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While the AGB seems to work well for some, others seem to struggle to adjust to the band. It is quite common for patients to lose weight to a point, then they just seem to stop losing. The reason for this plateau effect is unknown, but on average it occurs when the patient has lost about half of their excess body weight. This may be very acceptable for someone who only needed to lose 75 to 100 pounds, but for those who started out 150 to 200 pounds or more overweight this 50% loss is generally not an adequate result. Band patients who have reached a plateau and are still morbidly obese often seek another solution. Removal of the band with conversion to another weight loss procedure such as the Gastric Sleeve may be exactly what it takes to get them started losing weight again.
While rare, it is possible for the band to erode through the wall of the stomach. The most common signs of an erosion are pain in the back or pit of the stomach and redness and tenderness around the injection port. An endoscopic exam (see below) is the best way to tell whether a band has eroded or not. If the band has eroded it must be removed.
The Lap-Band is a foreign object placed around the uppermost portion of the stomach. Problems can arise months or even years after placement.
While it may be possible to reposition or even replace the band, in most cases the appropriate option may be to simply remove it. The best way to show the position of the band before determining a course of action is an Upper GI X-ray (see above). For many patients the best way to manage a slipped band is to convert to an entirely different weight loss procedure.
Over time the band may slip down onto the stomach. This can occur even though the band was sutured firmly in place. Symptoms may include: