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Intragastric gastric band migration: erosion: an analysis of multicenter experience on 177 patients



Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) has proven to be a safe and effective surgical treatment for morbid obesity. It can be a simple, fast, reversible, anatomy-preserving procedure. Despite these advantages, its long-term efficacy came into question by the occurrence of complications such as intragastric band migration. Consistent information regarding this complication is still lacking. Treatment for migration is still being debated as well. Most of the inconsistencies of these data stem from the very low number of patients reported in single-center experiences or case reports. Lack of multicenter experience is evident. The aim of this study was to perform a retrospective analysis of data on intragastric migration in a large multicenter cohort of patients who underwent LAGB.


A retrospective multicenter study on LAGB patients was performed. Data had been entered into a prospective database of the Italian Group for LapBand® (GILB) since January 1997. Pars flaccida and perigastric positioning were considered along with different kinds of gastric bands by the same manufacturer. Time of diagnosis, mean body mass index (BMI), presentation symptoms, and conservative and surgical therapy of intragastric migration were considered.


From January 1997 to December 2009, a total of 6,839 patients underwent LAGB and their data were recorded [5,660 females, 1,179 males; mean age 38.5 ± 18.2 years (range 21–62 years); mean BMI = 46.7 ± 7.7 kg/m2 (range 37.3–68.3); excess weight (EW) 61.8 ± 25.4 kg (range 36–130); %EW 91.1 ± 32.4 % (range 21–112 %)]. A total of 177 of 6,839 (2.5 %) intragastric erosions were observed. According to the postoperative time of follow-up, the diagnosis of intragastric migration was made in 74 (41.8 %), 14 (7.9 %), 38 (21.4 %), 40 (22.6 %), 6 (3.4 %), and 4 (2.2 %) banded patients at 6–12, 24, 36, 48, 60, and 72 months after banding, respectively. Most of intragastric band migration during the first 2 years occurred in bands with no or a few milliliters of filling. In patients with late erosion, the bands were adjusted several times; no band was overfilled but one was filled to the maximum or submaximum with a maximum of two adjustments. Erosions diagnosed during the first 24 months were related to the experience of the surgical staff, while late erosions were not.


Intragastric band migration or band erosion is a rare, disturbing, and usually not life-threatening complication of gastric banding. Its pathogenesis is probably linked to different mechanisms in early (technical failure in retrogastric passage) or late (band management) presentation. It is usually asymptomatic and there is no pathognomonic presentation. A wide range of therapeutic options are available, from simple endoscopic or laparoscopic removal to early or late band replacement or other bariatric procedure. More experience and more studies are needed to lower its presentation rate and definitively clarify its pathogenesis to address the right therapeutic option.

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All authors declare to have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Correspondence to Michele Lorenzo.

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Di Lorenzo, N., Lorenzo, M., Furbetta, F. et al. Intragastric gastric band migration: erosion: an analysis of multicenter experience on 177 patients. Surg Endosc 27, 1151–1157 (2013).

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  • Laparoscopic adjustable gastric band
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Obesity