Gastric Band Removal

What are the indications for gastric band removal?

Gastric band removal is indicated for complications such as

  • Band erosion, when the band grows into the stomach
  • Band or port infection that has failed antibiotic treatment
  • Band slippage, when the lower part of the stomach ‘slips’ up through the band creating a bigger pouch above the band
  • Band intolerance symptoms, such as excessive nausea or vomiting, pain after eating and difficulty swallowing
  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD)

How is gastric band removal surgery performed?

Gastric band removal surgery is performed under general anaesthesia, mostly through a laparoscopic (keyhole) technique.

The steps to remove a gastric band include

  • Insert laparoscopic instruments through small incisions (in most cases the old incisions are used)
  • Cut away the 'capsule' created by the body around the band
  • Remove the sutures that hold the band in place & cut away any adhesions (scar tissue) that have formed
  • Cut the band
  • Pull the band from around the stomach & remove it along with the tube
  • Remove the port through the incision in which it was inserted

The procedure usually takes around 60 minutes.

What are the risks of gastric band removal surgery?

All surgery has risks despite the highest standard of practice. The following possible complications are listed to inform not to alarm. There may be other complications that are not listed.

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Injury to nearby structures
  • Perforation of the stomach
  • Weight gain

What is the expected recovery after gastric band removal surgery?

Hospital Stay. Most people go home the morning after surgery. It is recommended that you be accompanied home by a carer who will stay with you (or very close by) for the first 24 to 48 hours.

Wound Care. Your wounds are closed with dissolvable sutures and skin glue and covered with waterproof dressings. You can shower normally. Remove your dressings in 5 days - your wounds should be healed by then and you do not need further dressings.

Diet. Your first meal after surgery will be a liquid diet, and then you will progress to solid foods prior to being discharged from hospital.

Driving. You should not drive for at least 24 hours after general anaesthesia. You can start driving as soon as you can safely control the vehicle, usually after 1 week.

Physical Activity. You are encouraged to do as much walking as is comfortable. Limit your activities to light duties (no lifting over 5 kg) for at least 3 to 4 weeks, or until you are comfortable. The common sense rule is “If it hurts, don’t do it!”.


Dr Mary Ling performs gastric band removal surgery at Gosford Private Hospital, Brisbane Waters Private Hospital and Tuggerah Lakes Private Hospital on the Central Coast. Dr Ling participates in the No Gap scheme if you have private insurance.