Varices banded: Hello,good people... - British Liver Trust

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Varices banded

KatoombaNSW profile image

Hello,good people..

Today I had a gastroscopy to see if I had varices. They found 5 and banded them.My question is: What complications can I expect? Does banding always work? And does it mean I will have no problem with these banded ones again..? And how quickly can other varices develop? There was no portal hypertension shown in the last ultrasound which was in November,2018..I will be seeing my specialist in 4 weeks..I just couldn't wait for that to get some answers..Any insight based on personal experience would be most appreciated..Best regards..Matteo

15 Replies

You might have a bit of a tummy bloat today as they have pumped you full of air for the procedure - expect some burping and 'noise' from the other end as it releases. If you get any longer lasting period of bloating then you must phone in because sometime the air doesn't release and this could cause issues. You should have received discharge paperwork with information as to what to do in the event of post-op bleeding etc. etc.

Post banding you are likely to have some discomfort eating and drinking for a few days as food passes the banding site. The longest it took my hubby to get over this was 8 days - normally about 3 or 4.

My hubby had 42 varices banded over a period of two years. For a while he was attending hospital every 5-6 weeks for banding with up to 6 done at any time. After the 42nd band he was told his varices were eradicated and he now only goes for an endoscopy once a year. He has had the all clear of varices since May 2014 (touch wood). His first presentation with a liver issue was when he was bleeding internally and it ended up he had 7 burst varices - this in April 2012.

If you have an 'aggressive banding regime' it gradually gets them all under control. Some people attend hospitals where they don't band and just control the portal hypertension with beta blockers.

Sorry not 100% answered your question but symptoms and success of banding is a very individual thing and also differs from hospital to hospital.

Best wishes to you.


Thanks, Katie..

The varices came as a surprise,as far as I knew I didn't have portal hypertension..I got the scope done as a precaution before going on holidays in Europe..To be honest I am very worried now,as I don't know much about varices..I have read some older posts since I wrote my post above,and I am glad they can be eliminated in some people..

I have entered another stage in my cirrhosis challenge,so other people's experiences are invaluable..Thanks again for your kind response..Matteo

Hi Katie - I just came across your reply when searching for posts about varices. My hubby is on beta blockers & has had banding & the varices have still come back! Do you know if beta blockers are supposed to stop them forming? (If they are it obvs hasn't worked for my husband!).

Beta blockers are supposed to reduce portal hypertension to try and prevent varices, however, they don't always work for all. My hubby was put on carvedilol by a locum consultant but immediately taken off them by Edinburgh specialists who said they would do no good as hubby had already had a major bleed. Instead she decided to go 'aggressive' on banding regime and after 42 varices banded his were deemed eradicated. None since 2014 now.


Hi there -can I ask why he had the portal hypertension? I have PBC , had a huge bleed and am on the carvedilol and have banding every 4 weeks atm

- they have gone from a grade 3 to a 2 and the consultants have been considering a TIPPS procedure which I do not want and also they are talking about transplant but I think if they can get the varices under control I may not need one ? Thanks

Hubby has cirrhosis. Portal hypertension is high blood pressure in the portal vein of your liver. Your portal vein is the main blood supply for your liver. Certain diseases cause scar tissue that narrows the veins in your liver. The scar tissue slows blood flow through your liver. This causes the blood pressure in your liver to rise & it then tries to find alternative routes through the body often leading to it going into smaller veins which were never designed to carry such an increased volume, the walls of these vessels then bulge which is what a varices is.

My hubby never had a TIPSS or took beta blockers and his varices were eradicated through and aggressive regime of banding.

Ok I have the portal hypertension from cirrhosis too but mine is from a chronic disease from

Pbc which will continue to worsen - I just wondered why your husband

Has cirrhosis in the first place if you don’t mind me asking ?


Auto Immune Cirrhosis, he never knew he had any issue at all until he suffered a massive upper GI bleed in April 2012 (7 burst varices). He was eventually diagnosed with cirrhosis due to burned out Auto Immune Hepatitis. He was listed for transplant in June 2014 but delisted after 10 months as his condition stabilised to the point that blood tests took him out of the criteria for t/p. He had 42 varices banded and also had to have an embolisation operation on his splenic artery after numerous aneurysms (due to PH) were discovered during the CT scan at his t/p assessment. This in effect killed his spleen leading to better liver numbers.


Trust1 profile image

Hi KatoombaNSW

Did the endoscopy department give you a discharge summary and your report to take home with you? In the Uk, the staff nurse or doctor normally explains what varices are and how to manage them post banding, when to get medical help if you have any complications etc.

If you have any concerns it may be a good idea to contact the endoscopy unit and speak to someone there today.

It may also be a good idea to schedule an appointment sooner with your liver specialist to fully discuss your cirrhosis and varices.

Here is a link to our publication that may be of some use as general info;

Warm wishes


KatoombaNSW profile image
KatoombaNSW in reply to Trust1

Thanks for that, Trust1..They gave me a general info leaflet about diet mainly,and advice to go to the nearest Emergency department if bleeding or vomitting starts..But nothing specific..Also an envelope to take to my GP..I suspect the discharge summary is in there..But the envelope is sealed..

I will read the link you provided ASAP..Much appreciated..

Hi Matteo - sorry to jump on your post to ask Katie a question. You'll see I've just posted a similar post to yours about my husband - I hadn't seen yours before. Hope you get yours sorted!

Thanks for your kind wishes.. It is the 3rd day after banding and I am still eating soft food just to make sure nothing goes wrong..I am on blood pressure medication in any case. Not sure if beta blockers can be prescribed on top of those..I will see my specialist on Tuesday to get feedback and advice..I will ask about beta blockers..Thanks again. I will keep you informed of my progress..Ciao

@Ayrshirek Gosh it’s all so complicated and every ones so different , I had a huge bleed in Oct and have had all pre assessments for transplant etc so am on the cusp of going on the list but it’s only because of the portal hypertension- if they can control that It will bide me more time - I’m just praying the varices go away after the banding and beta blockers - I’ve been banded 3 times now - they are down to a grade 2 - I just want them gone

Thank you for replying to me

Just to update..I have done 3 banding procedures so far,and another scheduled for end of January..The specialist estimated we need 6 bandings before varices would go.. The funny thing I'd my ultrasound tests keep insisting I don't have portal hypertension..I asked the specialist if I could have varices without portal hypertension,and his firm answer was NO..Does anyone here have different experiences? It is confusing and frustrating. On the bright side,my liver keeps compensating well,and I have no other major complications (apart from some itching) one year after diagnosis..

Let’s hope they get them to eradicate- I’ll be in 4th banding in jan - I want to come down off a high dose of beta blocker - are you on those too?

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