Need Advice for Wife (long story but I'd appreciate it if you would read and comment)

on 3/20/18 9:21 am
VSG on 11/26/18

So I am a VSG candidate now, but I'm not the first in my family to have WLS surgery. My wife had a LAP BAND procedure in 2008. And yes she did initially lose a decent amount of weight but not as much as she wanted (my wife asked me not to use specific numbers in this post). In the 1st year, she struggled with keeping food down, as many do. But it was worse than normal. The nausea and choking was very bad. Now she admits she didn't follow the post-surgery diet like she should have. She does blame herself for some of her pain. This is why she is encouraging me to get VSG, because she believes, based on my personality, that I will follow the post-surgery diet exactly and will stick to the nutritional changes.

Her WLS surgeon was not very supportive when she would visit him. He keep wanting to put more fluid in the band, even though it made her even more miserable. Eventually he gave up and within 2 years he had all the fluid removed form her band. She also eventually stopped going to him because of the way he treated her. During this time she was trying to eat gluten free, due to being misdiagnosed with Celiac Disease. She learned to live life with the constant choking and uncontrollable nausea and eventually returned to her normal eating habits (non-gluten free, junk food, etc.). While she didn't gain a lot of weight back she also didn't lose any more. Her blood tests showed she also struggled with low nutrient levels, resulting in her being weak and constantly tired. So basically she had the initial weight loss from the 1st year and she just plateaued for several years, still not being able to keep any or much food down. She had convinced herself that it was just normal for having the band.

In 2016, it was determined that she didn't have Celiac's Disease. Instead she had Sjorgens Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that often results in dry eyes, dry mouth, and dry throat. The rheumatoid doctors believed it was contributing to her problems with nausea because her throat was too dry. She was put on medication to address the Sjorgens and the dryness. Since then she has felt much better. She has better nutrient retention and more energy. She can eat more normally, although she still gets choked up at times if she eats too fast. And since the fall of 2016, she has lost a ton of weight, especially in 2017. It's like the band is working now like it should have worked 10 years ago, even though it doesn't have any fluid in it.

Despite the weight loss, she still has concerns about band slippage and tissue scarring and wants to have the band removed, but she is scared that band removal will result in her regaining the weight. A lot of family are friends are concerned about her rapid weight loss, so many years after the lap band was inserted. She has had a lot of tests run to see if there is another reason for her weight loss, but everything has come back normal (aside from the Sjorgens). Personally I also am still nervous there is something else contributing to her rapid weight loss.

I made her promise to me that if I went to the VSG consult in February, that she would also schedule an appointment with my bariatric group (different doctors than she had in 2008) to discuss her LAP-BAND and options for removal and possibly revision. She hasn't done this yet but insists that she will. The good thing is that since she accompanied me on my initial consult, she was about to share her story, and she feels much more comfortable talking to my surgeon than the surgeon who did her surgery. I just need to stay on her about actually making scheduling the consult.

I'm sorry for the long story but I wanted to share the full history of her WL journey. I was wondering if anyone else has a similar story or if anyone has any advice for what she should do regarding the LAP-Band?

on 3/23/18 2:54 pm
Revision on 03/09/08

I just had my lap band taken out 2 weeks and have the sleeve. ( oh I had it for 10 years and this past summer it dropped, and was told if I don't get it out it will start shutting down my organs. I was starting to turn gray ect could go on. )

I feel like 15 years younger after this. I am in Canada across from Detroit. I researched so many doctors yeh even Mexico and picked Dr. Mark Pleatman in Michigan yeh I had to pay out of my pocket. In my orientation nutrition ect I had people from Chicago, Indiana, Ohio and Las Vegas. This doctor does 4-6 a week of sleeves, he also teaches doctors on this procedure. This Doctor is so so good and tells you like it is.

Doctors are still putting those Bands in for the money who cares about the patient. Also now they say the bypass is bad too cancer the pills don't absorb in the stomach what stomach, and colon cancer. The problems I had with my body are gone because the band is gone, I can breath, no pain. If you want your wife around see this guy **** he is was my shinning star.

Research Dr. Mark Pleatman

Believe me he will help you whats a phone call and free consultation

best of luck Mike

Ashley in Belgium
on 3/26/18 12:09 am - Belgium
RNY on 08/08/13

I am very sorry for your wife's difficulties. It sounds horrendous. I lived with the Lap Band for 6 years and know all about the choking, difficulty eating the "right "kinds of food etc. as they get blocked. The nausea and vomiting. UGH. My Band was empty for 5 of those 6 years and I was miserable.

I had a revision to RNY almost 5 years ago and it has been a revelation for me in terms of eating, weight loss and success.

I don't know if your wife should have another WL surgery. But I can not say strongly enough that no one should live with the Band when it is causing those kinds of problems - and most folks who have had a Band have had some kind of issue it seems. It sounds like she should meet with your surgeon, have an endoscopy done to see if she has a hiatal hernia or acid reflux (which can be silent and cause severe nausea) and perhaps a barium swallow test to see how the Band restricts flow into the intestine. Then she can make informed choices about what she wants to do and how that should be done.

Best of luck to you both.

Revision Band to RNY 8/8/13 5'4" HW 252 Lbs / SW 236 Lb / GW 135 lb / CW 127

on 3/26/18 7:22 am

I have had the band for 11 years now, I have had my set of issues (slip, port flip, unclip) but overall I have been able to keep the initial weight off. I will say I have heard of autoimmune disorders popping up in people who have and implants. I have heard stories from the band and breast implants. In my opinion after years on this board and other research I truly feel that some peoples' bodies reject implants and these types of issues happen. I am not a doctor but there has been some real serious permanent medical issues people have suffered.

I think some of it is from diet, and doctors not explaining how the band works correctly and how your body can be damaged if you dont follow the diet.

I guess the hardest part is how finicky my band can be, our stomachs as a muscle will tighten like all other muscles in our bodies which change the restriction of the band. Add in scar tissue build up and you can have issues. I have spend a lot of time being super mindful of the weather, time of day, my anxiety levels and how and what I eat to find this weird balance. I also have a hiatal hernia which happens cause I over eat at times, the food cannot go down my band and I stuff my pouch and it causes a hernia which causes reflux etc...

Good luck to you and your wife. If you have any questions please reach out.


on 3/30/18 1:40 pm
RNY on 07/11/17

HI and hope I can help.

I was diagnosed with Sjogrens in 2013. I had a band for 5 years 2003 to 2008 , then the sleeve and now the RNY. My band prolapsed and then I was sleeved in 2008. Because of the undiagnosed Sjogrens, I threw up a lot from acid reflux, the dryness and esophageal issues including a hiatal hernia. The sleeve was not a good option but it helped me lose weight.

After consulting with bariatric surgeons and taking 3 PPI per day for reflux, I was told the only way to get rid of the reflux was to get the RNY. So far so good. No medications except occasional RANITIDINE.

Your wife is right. She should be worried about band slippage and scarring. She could easily develop Barretts esophagus from constant esophagus issues. She is DRY. Sjogrens is a very insidious disease and over time it gets worse. It affects the whole gastro tract. Also she is a very high risk of non Hodgkins lymphoma. That will cause weight loss as well. Sjogrens syndrome can be primary or secondary to another autoimmune disease. She could have Hashimotos, lupus, or one of 70 other automimmune disorders along with Sjogrens. In my case, I have an overlap disorder which is more lupus like. Since I have antibodies for both, I am carefully monitored by a rheumatologist, hematologist, gastroenterologist and my PCP.

If she has restriction and no saline, she might have a slipped band. I would be more concerned with the weight loss she has experienced with an empty band . She should not have a VSG. It is VERY common to have reflux with the sleeve. It puts LES pressure on the esophageal sphincter and can cause horrible horrible reflux for someone with a problem like Sjogrens.

That leaves band or RNY, DS or nothing at all. Yes, she is likely to gain weight with the band out.

Sorry to be so dark but this has been my experience.

Babs in GA

HW 348 Revision SW 224 GW 165 CW 148

Revision from sleeve to RNY

Pre op: -5 M1-12 lbs M2 11 lb M3-5lb M4 -9lb M5 -2 M6-6 M7-7 M8 -4 M9-5 M10 -2 M11 -2

200 lbs lost and 17 pounds below goal !

on 4/16/18 12:20 pm
Revision on 10/04/16

her issues are likely caused by the band and they are vastly more common than not (there is a reason bands now make up less than 3% of bariatric surgeries). I ended up revising to bypass and wish i'd just done that to begin with.

Band-RNY revision age 50 5'4" HW 260 SW: 244 (bf healthy range 23-35%) bf 23.7% (at 137lbs) cw range 135-138.lbl with butt lift and mastoplexy March 23, 2018...2.5lbs removed.

Pre-op-16lbs (size 18/20...244) M1-16lbs (size 18...228) M2-15.6lbs (size 16/18...212.4) M3-10lbs (size 16..202.4) M4-11.4lbs (size 14...191) M5-10.8lbs (size 12...180.2) M6-8.4 (size 8/10...171.8) M7-6.4 (size 8...165.4 lbs) M8-11.6 (size 6...153.8) M9-5.6 (size 4/6...148.2) M10-5.8 (size 4....142.4) M11-4 (size 2/4...138.4) Surgiversary -1 (size 2/4...137.4) M13-2.6 (size 2/4...134.8) M14 (size 2/4...134.8) M15 (size 2...135) M16 (size 2...131.4) M17 (size 2...135) M18 (size 2...135) M19 (size 2...138) M20 (size 2...135) M21 (size 2...138)

on 4/16/18 12:39 pm
VSG on 11/26/18

I hope she is able to get a revision. She wants the band removed, but fearful of the weight coming back. She is going to see my potential surgeon (not her original lap-band surgeon) for his opinion. They both work for the same medical group, but her surgeon worked at his own regional office and really does his own thing, whi*****ludes still offering lap-band procedures and treating his patients like crap if they have complications. The surgeons out of the main weight loss clinic are much more professional and totally against the band procedure.

on 4/16/18 12:42 pm
Revision on 10/04/16

it is appalling that surgeons like that get to keep their licences.

Band-RNY revision age 50 5'4" HW 260 SW: 244 (bf healthy range 23-35%) bf 23.7% (at 137lbs) cw range 135-138.lbl with butt lift and mastoplexy March 23, 2018...2.5lbs removed.

Pre-op-16lbs (size 18/20...244) M1-16lbs (size 18...228) M2-15.6lbs (size 16/18...212.4) M3-10lbs (size 16..202.4) M4-11.4lbs (size 14...191) M5-10.8lbs (size 12...180.2) M6-8.4 (size 8/10...171.8) M7-6.4 (size 8...165.4 lbs) M8-11.6 (size 6...153.8) M9-5.6 (size 4/6...148.2) M10-5.8 (size 4....142.4) M11-4 (size 2/4...138.4) Surgiversary -1 (size 2/4...137.4) M13-2.6 (size 2/4...134.8) M14 (size 2/4...134.8) M15 (size 2...135) M16 (size 2...131.4) M17 (size 2...135) M18 (size 2...135) M19 (size 2...138) M20 (size 2...135) M21 (size 2...138)

on 5/21/18 11:23 am
VSG on 11/26/18

So I have an update on my wife's case. My wife finally agreed to see my future surgeon to talk about her lap-band issues and went in on Friday. The office staff kept trying to treat her like a new WLS candidate, but we had to convince them she wasn't a candidate, but she was just seeking a 2nd opinion on what to do about her lap band that she has had since 2008. The P.A. my wife saw before she spoke with the surgeon of course had to ask a lot of personal questions about what she did post-lap-band implant and her eating habits and exercise since. My wife got very upset because she felt the P.A. was trying to blame my wife for her problems. My wife explained that although she had lost over 100 lbs she was still miserable and unable to keep food down. While she was happy with the results, she was still miserable and was worried about keeping the band in. The P.A. kept telling her that her only option was to remove the band or keep it, as she would no longer qualify for VSG or RYN. When she left the room, my wife burst into tears and wanted to leave. I asked her to wait on the surgeon and she did.

When the surgeon came in he was much more sympathetic to my wife's issues. He asked her about what her previous surgeon had done and what he told had told her. Keep in mind it has been 4 years since she saw her previous surgeon and had "all fluid removed from the band". My wife was convinced that her band had been empty of all fluid for 4 years, but sure some reason the surgeon wasn't convinced. He told my wife that if she was okay with it, that he would have the P.A. insert the needle into her port and see if she could draw out any remaining fluid from the band. My wife happily agreed to the instant procedure. I could tell the P.A. thought it was a waste of time as she inserted the needle into the port, but the look on her face was priceless and she drawled up over 1 cc of fluid from the band!! With her band that is over 25%. The doctor was in shock and my wife was furious with her original surgeon. I hope she never sees him in public as she may kill him if she does. The surgeon told my wife to wait a few weeks and see if the removal of the additional fluid would help and then come back to see him. Within hours she felt better and so far it seems to have made her much more comfortable. We will see in the next few weeks, but this was a huge step into figuring out the cause of her issues.

Mary F.
on 5/21/18 7:02 pm - East Windsor, NJ

I haven't read the other replies yet, but what I want to tell you is that there seems to be a lifespan for the band of around 10 years. That's when many of us started having some serious issues and side effects. I unknowingly had a very badly slipped band (found out during an xray for another issue), left shoulder pain and severe headaches and severe GERD. I honestly had a love-hate relationship with my band and had to have it removed reluctantly or my stomach was going to die according to my doctor and another doctor I consulted with. I would have loved to switch to VSG and I am still fighting the insurance about it because I was such a successful band recipient.
If I was her and you, I would definitely consult with the bariatric group. Many insurances won't pay for removal of a band unless it is an emergency. However, she may qualify for revision surgery if she is still at a high BMI.
From what I understand, most bariatric surgeons are steering clear from doing lap band nowadays.