Gastric Band Surgery

What is gastric band surgery?
Gastric band surgery is an increasingly more popular procedure to help deal with the problem of obesity.  It is usually only recommended where the individual has tried alternative weight loss methods for morbidly obese people with a Body Mass Index of over 40.

What is the procedure involved in undergoing gastric band surgery?
An inflatable band is placed around the upper part of the stomach to create a smaller upper stomach pouch.  As a result, the amount of food that can be consumed is restricted and increases the amount of time for the stomach to empty.  As the upper part of the stomach fills, the brain thinks that the stomach is full and this helps the person feel less hungry.

Gastric band surgery is the least invasive of its kind as it is performed using laparascopic (or keyhole) surgery.  A small incision has to be made near the belly button and then a small laparascopc camera is inserted into the incision.  Other incisions may be made around the abdominal area so that other pencil like arms with tools attached can be inserted to assist the surgeon.  The surgeon has to create a tunnel around the back of the stomach and then the gastric band is fitted around the stomach.

Gastric bands can be adjustable, and saline solution can be used to inflate the band to varying pressures, thereby affecting the amount of food which can be consumed.  The saline is inserted via an access port which is placed under the skin.

What are the risks of the surgery?
Complications that can affect anyone who has surgery include an adverse reaction to the anaesthetic, excessive bleeding and risk of infection.  There are also a number of complications that are specifically associated with any cosmetic ear surgery.  These are all recognised risks, but sometimes poor management of these complications can give grounds for a claim for compensation.

Risks specific to gastric band surgery can include:

  • The band slips causing the upper part of the stomach to become larger, in severe cases this can require an urgent operation if there are any obstructions
  • Saline can leak out of the band
  • Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach tissue)
  • Erosion – where the band may slowly migrate through the stomach wall

If you have sustained excessive physical or emotional problems after the procedure, you may have a claim for compensation if your surgeon has not taken sufficient care and skill during the surgery or has not provided you with proper advice in your consultation before the surgery has taken place. You may also be able to claim for the costs of any further corrective surgery that is required.

How much compensation am I likely to receive?
To find out how much compensation you could be entitled to if your gastric band surgery has gone wrong, fill in your details in our online claims calculator.

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