WARNING: Allergan LAP-BAND gastric banding systems may fail, erode into the flesh at rates higher than advertised

How the LAP-BAND System Works, According to Allergan:

“Designed to be placed laparoscopically (via small incisions in the abdomen, usually 0.5 – 1.5 centimeters in length), the LAP-BAND® System does not require stapling of the stomach. Instead, an inflatable band is placed around the top portion of the patient’s stomach, creating a small pouch that limits or reduces food consumption. The LAP-BAND® System is adjustable, which means that the inflatable band can be tightened or loosened to help the patient achieve a level of satiety while maintaining a healthy diet, supporting a patient’s long-term weight loss success.”


Complications of the Allergan LAP-BAND:

Allergan states that “Band slippage, erosion and deflation, reflux, obstruction of the stomach, dilation of the esophagus, infection or nausea and vomiting may occur” and “Reoperation may be required.”

LAB-BAND Erosion and LAP-BAND Band Slippage / Pouch Dilatation:

As of 2011, the company reported that erosion occurs at a rate of about 1.33% and that band slippage occurs at a rate of about 8%.  This data came from two relatively small studies, one using 299 LAP-BAND users, and one studying 149.

Sadly, however, a number of independent scientific studies on the safety and efficacy of the Allergan LAP-BAND system have demonstrated that these rates of device malfunction are inaccurate and underestimated.

Research Shows: LAB-BAND Complications at High Rate

In 2002, an Australian research team published a study in Obesity Surgery that evaluated the health outcomes of 709 LAP-BAND users found that “Reoperation has been needed for prolapse (slippage) in 12.5%, erosion of the band into the stomach in 2.8% and for tubing breaks in 3.6%.”

Another study, published in a 2013 edition of Annals of Surgery that studied 3,227 LAP-BAND users reports that “Revisional procedures were performed for proximal enlargement (26%), erosion (3.4%), and port and tubing problems (21%).”

Further, a small 2007 study that evaluated health outcomes for 10 obese girls using LAP-BAND systems found “Band-related complications were as follows: 2 dehydration, 1 pouch dilation, and 1 port revision.” (These means a 10% rate of pouch dilation.)

And, in 2012, a study that evaluated outcomes for 172 gastric banding patients found a 19.2% rate of band removal, citing that “The main reason for band removal was slippage followed by band erosion.”


Also, every blog post we’ve written about the Allergan LAP-BAND is available here.