Medical professionals continuously warn of the health risks associated with obesity, leaving millions in the US searching for a way to lose weight. Throughout the year’s manufacturers have proposed solutions through an array of supplements, drugs, and procedures that assure rapid weight loss and a healthier body. Hence, the creation of the Lap Band. Its manufacturer guarantees that surgery recipients will lose weight quickly after the insertion of an adjustable band placed around the stomach. The band is tightened during surgery, reducing the size of the stomach and causing patients to eat less than they usually do. But researchers say entrusting risky operations like the one the Lap-Band requires (also known as a laparoscopic gastric banding), inevitably poses risks and complications. The rising popularity of this medical device and its potential side effects create an opportunity for more people to become injured.
Various medical centers nationwide that implant the lap band have been under fire for how they advertise and market the surgery. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed that many medical facilities have capitalized on the growing popularity of the procedure by informing patients of the benefits of this device while subsequently omitting the risks, complications and side effects that frequently arise post-implantation. The FDA demands that all marketing advertisements for medical devices – whether they be billboards, commercials, radio appearances etc. – always provide a complete list of potential risks and complications in each ad.
Before undergoing surgery for the Lap-Band, it’s required of physicians to thoroughly explain all of the risks a patient faces. If you believe that your injury stems from a lap band implantation procedure, a seasoned attorney may be able to help you receive a legal remedy for the pain you’ve suffered.
Surgeons insert the lap band by utilizing the “laparoscopic technique.” It consists of creating multiple small incisions in the stomach that generally don’t exceed one inch. The surgeon then implants the adjustable silicon band along with a camera and other surgical utensils through the incisions, forming a ring. In order to make the band adjustable, a thin tube attached to the ring will be left under the skin. Within this tube is a solution called saline – a mixture of salt and water – that functions solely to enlarge or compress the band. By increasing or decreasing the amount of saline distributed, the band will shrink or loosen up. Usually, to increase the likelihood of losing a significant amount of weight, the band is tightened. Since the stomach expands when people eat large quantities of food on a regular basis, the capacity in which people feel full begins to increase. So, a tighter lap band will make the stomach smaller, which allows patients to feel full more quickly. If a patient doesn’t ignore the sensation of feeling full, they’ll, in turn, eat less.
This surgery is conducted with the use of general anesthesia and ordinarily, takes one to two hours to perform. Patients often spend one night in the hospital after the surgery in case complications arise. For the band to be adjusted, patients are ordered to wait until they have fully recovered from the operation, which usually takes a month or two.
Recent studies reveal that that likelihood of a patient experiencing complications due to the implantation of Lap-Bands has spiked to 50%. Half of the patients who have undergone surgery for a gastric band were rushed to the hospital for a second operation to get it removed. Surgeons have discovered that a second operation is much more difficult and poses a high risk for even more complications. Even though the Lap-Band company deems its insertion as the least invasive gastric bypass operation (in comparison to those that cut open the stomach and staple it back together), it’s also received scrutiny for not providing patients with the benefits it assures.
A common concern garnered from 15-40% of patients who have experienced complications are issues with the band. A couple of these issues are:
Over time, the band has had a tendency to continually grind against the stomach and esophagus. This results in the erosion of either the wall of the stomach or the band. When this occurs, the band loses its ability to compress the stomach, leaving the stomach unrestricted. Those who wish to implant a new band will have to undergo surgery once again.
This complication transpires when the band slips out of its intended location and lapses under the stomach. This causes the stomach pouch above the band to become extremely enlarged. Patients affected by slippage realize something is wrong when they constantly felt the need to vomit and experienced vast weight gain.
Flaws in the plastic band can cause food contents to leak out of the patient’s stomach. Usually, patients notice this issue when the amount of food they are capable of eating without feeling full increases over time. Diagnosing a leak requires multiple tests and X-rays from doctors.
Other common complications include:
- Blood clots
- Gastric leak
- Esophageal dilation
- Pouch dilation
- Port problems (such as infections, leaking, flipping, migration or dislodgement)
- Food trapping
- Acid reflux
- Hiatal hernia
- Bowel and stomach perforations
Experienced Lap-Band Lawyers
The process of litigation a patient must go through for compensation can be incredibly complex. Lawyers at the Dysart Law Firm are willing to advocate for you during this tumultuous time in your life. We have information on what a viable, solid Lap-Band claim looks like and how this claim can win you the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one has undergone a Lap-Band surgery and believe it is the cause of your injury, contact the Dysart Law Firm today.