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Can the Risks of Lap Band Surgery be Life Threatening?

Oct 12, 2007
You've tried all the diets out there, feel like you've worked yourself to the bone exercising, but nothing seems to work. Obesity makes you feel lousy, and you just want to get your life back. You may be thinking of getting weight loss lap band surgery, and wondering about the risks. Is it all easy street after the surgery, or will you be at risk for further health problems-- or even death?

The answer, unfortunately, is that you will. Lapband surgery is major surgery and like any major one, it comes with a whole host of risks. And yes, one of those risks is death. Sounds pretty scary, doesn't it?

While lap band surgery isn't a decision to be entered into lightly, if you're considering the surgery, you shouldn't let the risk of death scare you too much. Lap band surgery was approved for use in 2001, and gets safer and safer all the time. In fact, the death rate for this surgery, which is at a nationwide rate of 3 or fewer deaths in 10,000 surgeries, is even lower than routine surgeries such as hernia repair surgery. Major surgery is always risky, but lap band is one of the safer surgeries you can have, as far as death rate is concerned.

Phew. That's a relief, right? While death during the surgery itself is highly improbable, it's important to keep in mind that the surgery comes with quite a number of other risks, some of them serious. About 1% of lap band surgical patients, for example, experience stomach perforation, which is a very serious complication. In addition, nearly 90% --yes, 90 percent-- of lap band surgical patients experience some complications during or (more usually) after the surgery.

What are the normal complications and how are they treated? Generally the post-operative complications that arise from lap band surgery are vomiting or regurgitation, slippage or deflation of the lap band, or obstruction of the stomach. Fortunately, most of the complications that arise are treatable, usually by making adjustments in the patient's diet.

So, yes, lap band surgery can kill you. But no, it doesn't happen often, and happens a great deal less than with many other surgeries. No surgery should be entered into lightly. And while it may seem like the risks and cons can outweigh the benefits of the surgery, you shouldn't let them scare you. If you think this kind of surgery is right for you, it's important to understand all the risks involved... and also to understand that the surgery is a choice you make for your life. It comes with some risks and complications, and a whole bunch of benefits, too. Before making a decision this big, it's important to understand all aspects-- the good and the bad.
About the Author
TLBC, Toronto Lap Band Centre provides a simple and safe solution for lifelong weight loss. The lapband weight loss surgery - a lifelong solution.
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