A lap band removal procedure is sometimes necessary when the device is not working as expected, when the patient is not losing weight at a satisfactory rate, and when complications arise from gastric banding. The long-term outcomes of laparoscopic banding can vary significantly from patient to patient. Studies conducted worldwide estimate that the reoperation rate for the device ranges from 8% to 60%. (1) So what does this mean for patients? And when should a lap band be removed?
The laparoscopic band is a popular weight-loss device among doctors and patients. The surgical procedure involves the placement of an adjustable silicone rubber band around the top of the stomach, just below the lower esophageal sphincter. The purpose of the band is to restrict food intake; making you feel fuller faster by creating a small pouch for food. However, when a band slips out of place, when it does not work correctly, or when it leads to uncomfortable symptoms like acid reflux, a patient should consider removal surgery.
At Southern Nevada Bariatrics, board-certified bariatric surgeon Dr. Mustafa Ahmed conducts lap band removal and revision procedures for patients who require them. To discuss your treatment, please schedule a personal consultation at his Las Vegas office by calling (702) 606-0499 or complete an inquiry form on our website for more information.
- 1 About the Gastric Band
- 2 Why Remove a Lap Band?
- 3 Personal Consultation
- 4 After Lap Band Removal
- 5 Cost of Lap Band Removal in Las Vegas, NV
- 6 FAQ
- 7 References
About the Gastric Band
Obesity rates are rising worldwide. And with an estimated 35% of Americans clinically diagnosed as obese, bariatric procedures provide weight-loss solutions for many people every year. There are a number of different procedures surgeons can recommend for patients seeking weight-loss surgery, including the gastric band (lap band), the gastric sleeve, and the more involved gastric bypass, and each comes with advantages and disadvantages that patients should be well-educated on well before undergoing surgery. Some of the reasons patients opt for a lap band include the following:
- It’s a less invasive surgery compared to sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass.
- It significantly reduces room for food in the stomach so patients achieve satiation faster.
- The band is easily adjusted by the surgeon to meet individual patient needs.
- The band can be removed if there is a serious problem, unlike the gastric sleeve and bypass, which are permanent changes that can only be altered surgically
- Patients can lose up to half of their excess body weight, with an average excess weight loss of 30.6%. (2)
Studies show that bariatric surgery leads to effective weight loss in many cases. What’s more, a substantial majority of comorbid conditions such as diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and obstructive sleep apnea are either improved or resolved entirely. (3)
Why Remove a Lap Band?
There are several reasons why lap band removal may be necessary. Prior to opting for removal surgery, patients should first discuss the symptoms they are experiencing and their alternative treatment options at length with Dr. Ahmed at a personal consultation.
Persistent Gastrointestinal Reflux
Some patients are more likely to experience reflux and heartburn following lap band placement. The lower esophageal sphincter is a valve that protects the delicate walls of the esophagus from stomach acid. Gastrointestinal reflux is a painful condition that causes the sphincter to relax at the wrong time, allowing stomach acid to make direct contact with the esophagus. This causes a burning sensation and tissue damage. Persistent gastrointestinal reflux disease is present in an estimated 7% of lap band-related complications. (4)
When a patient is experiencing significant problems with their lap band, and it is not working as expected, the device may have malfunctioned. Although its mechanism is relatively simple compared to many other medical devices, several faults can cause problems. The two most common malfunctions are in the access port or the tube connecting the port to the band itself. Port malfunction is a rare complication, occurring in less than 1% of cases. (4)
Complications from Band Slippage
“Band slippage” is where the device moves out of position around the stomach. Patients may experience unpleasant symptoms, which can include the following.
- Food Intolerance
- Abdominal Pain
- Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia)
- Early Satiety
- Nocturnal Vomiting
Port Site Infection
Port site infection (PSI) may occur in some cases, which can become serious if it is not treated quickly. The clinical symptoms of PSI present in five stages:
First Stage – A nodule appears roughly one month after lap band placement.
Second Stage – The nodule becomes larger, more tender, and inflamed.
Third Stage – Discharge appears and the surrounding skin may die.
Fourth Stage – The discharge increases and may be whitish in color.
Fifth Stage – Nodules multiply and the skin in the area may become hyperpigmented. (6)
If you suspect your port is infected, please contact us promptly for medical assistance. Dr. Ahmed will assess the severity of the infection and order drainage and debridement of the tissue where necessary. Where there is significant drainage, the site will be packed with saline and dressing. We will then order a prescription to fight the infection.
Lap Band Erosion
Lap band erosion is a rare but serious complication that requires immediate medical intervention. The lap band penetrates the tissue of the wall of the stomach, which can eventually cause a perforation in this tissue.
With less severe complications, such as persistent reflux, lap band adjustment or revision may be preferable to removal. If there are significant problems with the band, such as prolapse, infection, or erosion permanent removal may be necessary.
Dr. Ahmed will listen to your concerns regarding your lap band, and propose an effective plan to remove the device. Your personal consultation will involve a detailed description of your symptoms, and answering questions about your initial procedure. He will examine the port area, ascertain the reason for its failure, and present the options available to you. In some cases, your lap band may be removed and replaced with a new device, while in others it may be removed permanently. You may also have the option to undergo an alternative bariatric surgery if you are a suitable candidate for the procedure. Dr. Ahmed will ensure that he assesses your circumstances thoroughly before formulating an individualized treatment plan.
After Lap Band Removal
Weight loss surgery is a journey that many people undergo to achieve a healthier weight and a reduction of symptoms from common co-occuring conditions. And, when a device such as a lap band is unsuccessful in achieving its goals, it is important to remember that there are options. By choosing an experienced bariatric surgeon to perform your lap band removal surgery, you get the expert knowledge and experience required to help you address the issues with your device, and the opportunity to discuss other weight-loss options. At Southern Nevada Bariatric, we’re here to ensure you get the most suitable weight-loss surgery for your needs.
Cost of Lap Band Removal in Las Vegas, NV
Dr. Ahmed tailors each weight-loss treatment plan to a patient’s specific health needs. As a result, the cost of lap band removal will depend on your individual circumstances. To take the first step toward resolving issues with your gastric band, call Southern Nevada Bariatrics at (702) 606-0499 or complete an inquiry form on our website.
You can find out more about bariatric procedures and weight-loss programs by reading Dr. Ahmed’s blog.
Are lap bands reversible?
Yes. One of the advantages of the gastric band is that it is fully reversible. Patients interested in the lap band should first check their eligibility for the device with their bariatric surgeon.
What happens when a lap band doesn’t work?
If gastric banding is unsuccessful in achieving weight loss, your surgeon must ascertain what went wrong. Patients can opt for lap band removal or speak to their doctor about a different weight loss procedure.
How long does a lap band removal procedure take?
A lap band removal procedure is minimally-invasive. The average procedure to remove the device takes less than one hour.
Will I gain weight after lap band removal?
There is a high likelihood of a patient gaining weight after lap band removal. However, lap band revision or an alternative bariatric procedure may be an option to resume a weight-loss plan.
- Seeras, K., Acho, R. J., & Prakash, S. (2021). Laparoscopic Lap Band Placement. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526062/
- Kinzl, J. F., Lanthaler, M., Stuerz, K., & Aigner, F. (2011). Long-term outcome after laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding for morbid obesity. Eating and Weight Disorders, 16(4), e250–e256. https://doi.org/10.1007/bf03327468
- Buchwald, H., Avidor, Y., Braunwald, E., Jensen, M. D., Pories, W., Fahrbach, K., & Schoelles, K. (2004). Bariatric Surgery. JAMA, 292(14), 1724. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.292.14.1724
- Sertkaya, M., Emre, A., Yazar, F. M., & Bülbüloğlu, E. (2016). Diagnosis and management of early gastric band slip after laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding. Videosurgery and Other Miniinvasive Techniques, 2, 121–125. https://doi.org/10.5114/wiitm.2016.60237
- Herndon, L. K., Stead, T. G., Ganti, L., Jasper, T., & Lebowitz, D. (2019). Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band Slippage Presenting as Chest Pain. Cureus. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.5069