Lap Band 2/2003. One fill on 5/22/03. It was an aggressive fill, I told my doc I had absolutely NO restriction. He agreed, said my opening was very large, so he gave me a large fill. Restriction was wonderful, I was never hungry.
At times, I did have bad reflux, but it wasnt constant. I dealt with it by not eating too late, and taking aciphex. I did have some PBing and sliming, but I was willing to live with that every so often to be thin!
Lost almost 80 lbs over a year. Looked great!
When I got the band (2003) they said erosion was less that 1% of lap band people. So, that was PRETTY low! Now, I am hearing the numbers are higher, like 3-5%, however, at the same time, I think they are learning from us, perhaps so that it will go down again...updating procedures, stitching, fills, etc. I was told that the band would be permanent, too, that I could very well have it the rest of my life....I was very happy to hear that! I am sure it is true, in most lap banders today. I dont think erosion is easy, in most ways, I think it is kindof a crap shoot, most are lucky, some are not. They told me it could have eroded for many reasons, one stitch could have been in the wrong spot, it could have slipped a bit and gotten itself into a spot that was maybe weaker, more prone to erosion, maybe my fill was too much, they dont know. I even had fluoro check ups, (especially when the restriction stopped and I had reflux) and they said you look fine, but no more fill. They could not see the erosion in 3 or 4 fluoros, that I know now that it was already eroded. It kind of just looked like a bit of my stomach was sort of drooping over the band, or that my pouch had gotten slightly bigger. the only way they saw it for sure was in the endoscopy (camera down my throat).
MY SYMPTOMS OF EROSION:
Gradually, I started having less and less restriction. At first I was in denial and ignored it. But then I gained more and more back. No pain, no other symptoms. Finally in Jan07 I decided I gotta see whats wrong, after gaining 1/2 the weight I lost back. I was very depressed. I found a new surgeons group closer to me than my original surgeon, that I switched to. (My original surgeon was almost 2 hrs away). Plus, 4 yrs later, they have much more experience than they had in 2003. I went through 3 fluoros, where they could not see anything, except that maybe my pouch was "drooping" slighlty over my band. And I mean, he did view after view after view. At this point, I was starting to not feel very well after I ate a larger meal, and was throwing up sometimes. Not just mucus, but food too. So, finally he scheduled me for an endoscopy, and then the week after I was going to go into surgery so he could go in and either fix it or replace it with a new one. THat plan was nixed when he did the endo and saw over half the band INSIDE my stomach. It was gross, he showed me a picture. YUCK. I was very lucky not to have had a deadly leak. They took me into emergency surgery an hour later to remove it and patch the huge hole it left in my stomach. I had to heal for over 6 months, and in my DS surgery, they had to do more patching.
I chose the DS because of its superior success rate after the "honeymoon" is over. At first I thought of doing the VSG, but never the RNY because I didnt want another pouch. I wasnt too fond of the RNY dumping stories, either. I thought the VSG would be good, because I did well with a "restriction-only" surgery, but then I worried about 5 yrs down the road when the stomach stretches out. I love food, and I am not always an angel, so I know there will be those moments when I stretch it a little. At that point, the mal-apsorption is supposed to kick in and you dont absorb as many calories, so it keeps your weight down. So far so good, except that I can really not eat much at ALL! And, sometimes, I have loose stools, with some discomfort, but I am only a month out, so I think this will resolve itself, especially when I can eat more solid protein.
I think, overall that the band is too mechanical. There are too many variables. The fill-unfill-fill-unfill thing is a nightmare, along with wondering if your insurance will pay for it, and if you change insurances, will THEY pay for it! So my surgeon's partner, Dr, Ing, was who found the erosion and took me into emergency surgery and saved my life. He is amazing cause he did it all laproscopically! It was kindof a nightmare, though...a lot of pain and depression losing the band.I had to heal the hole in my stomach for 6 months before considering a revision.Thats when all the weight came back.
10/9/07 Approved for DS!
10/29/07 Sugery scheduled.