out, he basically said he advises to remove the band now, wait 4-5 months and revise to sleeve! I was floored. I was not expecting that AT ALL! I never really thought about the sleeve, know anything about it and know if would be successful at this point.

I am more worried about gaining back all my weight and keeping it off long term. Like I said I have 50lbs of it I still want to lose, but given it is a revision and not a brand new out of the box patient..will I still have a hard time losing it with a sleeve revision or will having a new surgery help?

I am still deciding if I want to have the surgeries local or go back to Mexico. I would have to pay out of pocket in Mexico or get it covered 100% here in town. BUT I trust my Mexican surgeon more..more experienced with bands and surgery in general. I need to decide quickly because of the infection going on.

What has been your experience if you revised from band to sleeve after a long time. Were you able to lose weight again or basically did the sleeve just help you keep off what you have lost?

I am nervous about the non reversable cutting of my stomach for the sleeve.

Any advice would help at this point!!

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I know you asked about sleeve - I just revised from band to RNY and have had great, quick return to band weight.

I loved my band, but my port broke so leaked, got replaced, got repeated infections, then when all fixed just never ever hit the sweet spot. New port was on mesh which made its own mayhem.

Now I have bypass, I can’t really understand why I didn’t do it years ago - such a better surgery for me!

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biddynz,

Did you have your band removed and came back for another surgery or was it done all at the same time?

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All at once - I thought he might not because of the infection, but big-dose antibiotics hammered it pre surgery.

I would have been bummed out if I had to wait between!!

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Posted (edited)

Thanks! I’m going to get my lap band to a mini gastric bypass revision and I’m nervous that they might not be able to do it at once, I have no problem with my band other than not losing weight

Edited by g25

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My advice is just to have it removed and make it a point to keep your same eating habits. I was banded for 3.5 years and had to get my band removed yesterday. A little over a month ago out of the blue I started having what I thought were PVCs. I had fluttering in my chest every time I layed down and it slowly got to the point where I started feeling like I was having a heart attack for several hours a day even when not laying down. After multiple ER visits (and all tests showing that my heart rhythm and rate were normal, all blood work normal) I went into my surgeon after not having slept more than 2 hours a night in 2 weeks and in tears I told him that I wanted it removed. He advised that we should start with emptying the band first and warned that I would gain 10-15 pounds. That day he emptied the band and I still did not get much relief until I went into my primary care physician and he put me on a once a day antacid. He explained that I was having esophagus spasms which can be painful and feel like a rapid heart rate. I did begin to get some relief after a couple of days of antacids with the band emptied. I was scheduled to have the band removed and kept my eating habits exactly the same. I did not gain any weight while I waited for the the removal surgery. But again, I kept my eating the same. Yesterday I had my band removed and I have had almost no spasms. My doctor says they should completely disappear in a few weeks.

While I did lose 50 lbs with my band, I don't really credit the band with much. I could still drink milk shakes and eat potato chips and that was actually easier than eating fish and vegetables. I found that I lost weight when I ate clean and exercised and when I didn't eat clean, I gained. The band does not change your relationship with food. Only you can do that.

I prayed about it quite a bit and came to the conclusion that our bodies are just not meant to have these foreign materials in them for long periods of time. Just take it out, eat properly and exercise. You're used to eating the way you should. Keep doing that and you'll be fine.

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4 hours ago, 1Corinthians6:19 said:

My advice is just to have it removed and make it a point to keep your same eating habits. I was banded for 3.5 years and had to get my band removed yesterday. A little over a month ago out of the blue I started having what I thought were PVCs. I had fluttering in my chest every time I layed down and it slowly got to the point where I started feeling like I was having a heart attack for several hours a day even when not laying down. After multiple ER visits (and all tests showing that my heart rhythm and rate were normal, all blood work normal) I went into my surgeon after not having slept more than 2 hours a night in 2 weeks and in tears I told him that I wanted it removed. He advised that we should start with emptying the band first and warned that I would gain 10-15 pounds. That day he emptied the band and I still did not get much relief until I went into my primary care physician and he put me on a once a day antacid. He explained that I was having esophagus spasms which can be painful and feel like a rapid heart rate. I did begin to get some relief after a couple of days of antacids with the band emptied. I was scheduled to have the band removed and kept my eating habits exactly the same. I did not gain any weight while I waited for the the removal surgery. But again, I kept my eating the same. Yesterday I had my band removed and I have had almost no spasms. My doctor says they should completely disappear in a few weeks.

While I did lose 50 lbs with my band, I don't really credit the band with much. I could still drink milk shakes and eat potato chips and that was actually easier than eating fish and vegetables. I found that I lost weight when I ate clean and exercised and when I didn't eat clean, I gained. The band does not change your relationship with food. Only you can do that.

I prayed about it quite a bit and came to the conclusion that our bodies are just not meant to have these foreign materials in them for long periods of time. Just take it out, eat properly and exercise. You're used to eating the way you should. Keep doing that and you'll be fine.

Thank you for sharing your story. If your advice worked, none of us would be having weight loss surgery! Sorry..a bit simplistic.."just watch your eating habits" LOL!! food is one addiction that we cannot live without..and it is hard to just "eat right". The band was not meant to stop you from eating chips and shakes..it also doesn't make you want to eat kale and fish either. It limits food good or bad. I got the surgery mostly to keep it off rather than just to lose weight. I was sick of the 5% chance of keeping weight off you lose..those are bad odds. Unfortunately, when I was unfilled when they found the esophagus issue, I gained 30lbs in a month..I ate barely anything..I watched EVERY bit and sip I took..counted calories..was eating like 500 calories a day and worked out and gained 5lbs a day..it was a nonstop freight train. I am afraid when the band goes, I will gain more. I originally lost 130lbs with the band..gained 50 so far after the unfill..but have now stabilized. I have a fill but no port or tube..so the band is still doing what it supposed to do..keeping weight off..BUT still not helping with losing these 50lbs no matter what I do to "eat right". I do hope that works for you..sounds like you have resolved to just try and wing it like the rest of the mere mortals. I cannot risk gaining that weight with no way to lose it and most importantly keep it off long term.

I went back to the surgical office locally today to ask the surgeon more questions. Looks like insurance requires ANYONE getting a new surgery..even if a revision..to jump through all the hoops...psych evals, dieting, etc etc..all the BS that is important for a brand NEW patient, but rediculous for someone banded for 16 years. So I am looking at possibly just paying out of pocket and going back to my surgeon in Mexico. He has more experience, he can do the removal/revision at same time..no hoops to jump through..a lot to consider..but just winging it again and just "watching my eating habits" never worked and won't at my age to stop the gain that will most likely happen nor get off what I gained.

Good luck with your journey!

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It's interesting that you gained 30 lbs eating only 500 calories a day. The band does not change your metabolism, so I'm confused about that. But yes, for me the discomfort and constant feeling of having a heart attack is simply not worth it. I was absolutely miserable. It's only been 2 weeks since I've had no restriction but I haven't gained anything at all. There were times with the band where I gained 10 lbs in a week because I fell off the wagon with my diet. My eating habits are so much healthier now, so I'm looking forward to keeping a good attitude towards food without the band. I was also doing cardio and strength training 4-5 days a week, which I will get back to when I'm healed up from the removal. I was very encouraged by a post on this site by AZbandster. She had a very similar experience to mine and has done well maintaining without the band. I just found that the band did not actually stop weight gain for me. Like I mentioned, I could eat horrible and gain 10 lbs easily even with the band full. I had to make permanent changes to the way I thought about food. I actually began a pescatarian diet 6 months ago which helped me lose the most recent 10 lbs I lost. Now I'm looking forward to trying a more vegan based diet with seafood Proteins a few times a week. The pescatarian diet is helping with my digestion, sleep, and so many other improvements, like my hair and skin so I'm hoping to continue to see benefits.

With regard to the payment, my insurance covered the removal with no hoops but not a revision.

Wish you the best as well. I'll be sure to check back in on you to see how you're doing.

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12 hours ago, 1Corinthians6:19 said:

It's interesting that you gained 30 lbs eating only 500 calories a day. The band does not change your metabolism, so I'm confused about that. But yes, for me the discomfort and constant feeling of having a heart attack is simply not worth it. I was absolutely miserable. It's only been 2 weeks since I've had no restriction but I haven't gained anything at all. There were times with the band where I gained 10 lbs in a week because I fell off the wagon with my diet. My eating habits are so much healthier now, so I'm looking forward to keeping a good attitude towards food without the band. I was also doing cardio and strength training 4-5 days a week, which I will get back to when I'm healed up from the removal. I was very encouraged by a post on this site by AZbandster. She had a very similar experience to mine and has done well maintaining without the band. I just found that the band did not actually stop weight gain for me. Like I mentioned, I could eat horrible and gain 10 lbs easily even with the band full. I had to make permanent changes to the way I thought about food. I actually began a pescatarian diet 6 months ago which helped me lose the most recent 10 lbs I lost. Now I'm looking forward to trying a more vegan based diet with seafood Proteins a few times a week. The pescatarian diet is helping with my digestion, sleep, and so many other improvements, like my hair and skin so I'm hoping to continue to see benefits.

With regard to the payment, my insurance covered the removal with no hoops but not a revision.

Wish you the best as well. I'll be sure to check back in on you to see how you're doing.

Yeah..it was interesting...on a day that I even was walking around San Francisco all day at a conference and logged over 20K steps..the next day I was up 5lbs!! I had seen this with a few other bandsters who had complete unfills..it was a quick weight gain with no stopping it with diet and excercise..any normal person restricted to 500-600 calories a day should be losing a few lbs a day..not gaining it..but I think it is just the abnormal state of being our bodies are throw into when banded..I think if I did not restrict my calories like I did, I would have gained more..my body adjusted to this new set point and now is maintaining there..

I wish I could trust that I would be okay with just living without a band and hope for the best and try with diet and excercise that failed many times before. I'm older and metabolism is slower, about to hit menopause anytime now which doesn't help..so if I can get this weight back off and maintain it..I would be happy. If I was good at eating healthy ALL the time and excercising all the time, I never would have been overweight and needed the band. We are humans..we need food..we love food..we will always slip and fall when it comes to food. I wish I had that willpower..never did and won't start now at age 50..

Anyway...best of luck to you!! I will post my follow up...

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I am getting ready to have my band removed and have the sleeve as well. At first I was very nervous and I was shocked but the more I thought about it I was convinced this was the best thing for me. I was banded in 2008 (7 months after my son was born) and I weighed 295 pounds. I lost weight very slow and that was ok but my body could only handle a very small fills. I would vomit at times with Water and have to have it unfilled. My lowest weight was 164 and I felt great but I started to vomit again. My band was released and I gained some weight (30 pounds) I now weigh 200 pounds again and my blood pressure is high again. The doctor suggested that I have my band removed and do the sleeve. I did a lot of my own research and I have decided that as much as I am afraid of being put to sleep ( Thats the scary part for me) I will be much healthier with this) I am also looking forward to sleeping on my right side again. When I lost the weight before my port had become very sore and more noticeable. I wish you the best of luck. Do you what you feel is right. I know its hard. I was very angry, sad and upset. I then took some time by myself and realized this was a blessing in disguise.

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5 minutes ago, stacey8220 said:

I am getting ready to have my band removed and have the sleeve as well. At first I was very nervous and I was shocked but the more I thought about it I was convinced this was the best thing for me. I was banded in 2008 (7 months after my son was born) and I weighed 295 pounds. I lost weight very slow and that was ok but my body could only handle a very small fills. I would vomit at times with Water and have to have it unfilled. My lowest weight was 164 and I felt great but I started to vomit again. My band was released and I gained some weight (30 pounds) I now weigh 200 pounds again and my blood pressure is high again. The doctor suggested that I have my band removed and do the sleeve. I did a lot of my own research and I have decided that as much as I am afraid of being put to sleep ( Thats the scary part for me) I will be much healthier with this) I am also looking forward to sleeping on my right side again. When I lost the weight before my port had become very sore and more noticeable. I wish you the best of luck. Do you what you feel is right. I know its hard. I was very angry, sad and upset. I then took some time by myself and realized this was a blessing in disguise.

Thank you for sharing your story..let's definitely follow each other's journey..you are at the same place I am at..we started close to same weight (mine was 286). My lowest was 150 until my band was unfilled and eventually gained 50 and have been sitting at 200 now for last year + or 1 a lb or two. What I worry about is this being effective at all to get the sleeve. I asked the doctor this yesterday. Since are already banded and lost alot of weight and maintained until we had issues..do we go back to starting line like we were when first banded...you have this new restriction you never had before..you increased it and lost weight fairly quickly. I was l slow too...small fills..resistant to want to ALWAYS eat healthy..etc..it was fine for me..but NOW..we start at a place where we had already been restricted for years..and now we are just getting a different restriction..so will we have t he same momentum as a newbie or have to work harder to get the weight we gained off? I guess I have to look at this sleeve as a way to keep the weight off for most part. Totally unbanded with no replacement means we are back to being mere mortals again with yo yo dieting all our lives..no thank you!!

I have been trying to find band>revision long term results here. The surgeon I saw yesterday seems to think I should be able to get his 50lbs I regained off with the sleeve and then maintain it..who knows.

With this infection looming inside me..the timeline is being pushed. I don't really want to have two surgeries here in states because insurance requires me jump through the pre-surgery hoops I wouldn't have to do back in Mexico with the surgeon I know and trust with my life..free vs pay...uggh....have to decide quickly..if infection doesn't get better..it may happen this week if I can get the money scrambled together..

Keep me posted on your journey...would love to here how you progress post band with sleeve!!

Best wishes on speedy recovery!

Patty

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Maygoddess, I know exactly how you feel!!! I have a Lap-band that has slipped twice (one required surgical re-positioning and the other a complete un-fill) and it now has a LEAK!!

It was a great tool that worked well for approximately 11 years, but the last 2 years have been a struggle. My appetite returned vengeance and I regained the 135 pounds and a bit more within that time period. I have tried countless times to get fills in hopes that somehow it will fix itself, but of course that was wishful thinking.

Depression, disgust, embarrassment, and frustration set in and I felt so lost. I continued asking myself how could I let this happen , but I honestly couldn't control my hunger. To not have an appetite for over 9 years and then wake up feeling as if I could eat ANYTHING scared the crap out of me. I even went to the weight management doctor in hopes to be prescribed an appetite control suppressant, but my blood pressure was too high so the answer to that was "NO." I was so angry at that point and I knew I needed help, but didn't know what to do.

Did I mention that bariatric surgery is an exclusion in my medical insurance benefits? The money that I've spent going back and forth to doctors for fills, un-fills, upper GI testing, follow-up appointments, anesthesia, etc.. was getting ridiculous. I couldn't afford it anymore. It was taking a toll on me financially and mentally. There was no one for me to talk to because no one knew what I was going through. When I would see family members that I haven't seen in a while, I would hear things like "what happened?" "you're bigger than me," "I didn't even recognize you," "you got soooo big," and the hurtful comments went on and on. Although I knew the comments weren't a deliberate attempt to hurt me, EVERY word felt like a dagger poking at me.

In February, out of despair and desperation, I contacted a friend that had VSG surgery in Mexico with excellent results and explained my nightmare to her. She told me about her great experience and I was sold. Long story short, I'm scheduled for revision surgery (Lap-band to VSG) on April 4th in Mexico. I'll be travelling alone and I'm nervous, but I have to do this for me because I'm miserable.

Some say that revision from Lap-band to Gastric Sleeve doesn't always have the best success rates , but I refuse to believe that. I CAN NOT AND I WILL NOT FAIL!

Maygoddess, I'm so sorry that you've had this experience, but I'm glad to know that you have options. You are not alone in this struggle. Now I can't tell you whether or not to stay California for surgery or travel to Mexico, but I advise you to follow your heart because it won't lead you wrong .

Sorry for the long post.

Best of luck to you. Please keep us posted.

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Hi Back with update. sitting in hospital bed in Tijuana right now. Had my surgery yesterday with Dr Kuri and he was successfully able to remove my band and revise to sleeve! Wooooo!! I wa sworried because of the pain,I had erosion, but it was prbabaly just some infection around the tubing.

So happy I stuck to my guns and did not have the removal surgery only in the states and have to wait 3 months for new surgery..

Now on to recovery and figuring out how to live with the sleeve..

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Hi Ladies...I'm glad I found you here. We all share VERY similar stories, albeit at slightly different stages. Like I mentioned in a reply post to Maygoddess' post of some time ago...I was unfilled due to too much restriction after getting down to 167-175 lbs. I'm now about 213lbs. I can't stand it and I feel like a weird stranger. I've had 3 barium swallows and it appears my oesophagus is healing. The next bariumn is scheduled for this Friday and I CAN'T WAIT!! I want my clear head back and my wardrobe :)

Anyway...as there has been talk in my GP's office of a band to sleeve conversion...I've been doing research on that too, lest I need to do that...and I also have the same questions....primarily...will it be as effective. My GO and my research say band to sleeve conversions are not as effective as (what they call) "virgin sleeves". But who cares...we have far less to lose and we all seem pretty health conscious. So let's get on with this ladies! Let's do it! We know what to do.

Maygoddess...we want you in those leathers ASAP!!! ;) How serendipitous that I came across your post right when I was feeling like my story was the only one out there. AND to now read you had the conversion to the sleeve and are feeling great for Day 1. A good start. Let's take it day by day.

Keep us posted...and I will do the same on Friday.

Elle x

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I am SO glad to hear you are out the other side, @maygoddess- very exciting.

We have fairly similar stats weight wise - and I reckon you might be amazed at how effective and easy the surgical option is. Now I know I had RNY not sleeve, but my doctor said “don’t believe the nonsense about not losing as much as first time around. The RNY and sleeve are such better surgeries, you will lose more than with the band”. 3.5 months in, and I am currently just 4lbs above my lowest band weight - and I lost 3 lbs last week, so I KNOW I am going below band weight! And for me it has been pretty much effortless - I just want different stuff, don’t get hungry, get bored by eating before I finish my plate!

@VI_VSG2018you had your band about the same time as me - did your port leak or your band? The middle of the back of the port came away in mine, and I am part of some world wide medical malpractice class action suit against the company that made them apparently (not that I expect ever to hear about it again). I wonder if it was the same failure? Every one of those ports put in in New Zealand has failed now.

Honestly, my post-band (and nearly post-band) friends, for me the gastric surgery has just been SO much easier than the band. No regurgitation, no reflux. My food tastes have shifted, I am loving salads and exploring ways to get yummy Protein.

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