Candidates either have insufficient weight loss or serious complications such as:
- Band erosion
- Band infection
- Excessive nausea/vomiting or discomfort and pain (band intolerance)
- Band slippage
- Difficulty swallowing due to dilation of the esophagus
- Gastrointestinal reflux disease
- Pouch dilation
- Port infection
Candidates who do not suffer from any side effects or serious complications do not require lap band removal, as the band is designed for long-term use.
A period of consultation to determine how and if the gastric lap band has failed is required prior to gastric lap band removal. Like other surgeries, gastric lap band removal may require you to undergo certain general surgery procedures such as preoperative blood testing, medications, and cessation of smoking or use of pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Recovery is similar to lap band insertion and begins with a slow and gradual healing and readjustment process as you adjust to eating smaller portions of food. Pain in the first 2 to 3 days after surgery in the upper left part of the abdomen is common, but can be managed with pain relievers. Pain should be minimal to nonexistent by 2 to 3 weeks after the surgery. Although light walking is suggested soon after surgery, strenuous exercise should be avoided for the first few weeks.
If the removal is performed without a subsequent conversion to gastric bypass or gastric sleeve, your stomach should return to its normal size, which will induce greater pangs of hunger. This may make it difficult to sustain diet and exercise changes.
As with any surgery, there are risks of complications related to infection, bleeding or the potential of adverse reactions to anesthesia, such as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Scarring is also an issue, as with all surgical procedures. The removal procedure is more technically challenging than insertion, and thus, is a riskier procedure.