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Complete lap band failure



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I've had my lap band since 2015, and I HATE it. It does what it should do, stops food from going into my stomach. But I get stuck a lot and it hurts, I end up vomiting it up, and anything unhealthy slips right through the band without a problem. I can eat gobs of cake, Cookies, chocolates, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, casseroles, the works but it is painful to eat fruits, lean Proteins, vegetables, etc. due to them getting stuck. It's like it's doing the opposite of what I want. When the food stays in the pouch, all I need to do is burp a couple times and boom, pouch is emptied. In short, It. Just. Does. Not. Work.

I want a revision but I'm not sure what to do. I need to talk to a doctor, I realize, but I'm nervous. I thought the lap band would be the ticket out of fatness but it's absolutely not. I'm scared if I try something else, that won't work either. I love to eat and I can't stop. I've tried all kinds of diets. It just sucks, my appetite is insatiable and I need to do something about it. I'd love to hear from people who have had revisions and share what's different about their new procedure (whether sleeve or bypass). Sleeve makes me nervous because I've heard a lot about GERD. My spouse's grandfather died of esophageal cancer, due to years of GERD. But bypass makes me nervous because it seems like such a severe surgery... and I don't want to look like a skeleton in a bag of skin 😕 Any shared experiences would be appreciated!

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I don't know...it sounds like your band is doing what it's supposed to do. It is supposed to limit the amount of food you can eat by slowing its movement into your stomach. Think of it as a sort of hour-glass where the sand (food) is held at the top and trickles down into the larger portion of the stomach to be digested.

The kinds of foods you're describing that you can eat "gobs of" are considered "slider foods" that slide right through. Visualize the hour-glass again. If you pour liquid foods or semi-liquid foods, they slide through the opening. I would think you've had similar experiences with smooth Soups, ice creams, puddings, etc.

The key is you're not supposed to be eating those items and if you do, you should be limiting yourself in quantity and frequency.

When you're foods are getting stuck and causing you pain, have you chewed them to a pulp? I saw an article today that we should be chewing to applesauce consistency. I don't know if I could do THAT, but you should be chewing so there are no "chunks" trying to get down. Again...visualize the hour-glass. Chunky food clots up the works.

The band isn't supposed to prevent you from eating things you shouldn't. It's a tool to help you feel fuller, longer and therefore eat less. It's still up to you to eat the right things and eat mindfully, meaning chew well and take breaks. All other WLS have the same issues with slider foods.

My advice: before you consider a revision, start tracking everything you eat. Be honest with the types and quantities of food. Call your doctor and or nutritionist. It sounds to me like you need to get back on track, following the rules. No WLS is the magic ticket out of fat-ville. They're all just tools.

Best of luck!

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The problem is, I don't feel "full" I just feel like I can't eat anymore. Does that make sense? Like I want more, and I wish I could eat more, but the band stops me from eating. That would actually be fabulous, if the feeling stayed for more than 10 minutes... however, a good hearty burp clears it out straight away and then I'm able to eat more. The result is I take a bit longer to eat a regular meal but I can eat as much as I want. Having the top portion of my stomach full is great but the bottom portion definitely calls out to be filled up too. The result is, once I burp and the small pouch empties, I want more. If the duration between the full-feeling stayed much longer I think the band would work just fine for me.

Did that happen to you when you had your band? Would you mind sharing the difference you feel between the sleeve and the band, if anything? If it's an identical experience I don't want to stress my body from another surgery... but I do want something that works.

I didn't expect the band to do all the work for me, but it never worked to begin with even when I followed the rules (because of the pouch emptying so fast). I talked to my doctor about that so he added a small amount of Fluid to the band but when I went to take a drink of Water I was completely stopped up, so he had to take it back out right away. He said I was at the max tightness for my tolerance. It's so strange.

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1 minute ago, lbugher said:

I want more, and I wish I could eat more, but the band stops me from eating.

Honey, this is exactly what the band is SUPPOSED to do. You WANT to eat, but the band stops you. The "wishing you could eat more" is a whole other subject.

2 minutes ago, lbugher said:

Having the top portion of my stomach full is great but the bottom portion definitely calls out to be filled up too

The area of the stomach that is responsible for satiety is in the top portion of your stomach. The bottom portion isn't calling out to you. This is your head thinking you didn't eat enough, aka "head hunger."

When I was banded, I could eat small amounts (usually about 1/2-1cup) of food. The amount of time before I felt hungry again depended on what I ate. If I ate a cookie or cupcake, I was hungry again in about 15 minutes. If I ate solid meat and vegetables, I wasn't hungry for hours. With the lapband, if I ate too quickly or didn't chew my food well enough, it felt like razors trying to pass through that stoma. It hurt so bad and I didn't want to have to experience THAT again, so I'd go back to my chewing/eating slowly/etc. Then I'd forget and the RAZORS would quickly remind me. I never had the "burp" and I'm cleared thing other than once when I had something stuck in the stoma (I hadn't chewed a piece of meat well enough). When my gallbladder went crazy, I had a lot of violent vomiting and my band slipped. I didn't have it out because it failed me. I had it out because it slipped and was giving me reflux for years before the doctors found the slip.

With the sleeve, it is much the same. I eat small amounts, about the same as the band. The amount of time before I feel hungry again is exactly the same as the band. If I eat junk food or high-carb food, it doesn't satisfy me and I'm hungry again very quickly. If I eat a meal with substance, I could go 3 or 4 hours without being hungry. EX: for lunch today I had a small salad and some Tomato Soup. I ate it about an hour ago and I'm still as full right now as I was when I stopped eating. This will probably last me at least another hour or 2. I still have the razor feeling if I eat too fast or don't chew well enough. I get a "hard stop" if I've reached my max capacity, which I try not to do. It's painful and I can get thick saliva that foams.

In comparison between band and sleeve, I'd say they were very similar. I have a firmer "hard stop" with the sleeve, but that's OK. Otherwise, the satiety and consequences of not chewing well enough are the same.

I'm still of the opinion your problem may be related to what and how you're eating. I wasn't able to tolerate fills at all in my band, so I never got the full benefits of having the adjustable restriction, but I never felt like I was starving. Go back to the basics of your bariatric diet. Chew well and eat s-l-o-w. Log everything you eat, so you know how many calories you're getting. If necessary, contact a nutritionist for a diet plan. If you're still struggling after all that, maybe a counselor?

disclaimer: My comments are not intended as medical advice. When in doubt, always contact your doctor.

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I had a revision to RNY and it’s like the difference between day and night. No more getting stuck, no more chest pain and I can eat a lot healthier. Steak, chops, chicken, salad etc.

I still have to be careful of sliders and grazing but those are issues that we have to take individual responsibility for , they are not something any WLS will sort out.

Bands have fallen out of favour as they cause too many issues and also trying to find the correct balance between reducing hunger yet still being able to eat healthy foods is too hard.

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, lbugher said:

But bypass makes me nervous because it seems like such a severe surgery.😕

I thought this myself 11 years ago when I got a lap band. But the last two years of living with it has been hell, so I said enough, consulted a surgeon who found out it had slipped and caused a hiatal hernia. I elected for the bypass because before I was banded I had severe reflux, and didn't want to go down that road again.

As far as your fear about it being a more "severe" surgery than the sleeve--the bypass is less severe than the sleeve! In the sleeve 70% of your stomach is removed and it's non-reversible, but in the bypass everything is still there (just rerouted) so it is in theory reversible.

I wish I had chosen the bypass all those years ago so I wouldn't have had to gone through all this again!

Edited by JRT Mom

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1 hour ago, S@ssen@ch said:

Honey, this is exactly what the band is SUPPOSED to do. You WANT to eat, but the band stops you. The "wishing you could eat more" is a whole other subject. 

Indeed! I said right afterwards " That would actually be fabulous, if the feeling stayed for more than 10 minutes... however, a good hearty burp clears it out straight away and then I'm able to eat more."

It sounds to me like the band actually worked for you, which is great. For whatever reason I was able to clear my band out frequently even after eating healthy foods. I'd sit and have a scrambled egg, some cantaloupe, and 1 slice of toast for Breakfast and it would be perfectly satisfying, until the dreaded belch and I would literally feel the food slide through the band to my stomach. The hunger would return within a half hour. It was so frustrating. I reverted to slider foods because I just gave up. I lost 40 pounds with the band and kept it off until I had twins but I'm nearly 300 pounds and need a much more significant loss than that.

Thank you for your comments too, @elcee. I'm leaning more towards RNY. That's what my doctor recommended when I saw him last, during my pregnancy. They had to take all the Fluid out of my band but I haven't been back since. I got discouraged because if the band doesn't work, will anything? I fully understand that WLS is a tool, but a tool should actually HELP, shouldn't it? With the band, I felt exactly the same way as I would if I was on Weight Watchers. Shaky, dizzy, and hungry. There's no point in having WLS if it doesn't help curb that awful feeling.

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@JRT Mom Don't they remove some of the intestine though? And isn't recovery much harder? My primary motivation is getting healthy for my kids - but I don't want to die on the operating table or have some severe complications and leave them with just one parent :( I chose the band because it seemed so safe. But man, it sure sucks, and it doesn't help me. Do you like the bypass? Does it make you feel better?

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No, they don't remove anything. They DO rearrange some stuff, but it's all still there. Statistics show the bypass, as long as it's done laparoscopically, is no more risky than the sleeve. Recovery times are similar, although some people stay two nights in the hospital, like I did (I live 4 hours from my surgeon so asked for the extra night in case there was a problem).

The fullness affect are as different as night and day! With the lap band I was either not full or almost sick on my stomach. With the bypass I eat one half cup of food, and am pleasantly full without that sick feeling like I always had with my lap band. The feeling lasts for HOURS before I am hungry again, and it's never the raging hunger that I had with my band.

What ever you decide good luck, and remember we are here for you!

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I had the lap band and experienced pretty much the same with healthy foods. So what I would do was always drink hot coffee or hot tea before hand and I’d be able to enjoy my dinner chicken was the only food that seemed to get stuck regardless of how much hot liquids I drank before hand.
Eventually, I had the band removed because I was tired of explaining the hard object by my belly and telling my then boyfriend I had a hernia. My only regret is the acid reflux, take the medication the dr prescribed as directed. It feels like someone is lighting a match in my chest.


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Sorry, had the sleeve afterwards

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I’m so sorry ur experiencing this with the LB n it’s unfortunately cuz u’ll continue with all those symptoms until u make the right choice in removing it n instead settling for a revision.

I can fully relate to ur experience/symptoms cuz I too had the LB for 11 yrs n all my symptoms started a few months after getting it. So, I just put up with all the symptoms n tolerated the band cuz it was a nice little tool that DID the JOB in helping me loose weight by not OVER EAT or able to eat anything at all. I was 210 lbs when I got it. I went down to 135/40 lbs n loving/liking the way I LOOKED even though the symptoms SUCKED. I became ANEMIC n at one time got an AWFUL BACTERIAL infection that I DON’T wish on anyone.
Believe me it was a SACRIFICE having the band. But unfortunately n cuz I had no other choice; in 2018 I had the band removed due to LOTS of problems with the port after getting a Tummy Tuck n too was tired of all the TERRIBLE/AWFUL symptoms that came with it. If I would’ve FULLY RESEARCHED n known of all the LB symptoms; I would’ve instead OPTED for a bypass.

Unfortunately I did gain ALL my weight back but that was only due to lots of medical issues once I entered MENOPAUSE n being put on medication. So now, due to all my weight gain I REFUSE to let myself go n NOT EXHAUST all options for OVERALL BETTER HEALTH. Therefore, I’m currently being monitored by a nutritionist n dietician along with my bariatric doctor for a possible GASTRIC BYPASS that was recommended by my doctor.
Hope my sharing helped n u make the right choice for ur OVERALL HEALTH. May God illuminate/bless you in DOING THE RIGHT THING.🙏🏽

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Obviously it's not going to work if you're eating all that junk

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Thank you, everyone. My biggest fear about revision is that another procedure will not work. I guess my expectation from the lap band was that it would help me feel fuller, longer, but it didn't. For most of you it sounds like the lap band did the trick and worked even if it was uncomfortable. At best it helped slow me down and I probably ate a bit less than I needed to. But I went from 300 pounds to 270 at my lowest weight so that doesn't seem like a big win to me... I dunno, I guess I'm just afraid I'll do the bypass and find that I don't feel any different than I did before. That's a huge surgery to undertake for a poor outcome :( I hope someone who had a lap band failure similar to mine is out there and will chime in! But everyone's responses have been helpful so thank you again.

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Thank you, everyone. My biggest fear about revision is that another procedure will not work. I guess my expectation from the lap band was that it would help me feel fuller, longer, but it didn't. For most of you it sounds like the lap band did the trick and worked even if it was uncomfortable. At best it helped slow me down and I probably ate a bit less than I needed to. But I went from 300 pounds to 270 at my lowest weight so that doesn't seem like a big win to me... I dunno, I guess I'm just afraid I'll do the bypass and find that I don't feel any different than I did before. That's a huge surgery to undertake for a poor outcome [emoji20] I hope someone who had a lap band failure similar to mine is out there and will chime in! But everyone's responses have been helpful so thank you again.

I believe the issue here is the fact that your band is not filled. You have got to get the follow up care in order for it to work. You stated that you had twins and your saline was taken out. Why didn't you have it put back in after six weeks or so from giving birth? After care is the most important part of any wls, especially the band. I had restriction only because I did eat what I was supposed to and when I lost weight and felt I could eat more, I made me an appointment and had myself checked. Sure enough I would need a fill to take up the space from losing weight. Unfortunately 8 1/2 years later, I began having problems with it. It slipped, I lost restriction, gained almost all of the weight I lost, and now I'm sleeved. I don't get stuck anymore thank God. I still have restriction after I eat. What has changed for me is my taste buds. I can't eat or drink anything with a lot of sugar and I AM SOOOO HAPPY [emoji846]. Sugar was my addiction/problem and since I've been sleeved for almost two months now, I don't have that problem anymore. My suggestion is to get a fill so that you can get back on track. If you're mind is absolutely made up on having revision surgery, then good luck to you and best wishes.

Sent from my SM-G965U using BariatricPal mobile app

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