The gastric banding procedure became very popular because it’s safe, moderately effective and the least invasive of all the weight loss surgeries. The lap band is used to control hunger and portion sizes because the small gastric pouch gets full and sends signals to your brain that your hunger is satisfied. This means that you get fuller from smaller portions than you were previously used to. With the band, most patients lose their excess weight slowly and steadily, seeing the weight shed off one to two pounds per week. There are many benefits to this procedure, but many people still have a lot of questions about it. The lap band is meant to remain in place indefinitely, not just until you hit your target weight loss goal. However, there is a chance that the band may need to be removed, replaced or repositioned at some point in your life.
Reasons for Removal
There are two main reasons why you may need a lap band removal. If you’re experiencing any adverse reactions to the band that cause complications and health conditions, you’ll need to be examined by your surgeon to see if the lap band needs to be taken out. It may also need to be removed if you and your doctor both feel that you haven’t had any significant weight loss since your lap band surgery. Many patients ask if their lap band can be removed after they’ve reached their target weight. The lap band is a long-term weight loss application, so if it’s removed you’ll likely regain the weight that you lost because your stomach will not feel full with small portions anymore. Therefore, without the band in you will likely eat the same sized larger portions as you did before your lap band surgery.
Women also wonder about pregnancy and the lap band. If you’re planning on getting pregnant, you don’t need to get the band removed. It is, however, advisable that you wait a year after your surgery before getting pregnant because this year is the time when most of the weight really comes off, and it’s important for your weight to stabilize beforehand. The band will still assist you with portion and hunger control during the pregnancy, but sometimes surgeons have different recommendations and need to adjust the band. Some even prefer the band be emptied before birth. Check with your doctor if you’re planning a pregnancy because at this time it’s very important to eat a well-balanced diet, take all of your supplements and feel well before you get pregnant.
Lap Band Slippage
Slippage is a common side effect of lap band surgery. The band can slip up or down from its original position in the stomach, causing a variety of symptoms and sometimes hindering your weight loss results. Decrease in appetite or the ability to eat more than usual are common symptoms. Nausea, vomiting, acid reflux and abdominal pain are also some discomforting signs. If you notice that your lap band moved out of place, talk to your surgeon so that you can figure out your options. If it’s a minor slip, it’s possible to easily deflate the band and readjust it back to its proper position. Moderate or severe slippage can result in reoperation or removal of the band. Read more about lap band slippage here.
Signs You Need a Removal
If you notice some of the following symptoms after your lap band surgery, you may need a lap band removal. Talk to your doctor or surgeon to discuss your discomfort and see what the best options are for your body. Here are some signs that the lap band may need to be taken out:
- Difficulty eating/swallowing
- Intolerance to certain foods
- Esophagus dilation
- Weight regain
- Insufficient weight loss
- Hiatal hernia
- Autoimmune symptoms
- Blood clots
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
Sometimes people experience a number of problems after their lap band surgery. It’s a great success for most patients, but the way each patient’s body responds to weight loss surgery can vary greatly. Remember that you do have options! Just because you need to get your lap band removed, it doesn’t mean that this is the end of your weight loss journey. Other bariatric surgeries can be performed for you in order to keep fighting and get down to your target weight. The laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass surgeries can be great surgical options for people who haven’t had much success with the band. In fact, studies show that patients who get these surgeries after lap band removal have achieved great weight loss success!
If you’re unhappy, uncomfortable or in pain due to your lap band, it may be time to try something different. Lap band removal is a common procedure, and you have many options to continue and progress your weight loss journey. Don’t give up! Schedule an appointment with Riverside today so that we can help you decide what options you have.