What You Need to Know About Banding for Esophageal Varices
Esophageal varices are enlarged veins in the lower part of the esophagus. These veins are often caused by chronic liver damage or cirrhosis. Without intervention, these varices can cause gastrointestinal bleeding, or GI bleed. Banding is a common procedure that involves the placement of small elastic bands to the enlarged veins. This helps reduce the risk of a GI bleed, preventing the need for further medical intervention.
Understanding the Banding Procedure
The banding procedure is relatively straightforward. Depending on the size and location of the varices, your doctor will insert a lighted tube called an endoscope into your mouth. With guidance from the endoscope, a small band is carefully placed over the enlarged veins. The band restricts blood flow to the varices, reducing their size and decreasing the risk for a GI bleed.
Benefits of the Banding Procedure
Banding is minimally invasive and carries few risks. Recovery from the procedure is generally rapid, and patients can typically resume their normal activities shortly after.
Risks Associated with Banding
Although the procedure is generally safe, there are some risks that should be considered. In rare cases, complications can arise, such as infection or allergic reaction to the band material. In some cases, the band may slide off of the vein or get accidentally placed in the wrong place. Overall, however, the use of banding to treat esophageal varices is extremely effective and well tolerated.
- Esophageal Varices
- GI Bleed
- Minimally Invasive