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40% of Gastric Band Patients Have Complications

But supporters say technique, product has improved in last decade
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2011 4:43 PM CDT

(Newser) – More negative news on gastric banding weight-loss surgery: A Belgian study suggests the bands are prone to nasty complications years after surgery. Almost 40% of patients had a major complication 12 years or more down the road, LiveScience reports. Infections and disintegration of the band were the main issues; 60% of patients with complications required additional surgery.

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"It's pretty sobering what they've described in their study," said one pediatric surgeon in the US. "Every year, you accumulate more risk of complications." Other doctors, however, noted that the bands in the study were implanted in the 1990s, and that today's are better. "I'm not sure the paper is relevant to a 21st-century American practice," said a California bariatric surgeon. Click to read about a different study suggesting that a less invasive procedure is better. (Read more lap band surgery stories.)

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