Gastric band removal

What is gastric band removal?

A gastric band is a form of bariatric surgery, designed to help obese patients lose weight. A gastric band is an adjustable band or ring placed around the top of the stomach, which restricts the amount of food the stomach can hold. This means that patients eat less and feel full quicker. Together, this helps patients to lose weight. However, in some cases, a gastric band can fail and will require removal. This is usually due to a complication related to the gastric band.

Why is it done?

A gastric band will need to be removed in the following circumstances:

  • If it slips out of place
  • If it erodes
  • If it leaks or deflates
  • If it slowly works its way through the wall of the stomach
  • If a bad infection develops
  • If the patient suffers severe acid reflux following gastric band surgery
  • If the patient was unable to lose weight
  • Voluntarily, after weight is lost and kept off for a suitable duration

What does it involve?

Having a gastric band removed usually requires just a one night stay in hospital, and can be done using minimally-invasive techniques (laparoscopically). The laparoscopic instruments are inserted through small incisions (or the old incisions used to insert the gastric band). Scar tissue around the band is cut through, allowing removal of the band. Any sutures in the stomach to help with the original placement of the gastric band are removed as well. Once all the incisions are closed, the patient will usually remain overnight for observation.

How do you prepare for gastric band removal?

As with many surgeries, you will likely be required to fast for several hours prior to your gastric band removal.


Once your anaesthesia has worn off, you can usually return home to recover. You will likely start to regain weight following removal of your gastric band, meaning alternative bariatric surgery is usually required to maintain a healthier weight.

Alternatives to this treatment:

Some patients who do not get on well with a gastric band can sometimes benefit more from a gastric sleeve operation instead. A gastric sleeve is when a section of stomach is removed to reduce the overall size of the stomach. A smaller stomach size, reduces the possibility of overeating, helping the patient to feel full sooner and to lose weight.

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