Gastric bands for obesity may help people lose weight, but patients frequently experience problems with the device years after they’ve had the procedure, a new study finds.
Nearly 40 percent of patients in the study had some type of major complication with their band 12 or more years after they had the surgery. Major complications include things like infection or erosion of the band. About half the patients had to have the band taken out, and 60 percent required additional surgery.
The findings suggest gastric bands are not the answer to the obesity epidemic, the researchers say.
“Hopefully … people realize that the band is not the key to the problem of obesity , it’s not the solution,” said study researcher Dr. Jacques Himpens, of the European School of Laparoscopic Surgery in Belgium. While Himpens says that the procedure can still be performed, researchers should look for more efficient, less invasive alternatives, he said.