Weigh-Ins are on MONDAYS - Updated July 3, 2017

Surgery Date: October 20, 2009:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Forever's a Lie. All We Have is What's Between Hello and Goodbye

There's been somethin' on my mind lately.

I've been  worrying  thinking about how long these bands are supposed to last.

Leave it to me to always invent something new to worry about, especially something that I have no control over.

In the last six months, I've read the ongoing stories and daily accounts of a small handful of bloggers who have had to have their bands removed.  Some have had revisions to other weight loss surgeries, some have not.  I applaud these ladies for taking control of their health and making some seriously difficult decisions.

So, anyways, this has got me thinking. 

Let's play out my crazy-train thought.  Humor me for a minute.

I understand that my band is made of silicone. 

I understand that it will last many, many years long after I am dead and gone. 

When the archaeologists dig us up thousands of years from now, they will find these bands inside of our bodies and make up cool and interesting stories about our civilization.

So, let's say that I have probably another 50 years or so left in my lifetime.  That would take me to 83 years old. If I could be so lucky...

Will this band do it's job for that long?  Lots can happen in 50 years.

I guess this thought that's been floating around in my head is that no one buys a new car and expects it to last for the rest of their life, so why would I expect this band to be with me for another 50 years?

What would be my plan "B" if my band had to be removed?
I guess that's the beauty of the band, that it is reversible (removable). I'm not sure if revision surgery would be for me.  Sure, there's a lot of positive information about the sleeve.  But there's not enough long term medical data out there for me to be convinced.  Supposedly there is a 8+ year study on the sleeve that will soon be published.

More importantly, would I be as accountable to myself without a band?
Maybe? This one freaks me out...big time.

Would I still make healthy food choices and exercise a priority?
I hope so?

I have met bandsters who still have their bands and are five, even ten years post-op.  They're doing great!

So why am I always trying to find answers to questions that haven't even been asked yet or trying to cross bridges before I even get to them?


  1. As I always say to my kids: "Think of the worst case scenario. How and can you deal with it? Yes? Then, move on and stop worrying. If it can be dealt with then it is ok."
    So for you - worst case is you need to find an alternative. You could always try going for it without help for a while. If that doesn't work you know there are alternatives and IF you need to go down this road then there will be more data by then about other procedures. Calm calm calm ;)

  2. I am wondering if there are people out there who have lost their weight, successfully changed their lifestyle and had their bands unfilled? I am hoping that at sometime in the future that I can have it unfilled after reaching hy goal weight, at least I figure there is always fills if things start to swell up again.

  3. The sleeve has been around a lot longer than people think. It's been used for over a 100 years in dealing with stomach cancer. Obviously, the majority of the data collected regarding those patients had more to do with cancer issues but there is data regarding weight loss, potential side-effects, etc. There is also longer term data (10 years+) outside of the USA, in regards to being a WLS. It's really only considered "new" as a WLS in the US, because it was more recently allowed here.

  4. Let me get this straight. You work hard, support yourself, are educated and resourceful. You firmly believe that the only reason you are now fit, healthy and gorgeous is that piece of plastic ? Give yourself some credit. It's a tool, you used it well, I am sure you will be great without it...You lived, learned, succeeded...All good

  5. I have a friend in my support group that got his band 10 years ago and got it unfilled for an EGD last year. He decided not to get it refilled because he just said he didn't need to. As he has gotten older, he does not eat as much and he has developed new eating habits. He has not gained any weight still stays within 1-2 lbs. He does weigh himself every week. He runs all the time and is involved in many races. He also gives back by mentoring new lap banders. Like working the steps. He is an inspiration to me. There are a few others in our lap band support group who have lot there weight and removed there band and are determined not to put the weight on. Granted I would be interested in the % of success there is after the band.

  6. This was the question that kept me up nights before my surgery. I finally came to the conclusion that I need to "be here now" and deal with one issue at a time. If I ever get to a point where it's my health or the band, well, I'll do what I've just done this week - choose my health.

    AGB, *love* your comment, too - we are always saying the band is a tool that doesn't do all the work for us - do we truly believe that?

  7. I like Jennxaz's story and often thought similar about me. I know that my band is the #1 catalyst for my healthy life style change. It's got me up and moving, it's been the big reason why I have been able to accomplish what I have thus far. Hunger control is a big one for me. I cannot control myself when I'm hungry. However, once I reach my goal, I know that I can maintain this weight loss by continuing with daily exercise and making good choices nutritionally at least 70 or 80% of the time. You'll be fine, and as someone else said already, if you find you do have your band removed, you can always try for a while on your own and keep yourself in check. If you cannot do it alone, there are always alternatives to think about.

  8. I've had these thoughts many times before and after surgery.. And i'm not sure I know what I'd end up doing either. Probably look into the sleeve. I was thinking about it prior to surgery, but it was too new (espeically for Kaiser). But in the mean time I think I'll just bury my head in the sand and hope all stays well with my band. :)

  9. OMG the big bad bully AGB is still around to tell us all how deluded and wrong we are? Whatever. There are way too many examples of people who lose the band or have to be unfilled and immediately start regaining.

    Didn't we all try, for years and years, to do it the "regular" way? Didn't we all fail, over and over again? I spent 30+ years losing and regaining the same damn weight (and then some). The band is the ONLY thing that has ever worked for me, and if I had to revise to some other method - sleeve, whatever - I would do it in a second. (Well, a second after I came up with the money, I mean :)

    As a matter of fact, I am fully prepared for that inevitability, since I do not think the life expectancy of the band is really as great as we were told....We do not have to look far in our small community to find numerous examples of band failures (I do consider these failures far more common than a "handful") - and the farther out from surgery we all get, the more those failures will pile up.

    My Plan B is crystal clear: sleeve or a similar alternative.

    Thanks for continuing to blog, K, I do still read whenever I can!

  10. That is so weird. Just this week I thought the same thing, although I have fewer years to go! But I wondered how it would be to be 85 an still have the band part of me. I see no reason why we couldn't have it replace. No? A new model upgrade. I do believe there will be some new drug discoveries which will lesson all WLS need in the next ten years. Something that just hasn't developed and is so strange to me.

  11. I thought about the same thing pre band. It was one of the first questions I asked at my clinic appointment. I was working on the principle that new hips, knees etc only last for 10 years, why will this be any longer?

    I came to the conclusion that I have the band for a reason, I may have it for my weight loss season or I may have it for a lifetime but every precious second I can make it work for me counts. If I lost my band now, I would definately have a different form of weight loss surgery. If I lost my band after I got to goal, I don't think that would be an option. I would have to work exceptionally hard to keep off the weight but hopefully by then, I will have good habits to stand me in good stead.

    We can but wait and see what life has in store for us and be grateful for the time we have. (aren't I getting deep in my old age?)


  12. This is ultimately why I didn't end up going through with Lap Band surgery. In my mind, I couldn't get past the fact that I would have been 25-26 getting this implanted and having no idea if it would last until I was well into my senior citizen days or worse - cause complications.

  13. Thank you for adding to my list of worries! All my worrying will cause me stress and I will have wild restriction! So, that's a good thing....!

  14. The only thing we are promised is today!

  15. What is the saying 99.9% of the things we worry about never come to fruition...I never planned on revision surgery. It is the stuff we DON'T worry about that seems to happen. I know wihtout restriction for six months I put on 15 lbs. My eating habits were not that embedded after only a year of banding. I realized how dependant I am on the band as a tool. I did ask prior to surgery the life expectancy of my band. I figured it was like knee surgery that had to be redone every 15 - 20 years.

    One day at a time...:)

  16. Great post! I worry about it too.

  17. I don't have the band so I probably shouldn't answer . Just wanted to say that I know several people who converted to the sleeve when their band slipped or for whatever reason it gave them an issue. My brother had the band and has lost 250 lbs and never had a problem. He loves the band!! However he's mentioned that if it ever started slipping or giving him some kind of physical problem he would probably convert to the sleeve b/c according to him that is the most closely relate surgery to the band. Love your blog!

  18. I think we all do that. I wonder about things WAY down the road. :)

  19. Ok Thanks for this - still staring at the steri strips from having it put in 4 days ago.

    I am hoping the band will get me to my goal and that I will be working on the mental part of the eating while my band takes care of the hunger part. If I make it to goal and then I have problems with the band I would have it removed and go no further - I cannot imagine getting the by-pass or sleeve. This was a stretch for me putting a foreign object in my body - I say if it doesn't want to be there anymore it can go but it will never be replaced.

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