Research from Switzerland suggests that gastric banding surgery may interfere with the esophagus and possibly worsen existing cases of acid reflux disease. A team from Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois in Lausanne assessed 43 obese patients who underwent laparoscopic gastric banding and who also underwent esophagus tests before and after surgery.
Although the procedure had no effect on heartburn, investigators did note problems with the movement of the esophagus postsurgery, in that normal contractions of the lower esophagus were weakened. A few patients developed serious reflux postoperatively, but the procedure generally was associated with lower levels of acid in the esophagus. The team suggested that patients with esophageal movement problems should be directed toward another type of weight-loss surgery, and they recommended gastric bypass over gastric banding.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.