Local woman says lap band procedure caused near death experience years later

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - In 2010, the lap band procedure meant new hope for Lori Stiller.

"Oh, this might be the solution to my weight loss problem," she remembers saying.

But the surgery she thought would extend her life nearly ended it, she says, five years post-op.

"I started feeling really sick to the point where I knew something was wrong," she says.

Stiller says over those five years she only lost about 20 pounds from the procedure. When she began feeling sick, she went to the emergency room.

"They gave me nausea medicine, and gave me some pain pills, and sent me on home," she recalls.

But Stiller says things got worse, and she went back to the hospital for a second time.

"That's when they found all the gallstones," she recalls.

According to educational and comprehensive weight loss surgery website "Bariatric Surgery Source," nausea and gallstones are complications of the lap band surgery. Stiller says for her, an extended stay at the hospital revealed things were worse.

"The lap band had eroded into my stomach and caused it to rupture," she says.

Stiller underwent 11 surgeries.

"All the stuff had leaked out and I was septic. I'm pretty sure they weren't expecting me to even make it," she says.

She says she is talking now, because she wants other potential patients to know what happened.

"You may not have the complications, I hope and pray you don't, but if it can save you, have it taken out," she says.

It has been two years since Stiller had that scare. She had her gall bladder, spleen, and most of her stomach removed. She says she had to relearn how to walk, and even today, she can only eat a few bites of food at once.

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