Gastric Band Removal

What are reasons to have your gastric band removed? 

There are 2 main reasons that gastric band (LAP-BAND) removal surgery may be required:

  • Inadequate weight loss (losing less than 25% to 30% of your excess weight)
  • Complications
    • 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 
    • Gastrooesophageal reflux disease (GORD): a chronic condition resulting in episodes of gastrooesophageal reflux, heartburn and potential damage to the oesophagus 

How is gastric band removal performed? 

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

The steps to remove a gastric band include: 

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

The procedure usually takes around 60 minutes.  

What is the expected recovery after gastric band removal?  

The recovery is different for each person. Most people go home the morning after laparoscopic surgery.

A follow-up appointment is arranged for 3 weeks after surgery. 

What are potential complications of gastric band removal?

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
  • Perforation of the stomach 
  • Injury to nearby organs 
  • Wound infection
  • Weight gain

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