Gastric Banding: Port Problems

by Christine on May 26th, 2010

filed under Gastric Banding Surgery, General Information

Okay I’m going to get personal here.  I’m going to share with you some photos that, well, I haven’t shared with anyone.

So I got the gastric banding surgery a year and a half ago. With the banding surgery, the surgeon places an inflatable band around your stomach, which can inflate/deflate as needed. This helps curb your appetite and helps to limit your portion sizes. In order to inflate the band, the surgeon accesses the port site. You can read more about the surgery/band/port site by clicking here.

My port site is located just above my belly button, to the right hand side. When I got the surgery, I had to press pretty hard to feel the hard knobby bump that is the port.  My surgeon, the amazing Doctor P, said to me at the beginning, “sometimes my patients ask me, ‘will I be able to see the port through the skin?’ and I always reply, ‘if you can see the port, then you should celebrate because it means you can stop losing weight now!”

Well, that time has arrived. I can officially see my port site protruding through my skin. So for all you people that are considering gastric banding surgery (and I would recommend it; I have had terrific results), I am posting these (gross, graphic) photos to show you what may happen eventually.

Exhibit 1: A view of my stomach straight on. It’s somewhat flat. It doesn’t look that bad, right? I mean, sure, I’ve got a little weight left to lose, but I don’t have rolls of fat.  You can also tell by this photo that the incision areas (five of them) are not even noticeable.

My stomach, "straight-on" view

Well, that’s the straight-on view.

Exhibit 2 and Exhibit 3 (two views to show that I’m not making this up) is what *I* see when I look down towards my toes. No I am not sucking in, sticking my abs out, or doing anything exceptional except for just standing.

The Bulge.

The Bulge again. I'm not making this up.

There you have it. THE BULGE.  I look like I belong to the cast of Aliens, don’t I?!  I don’t believe that I’ll ever be able to do a bikini. (Ha! Imagine…I’m even TALKING about a bikini??) Not with this deformity jutting out of my skin.

I half wonder if the port site isn’t attached properly. It is clearly attached at an angle; I can actually GRIP IT and wiggle it around. I think it’s supposed to be attached flat, against your abs. But I’m not entirely sure about anatomy and the proper way of attaching port sites, so I’m not entirely sure what the deal is. Anyone know?

But here’s the whole point of why I am bringing this up…..

Yesterday I brought two air conditioners into the house (read “Attack of the Mouse” by clicking here). They were quite heavy, so I adjusted the weight of the air conditioners against my stomach/hip for better leverage, especially when I hoisted the heavy objects into the window. In the process, the air conditioner PULLED at my port site.

IT HURT LIKE A MOFO!

I wonder…since I can actually PULL at it with my hands, and because it juts out so much, I wonder if I could actually pull it off its attachment to my abs? Could I tear it right off, like a stripper with Velcro pants?

Today it doesn’t hurt as much, but it was quite tender during Yoga last night. For any gastric banding patients out there reading this, please be aware of potential port problems in the future.  You may want to discuss this with your doctor.

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  • http://the-phoenix-rises-again.blogspot.com/ Kimberley

    Ouch…be careful. That sounds like it could hurt. Hope you are not in pain anymore.

  • http://the-phoenix-rises-again.blogspot.com/ Kimberley

    Ouch…be careful. That sounds like it could hurt. Hope you are not in pain anymore.

  • http://www.clydesdaleproject.blogspot.com Big Clyde

    Ooohhhh…that doesn’t look right. I’d get into Dr. P and see what’s up.

    If, however, it is just normal, then make up a fun story about it. Like it is your super-concealed weapon!

    • http://www.phoenixrevolution.net Christine

      Oh dear, I think I have devastating experiences making up silly stories to explain things like this. My mom says that when I was in 1st grade, I got in a bike accident and fell on my face. I scraped it all to hell! I was worried about what the kids at school would say to me with a F-ed up face, and my mom told me to make up a silly story, like a pink elephant fell out of the sky or something! Well, sure enough the teacher came up to me and said, “Good god Christine, what happened to you?” so I made up a funny story! I said, “My parents beat me!” Yeah, that led to some serious problems (cops getting called, social services getting called, etc). Oy!

  • http://www.clydesdaleproject.blogspot.com Big Clyde

    Ooohhhh…that doesn’t look right. I’d get into Dr. P and see what’s up.

    If, however, it is just normal, then make up a fun story about it. Like it is your super-concealed weapon!

    • http://www.phoenixrevolution.net Christine

      Oh dear, I think I have devastating experiences making up silly stories to explain things like this. My mom says that when I was in 1st grade, I got in a bike accident and fell on my face. I scraped it all to hell! I was worried about what the kids at school would say to me with a F-ed up face, and my mom told me to make up a silly story, like a pink elephant fell out of the sky or something! Well, sure enough the teacher came up to me and said, “Good god Christine, what happened to you?” so I made up a funny story! I said, “My parents beat me!” Yeah, that led to some serious problems (cops getting called, social services getting called, etc). Oy!

  • http://imjustanotherfatgirl.blogspot.com I’m Just Another Fat Girl

    How-D!

    Love your bloggin name btw.

    I’m curious. I’ve never explored any weightloss surgery options. Will you ever have that removed or do you have to keep it for the rest of your days?

    -jafg

    • http://www.phoenixrevolution.net Christine

      Wow! I’m honored! A visit from JAFG!!! Rock on! Thanks for stopping by!! As for your questions: I don’t think I want to have the port removed. I like the peace of mind that comes with it; I know that if my weight ever starts to creep back up again, I can go back to Doctor P and get the band filled again. I’ve gone through far too many yo-yo weight cycles to ever want to go through that again! Technically I could get it removed, but that would involve yet another surgery. Getting it removed isn’t recommended unless you have a serious medical reason to do so. However…maybe Doctor P could fix the way it deforms my body?? I don’t know!
      Christine

      • http://aol.com Mo

        Regarding protrubance – I had the same problem, my port was placed between my breasts in the cleavage area.
        So it became invisible when wearing a bra. Without a bra on it looks like I had an egg under my skin. Anyway thats not the worst of it – oh no the port actually came through my skin! I looked down and thought what is that gold thing – yes it was the port showing through a tear in my skin.
        I had to have it repositioned at my cost. It is now near my rib cage. So time will tell.
        All in all it has been expensive for me paying for two ops plus band fills.
        Yes I have lost weight – great but think hard before doing this to yourself first.

        • http://www.phoenixrevolution.net Christine

          Mo, you’re the only other person I’ve heard that has had an issue with your port. Thank you for sharing your story. It will be ammunition when I go visit my surgeon in a few weeks to complain about this!

          • Victoria

            hi christine, your not alone in this, i had surgery nov 2010 and had an infected port straight after. cut a long long story short i was so ill i went on holiday and said i wasnt ready for my first fill until i returned as i was tender. i had my fill 13/1/11 which was painful i got divaticulitus due to lack of fibre followed by more port pain being an abcess which burst. iv recently had more surgery to remove my port,with the potion of having it resited at a later date. iv lost all faith in my surgeon and im still in pain from my surgery and dnt think i could face any more surgery as this has affected my quality of life since my original surgery. im seeing my surgeon tomorrow to make my decision.

      • Susan

        Dose this mean you had the band removed? . Just started reading this as I’m haveing probs with my port I think.

        • Christine

          Hi Susan,
          No, I did NOT have the band removed. I simply had my port re-attached to my abdomen. Problem easily solved! :-) -Christine

    • Jenny Snyder

      U keep them in 4 the rest of ur life unless complications occur with the bend or sleeve then they can be removed and the band is adjustable

  • http://imjustanotherfatgirl.blogspot.com I’m Just Another Fat Girl

    How-D!

    Love your bloggin name btw.

    I’m curious. I’ve never explored any weightloss surgery options. Will you ever have that removed or do you have to keep it for the rest of your days?

    -jafg

    • http://www.phoenixrevolution.net Christine

      Wow! I’m honored! A visit from JAFG!!! Rock on! Thanks for stopping by!! As for your questions: I don’t think I want to have the port removed. I like the peace of mind that comes with it; I know that if my weight ever starts to creep back up again, I can go back to Doctor P and get the band filled again. I’ve gone through far too many yo-yo weight cycles to ever want to go through that again! Technically I could get it removed, but that would involve yet another surgery. Getting it removed isn’t recommended unless you have a serious medical reason to do so. However…maybe Doctor P could fix the way it deforms my body?? I don’t know!
      Christine

      • http://aol.com Mo

        Regarding protrubance – I had the same problem, my port was placed between my breasts in the cleavage area.
        So it became invisible when wearing a bra. Without a bra on it looks like I had an egg under my skin. Anyway thats not the worst of it – oh no the port actually came through my skin! I looked down and thought what is that gold thing – yes it was the port showing through a tear in my skin.
        I had to have it repositioned at my cost. It is now near my rib cage. So time will tell.
        All in all it has been expensive for me paying for two ops plus band fills.
        Yes I have lost weight – great but think hard before doing this to yourself first.

        • http://www.phoenixrevolution.net Christine

          Mo, you’re the only other person I’ve heard that has had an issue with your port. Thank you for sharing your story. It will be ammunition when I go visit my surgeon in a few weeks to complain about this!

  • Nicole Hollenbeeck

    Hey Christine!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog Better Banded! My port doesn’t look like on my stomach but maybe it will be like 15lbs when we are the same size? Have you spoken to your DR maybe the port shifted?? I took tummy pictures a few posts ago, I can see my port but other people can’t unless I point it out

    How do I become a follower of your blog? I don’t see anywhere to click

    • http://www.phoenixrevolution.net Christine

      Hi Nicole! Thanks for stopping by! I wasn’t really sure what you meant by following my blog…so I looked at your blog and noticed the Google Friend Connect app. Is that what you are referring to? I installed it on my site so I hope that is what you mean! Otherwise, each post has a widget under it that allows you to repost it, send it to RSS feed, bookmark it, etc. As for the port thing…The last time I saw my doctor was probably about 20 pounds ago. I brought up the port and he was nonplussed about it. I feel like I would have better ammunition if I know that the port site issues are uncommon with other banding patients. Then he might take more more seriously!!!

  • Nicole Hollenbeeck

    Hey Christine!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog Better Banded! My port doesn’t look like on my stomach but maybe it will be like 15lbs when we are the same size? Have you spoken to your DR maybe the port shifted?? I took tummy pictures a few posts ago, I can see my port but other people can’t unless I point it out

    How do I become a follower of your blog? I don’t see anywhere to click

    • http://www.phoenixrevolution.net Christine

      Hi Nicole! Thanks for stopping by! I wasn’t really sure what you meant by following my blog…so I looked at your blog and noticed the Google Friend Connect app. Is that what you are referring to? I installed it on my site so I hope that is what you mean! Otherwise, each post has a widget under it that allows you to repost it, send it to RSS feed, bookmark it, etc. As for the port thing…The last time I saw my doctor was probably about 20 pounds ago. I brought up the port and he was nonplussed about it. I feel like I would have better ammunition if I know that the port site issues are uncommon with other banding patients. Then he might take more more seriously!!!

  • Claire

    wow that doesnt look good!! – i had a gastric band fitted nearly a year ago – right now seriously struggling to get anymore weight off.. im barely eating (obviously) walking and swimming.. hopefully more will come off soon! ive lost 4.5 stone so far.. but where my porthole is always sore even after this long.. apparently its rubbing against my ribs.. seems a bit strange does anyone elses do that!?
    Claire xx

    • Rachel

      Mine is doing that as it is next to the rib cage It feels like a bee sting lots and heavy when I sleep x

  • Claire

    wow that doesnt look good!! – i had a gastric band fitted nearly a year ago – right now seriously struggling to get anymore weight off.. im barely eating (obviously) walking and swimming.. hopefully more will come off soon! ive lost 4.5 stone so far.. but where my porthole is always sore even after this long.. apparently its rubbing against my ribs.. seems a bit strange does anyone elses do that!?
    Claire xx

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  • http://www.costofgastricbypasssurgery.info/gastric-bypass-surgery-price.html Will Morfee

    The cost really varies state to state. I would not suggest having it done in South America, too dangerous.

  • Lindachamekh

    Hello
    Would you have it positioned anywhere else if you could? My operation surgery manager told me that the belly button port was invisible but it really shows on those pictures? I am don’t know what to choose now! :(

    • Hayliesim

      Hi, my port is quite high and positioned just under my left rib cage.  I only had my op a week ago and it is already protruding.  Hopefully it will go down as the swelling goes down.  It is a little uncomfortable  as when I slouch, it hits my rib cage.  Its a great way to make sure I sit up straight!

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  • Elisabeth

    Hi Christine,
    I know that you wrote this post a while ago. I was wondering if you ever saw your doctor about this and if there is a remedy? I am considering the surgery – I have a consultation on the 20th – and I was going to ask about port protusion problems.

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  • PG

    I’m dying here, what did your Dr. say/do about the bulge from your port???

  • Chanels_number5

    My port site moves too, though it doesn’t pop out like yours… yet… I can feel it and move it under the skin, and if I cough or strain my stomach it ‘pops’ out and I have to push it back into place. I’ve had this since the surgery, so I thought this was normal! The only time it gets sore though is if I’m leaning or carrying something pressed against the port. ouch!

  • Maree

    Hi there this is happening to me and I may have to get it repositioned
    I’m in Australia do you know how much it costs?

  • ELIE FRANCIS

    Port problems
    Gastric band fitted 2006 weight 28st lost 4 stone (24 stone) 2005 -2008 port was between breast bone very painful and lot if reflux problems. Repositioned op to lower abdomen below belly button. weight loss 2008-2011 8stone (16) went for tummy tuck port was disturbed it emigrated to near my groin pain pain. Couldnt swim and exercise 6mls was in the band but felt no resitriction. Weight gain 2 stone (18stone) 2015. Port repositioning op from groin to under rib cage 02/08/2015 three weeks post op wound was ouzing wound care and antibiotics. See picture1. 12/09/2015 white port slightly visible. Couldnt sleep or sit very painful. See picture 1.14/9/2015 white port half way out pain pain. A &E theatre again wicked port pulled out now recovering with gastric band intact but no port no pain.

    I had a rough journey with my port i dont miss it

    Sheila