Lap band, or gastric band, is one of the most common types of bariatric surgery for weight loss. However, did you know that lap band removal rates are about the same as the cost of the initial lap band surgery?
That’s roughly an additional $15,000 out of your pocket, unless you have insurance coverage. There’s also recovery time to consider, especially if there are surgical complications.
Roughly Half Of All Lap Bands Must Be Removed
As many as half of all lap band patients choose to have their gastric banding removed. Reasons include:
- Band intolerance, involving pain, nausea, vomiting or discomfort
- Difficulty swallowing
- GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) involves chronic heartburn, reflux and potential damage to the esophagus.
- Food regurgitation
- Inadequate weight loss
- Band slippage, where the part of the stomach which is meant to allow food entry after the band is positioned becomes larger than intended.
- Band erosion, involving the band growing into the stomach and/or wearing a hole in the stomach
- Band infection, or port infection, that will not heal with antibiotics.
How Is Lap Band Removal Done?
Lap band removal surgery is similar to the surgery that placed the lap band in the first place, and has the same (relatively low) risk of complications.
If your first gastric band surgery was performed laparoscopically, your lap band removal will often take place using the same method.
Your surgeon will cut away the tissues that your body has formed around the band, remove the sutures that position the band, and remove any scar tissue that has formed. They will cut the band itself and pull it out, removing it (and its access port) from your body.
What Happens After The Band Is Removed?
Normally, your stomach will return to a normal state some time after the removal of the band. Some people have continued symptoms even after lap band removal.
“Band just didn’t work: Had my band out in June and I am still having difficulty swallowing Protein such as meat, chicken, turkey and fish (in September). This was the reason I was de-banded in the first place. After a call to my gastroenterologist yesterday, he said he spoke to a few associates who do the band and this is a very common problem.”
– Karel M
Most lap band removal patients gain weight back and revert to their pre-surgery weight, although some who have made significant lifestyle changes manage to keep the excess weight off.
Some choose other types of gastric bypass surgery in hopes of getting the weight loss results they’d hoped for initially.
Why Do People Choose Lap-Band Surgery In The First Place?
For morbidly obese patients, lap band has the lowest risk of mortality out of all bariatric surgeries. They may think that surgery is their only choice.
Some believe that lap band is easy, because they won’t require willpower, or have to change their lifestyle. They think the band takes care of everything, and fail to understand that they will need to change their eating patterns and choices significantly, as well as supplement to ensure they don’t develop nutritional issues. They are unclear on the costs, risks, and potential side effects. For example, up to half of all patients develop gallstones after bariatric surgery. Nutritional deficiencies are also very common, and of course there are the causes of lap band removal listed above.
What’s The Alternative to Lap Band Surgery?
One alternative is other forms of bariatric surgery, and for some patients that may be the appropriate choice. However, many people don’t realize that medical weight loss can provide significant and lasting weight loss without surgery. Just ask Nicole, who lost 84 pounds, or Clyde, who lost 93 pounds. John lost 100 pounds, and there are plenty of similar weight loss success stories in our testimonials.
Just as in bariatric surgery, medical weight loss can relieve or improve:
- Non-alchoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Degenerative joint disease
Medical weight loss improves quality of life in our patients, and allows them to achieve weight loss significant enough to reduce mortality. If you’re in Hawaii and considering lap-band surgery or lap-band removal, sign up today for a free consultation to find out how doctor-assisted weight loss can work for you.