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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