The Disadvantages of a Gastric Band

Written by j.e. cornett
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The Disadvantages of a Gastric Band
Taking vitamins and supplements is often necessary after gastric band procedures. (vitamins image by JJAVA from

Gastric band procedures are one of the recommended ways to cut the health risks associated with obesity. This procedure is considered generally safe and well tolerated. The University of California at San Diego's Center for the Treatment of Obesity reports that because the gastric band involves "no cutting, stapling or bypassing, most of the side effects...usually associated with obesity surgery are avoided." However, a few disadvantages are associated with gastric banding.

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A common disadvantage of gastric band procedures is the development of anaemia. The National Anemia Action Council (NAAC) reports that bariatric patients may acquire new or develop worsening pre-existing iron deficiencies. Patients may become anaemic in the months and years following the gastric band procedure. The NAAC recommends that following bariatric surgery, patients should be monitored for anaemia and take multivitamins that include 100 per cent of the daily value of vitamin B12, 400 μg of folic acid and 18 mg of iron. Those who suffer anaemia before or after surgery should also take an additional iron supplement.

Nutritional Deficiencies

While it is not unheard of for morbidly obese people to suffer from nutritional deficiencies, sometimes gastric band procedures exacerbate the problem. The gastric band reduces the amount of food the stomach can digest and, therefore, restricts the amount of calories absorbed. Unfortunately, this sometimes means that gastric band patients develop nutritional deficiencies after surgery or that existing deficiencies worsen.

"A healthy and balanced diet is important to reduce your chances of acquiring a nutritional deficiency," states the NAAC article, "Avoiding Anemia and Nutritional Deficiencies Following Bariatric Surgery." The article advises that "taking nutritional supplements like multivitamins and oral iron can help ensure you receive enough nutrients through your diet. Because your stomach will be smaller, you may not be able to receive enough of the nutrients you need just from food."

Band Complications

While complications resulting from the gastric band itself are rare, the University of California at San Diego's Medical Center reports that "the most significant problem associated with gastric banding has been alteration in the size of the stomach pouch, which is isolated above the band." Alteration of the size of the stomach pouch can result in unsatisfactory weight loss or weight regain.

Other complications that can result from the band include acid reflux, vomiting, erosion of band into stomach, dehydration, stomach outlet blockage, gas and bloating, constipation, nausea and gastritis.

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