Gastric Band Removal

Over time, it has become evident that the adjustable gastric band (commonly known as the gastric band or Lap band) comes with certain disadvantages and complications that can hinder long-term weight loss success.

In line with leading bariatric organizations, such as the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, we have focused on procedures that deliver better patient outcomes.

Beltre Bariatrics is committed to being your trusted partner in weight loss and bariatric procedures in Maitland and Orlando, FL. While we offer a comprehensive range of surgical weight loss solutions, we firmly believe in providing our patients with the safest and most effective treatments. That’s why we no longer perform the gastric band procedure, and we’d like to shed some light on the reasons behind this decision.

Contact us directly or continue reading to learn more about gastric band removal.

What is a Gastric Band?

The adjustable gastric band is a restrictive weight loss surgery that involves placing a silicone band around the upper part of the stomach, creating a small pouch. This limits the amount of food the stomach can hold, leading to a feeling of fullness with smaller portions.

The Decline of Gastric Band Surgery

Once considered a leading choice for bariatric procedures in the United States, the gastric band has witnessed a significant decline in popularity globally, including within the United States. This decline is primarily associated with its limited effectiveness in achieving weight loss, the likelihood of weight regain, and a notable increase in long-term complications.

Currently, gastric band procedures constitute less than 1% of all bariatric surgeries performed in the United States, and this percentage continues to decrease annually. According to data from the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), gastric band surgeries accounted for approximately 35.4% of all bariatric procedures in 2011. However, this figure plummeted to 5.6% in 2015, followed by further declines to 2.7% in 2017, 0.92% in 2019, and merely 0.42% in 2021. These trends highlight the widespread shift from gastric band surgery, favoring more effective and safer alternatives.

Complications & Disadvantages Associated With Gastric Band

Despite its initial popularity, lap band surgery has shown several disadvantages and complications over the years, including:

  • Inadequate Weight Loss Results: Many patients have experienced limited weight loss with the gastric band, leading to dissatisfaction with the procedure’s results.
  • Band-related Complications: Band erosion or band slippage can occur when the band slips out of position or erodes into the stomach, causing discomfort and requiring additional surgical interventions.
  • Food intolerance: Patients may face difficulty swallowing, severe nausea, and frequent vomiting, impacting daily life.
  • Esophageal Dilation: The Gastric Band’s restriction may cause food to get stuck in the esophagus, causing long-term esophageal dilation risks.
  • Reflux and Heartburn: The gastric band may cause severe acid reflux, vomiting, and heartburn, negatively impacting the patient’s quality of life.
  • Frequent Adjustments: Frequent adjustments (fills) can be inconvenient for patients. They require office visits to add or remove saline solution through a stomach port, altering the band’s grip around the stomach.

Indications For Gastric Band Removal

Gastric band removal may be recommended for patients who experience:

  • Unsatisfactory weight loss or weight regain after the initial procedure.
  • Band-related complications or discomfort.
  • Difficulty adhering to dietary restrictions imposed by the gastric band.

How Gastric Band Removal Surgery Works

In an outpatient laparoscopic gastric band removal procedure, the patient receives general anesthesia to ensure a comfortable and pain-free experience. Then, Dr. Beltre makes small incisions and inserts the laparoscopic instruments. He carefully cuts the scar tissue around the band and cuts the tubing and the band itself. The band is then gently pulled out from around the stomach.

During the initial gastric band surgery, the upper part of the stomach is often sutured to the part above the band to prevent migration. Removing these sutures to restore the stomach’s original anatomy is crucial, simplifying any future revision surgery. Additionally, incisions or removal of the perigastric capsule, the dense scar tissue around the upper part of the stomach or esophagus, can reduce the risk of post-surgery obstruction. Finally, Dr. Beltre will remove the subcutaneous port and complete the gastric band removal procedure.

Gastric Band Conversion to Gastric Bypass or Sleeve Gastrectomy

For patients who wish to continue their weight loss journey, we offer the option of converting their gastric band into a gastric sleeve or bypass procedure.

Advantages of Conversion to Gastric Bypass or Gastric Sleeve

  • Significant Weight Loss: Both gastric sleeve and gastric bypass procedures have been shown to achieve substantial and sustained weight loss.
  • Improved Health: These procedures can improve obesity-related health conditions like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • No Foreign Device: Unlike the gastric band, the converted procedures involve no foreign devices, reducing the risk of related complications.

FAQs About Gastric Band Removal

Are you looking to learn more about gastric band removal? Explore our FAQs section for answers to common questions about this procedure.

Why might I need to have my gastric band removed?

Gastric band removal may be recommended if you experience unsatisfactory weight loss or weight regain or encounter complications related to the band.

Is gastric band removal a safe procedure?

Yes, gastric band removal is generally considered safe, mainly when performed by experienced bariatric surgeons. We utilize laparoscopic techniques at Beltre Bariatrics to minimize risks and ensure a smooth recovery process.

What is the recovery period like after gastric band removal?

The recovery period varies from person to person but is typically shorter than the initial gastric band surgery. Most patients can resume regular activities within a week, though Dr. Beltre will provide specific post-operative instructions tailored to your needs.

Will I regain the weight after gastric band removal?

Weight regain after gastric band removal is possible, but it depends on several factors, including lifestyle choices and commitment to a healthy diet and exercise routine. To achieve long-term weight loss success, consider discussing alternative weight loss procedures with Dr. Beltre, such as gastric sleeve or gastric bypass.

Can my gastric band be converted to another weight loss procedure?

Yes, many patients choose to convert their gastric band to a more effective weight loss procedure, such as gastric sleeve or gastric bypass. Dr. Beltre can evaluate your case and recommend the most suitable conversion option.

What are the potential risks of gastric band removal?

As with any surgical procedure, gastric band removal carries some risks, such as infection, bleeding, or injury to surrounding tissues. However, choosing a skilled and experienced bariatric surgeon like Dr. Beltre significantly reduces these risks.

Will I experience any discomfort during the gastric band removal procedure?

Gastric band removal is performed under general anesthesia, ensuring you are comfortable and pain-free throughout the surgery. After the procedure, you may experience mild discomfort or soreness, which can be managed with prescribed pain medication.

Can I undergo gastric band removal if I have other health conditions?

Your eligibility for gastric band removal will depend on your overall health and medical history. During the preoperative evaluation, Dr. Beltre will assess your existing health conditions and recommend the best course of action.

How long does the gastric band removal surgery take?

The duration of the gastric band removal procedure varies, but it generally takes around 30 minutes to one hour. Laparoscopic techniques enable quicker surgery and reduce recovery time.

Does insurance cover gastric band removal?

Insurance coverage for gastric band removal may vary based on your specific insurance plan and medical necessity. Our team at Beltre Bariatrics can help you understand your benefits and coverage and provide guidance throughout the process.

Explore Gastric Band Removal Options with Beltre Bariatrics

Are you ready to explore your options for gastric band removal and take the next step toward achieving your weight loss goals with confidence?

At Beltre Bariatrics, our experienced team guides you through the process and provides personalized care tailored to your needs. Schedule a consultation with us today to discuss your concerns, learn about the procedure, and determine the best path forward for your health and well-being.

Let us help you on your journey toward a healthier, happier you!

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DISCLAIMER: Metabolic surgery involves a lifetime commitment to significant lifestyle changes, and is not for everyone.  Individual results differ depending on each patient’s medical history and willingness and ability to adhere to the weight loss program specified by Dr. Beltre.  As with all surgical procedures, all forms of metabolic surgery carry the risk of complications and side effects; additional details about potential complications, side effects, and other risks will be provided to you by Dr. Beltre during your pre-surgical consultations.

1 ASMBS. Estimate of Bariatric Surgery Numbers, 2011-2021. Available: Accessed July 24, 2023.

2 UCLA. Lap Band Revision. Available: Accessed July 24, 2023.

3 Cleveland Clinic. Gastric Band Surgery (LAP-Band). Available:–band-surgery. Accessed July 24, 2023.

4 Canadian Journal of Surgery. The fate of laparoscopic adjustable gastric band removal. Available: Accessed July 24, 2023.

The doctors at Beltre Bariatrics Center for Metabolic & Obesity Surgery have reviewed and approved this content.

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