Improper Lap-Band Procedure Can Result in Serious Injuries


June 24, 2011

With the national obesity epidemic and increasing number of people seeking ways to lose weight quickly, surgical procedures designed to reduce weight are becoming more common including Lap-Band Surgery.

A 50-year old California woman died following a Lap-Band surgical procedure she underwent in July. The doctors who performed the surgery lacerated her liver three times during the Lap-Band procedure, and she was discharged later without being informed of the injury to her liver. She went to the hospital later complaining of severe pain and was diagnosed with sepsis and treated with antibiotics but later died.

Her family has filed a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit against the two surgeons who performed the surgery, the clinic where it was preformed, and the hospital and doctors who treated her following her surgery. She is the fourth woman in Southern California to die following a Lap-Band procedure.

What is Lap-Band Surgery?

It is a surgical procedure that is purely restrictive in that it reduces the capacity of the stomach by placing a band around the upper most part of the stomach giving it the shape of an hour glass. The band divides the stomach into two portions, one small and one larger portion. There is no stapling involved.

The Lap-Band System induces an early feeling of stomach fullness, thereby decreasing food intake. People naturally will feel the need to eat less. Any food they eat is absorbed by the body as well as before the operation. The digestive system is not changed at all.

Risks and Problems

Just like with any other surgery, there are potential risks involved when undergoing Lap-Band surgery.

Some of the potential risks during surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Kidney Failure
  • Brain damage
  • Death

Damage to internal organs like the stomach, intestines or spleen can also occur.

Risks after surgery include:

  • Lap-Band Slippage: The stomach slips up and through the band. This may require that a patient have laparoscopic surgery to either revise or replace the band to get the stomach back in the proper position.
  • Lap-Band Erosion: The stomach lining gets irritated to the point that the band erodes into the stomach. This is somewhat rare and occurs in about 1-2 percent of cases. The gastric band would need to be removed and the stomach would need time to heal. In some cases, the band can be replaced.
  • Port Problems: The Lap-Band needs to be inflated or deflated at any time. This is done through a port placed under the skin. The port needs to be injected with saline by a needle in order to do this. Sometimes the port can not be accessed with a needle, and the position of the port has to be revised by the doctor. The port can also leak, which will require that a doctor go back in and replace it.

Lap Band Medical Malpractice

Just because someone has an unfortunate medical result does not necessarily mean that they should sue for medical malpractice. Professional medical liability is based on proving that the standard of care that was provided to you was below the standard of care for a similar medical professional in the same market. Medical malpractice attorneys work with medical experts to gather the facts and records in a case and determine whether based on this information a patient should move forward in a case against a medical professional.

Before you undergo a procedure such as Lap-Band surgery, your physician should inform you of all the potential risks, side effects and complications before you begin the surgery. If your doctor does not provide you with all of these details and proceeds with the surgery, then you may not have given informed consent to the surgery. A surgeon who performs a surgical procedure without obtaining informed consent may be guilty of medical malpractice.

If the surgery was not done properly or if your doctor does not use reasonable care when inserting your Lap-Band, then he or she may be responsible for other complications you incur. This may be considered medical malpractice. If you feel that you doctor did not perform your surgery properly or that your surgery was performed without your informed consent, then consult with our medical malpractice attorneys at Montlick and Associates. We can determine if you have a potential case for medical malpractice related to your failed Lap-Band procedure.

If you or someone you love was seriously injured or killed by the negligence of a medical professional, the compassionate legal team at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, can navigate this complex litigation minefield to get you the compensation you deserve. Call Montlick & Associates today to see how we can help. Our Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are in Georgia, we are just a phone call away and we will even come to you.


Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.