A gastric band is a bariatric surgical option involving placing a band around the upper part of your stomach. It reduces the size of your stomach, so you feel fuller faster. The gastric band is a low-risk solution for weight loss, so many people choose it over other bariatric surgical options.
However, the gastric band isn’t always as effective as many patients hope it will be. This is one reason why gastric band removal is sometimes a necessary outcome.
At Bergen Bariatric and Surgical Solutions P.C., we want you to have the best options available, including removing the gastric band. Dr. Mikhail A. Botvinov understands when this type of procedure is necessary and how best to provide the long-term outcomes you desire.
Gastric band removal 101
As previously stated, many people choose the gastric band over another bariatric procedure (e.g., the standard Roux-en-Y gastric bypass) because it is less invasive, offers few risks, and is removable. But this doesn’t always mean it’s the best option. In fact, the gastric bypass has been found to provide better weight loss outcomes than the gastric band.
Why is this? For one, the gastric band is a temporary solution. It can stop working well after a while, or the band can slip and cause problems. It also requires a reliance on a foreign object inside the body, which doesn’t always work out well. Finally, the band is less effective with other comorbidities, such as Type 2 diabetes.
Some people do decide to have the gastric band removed months or even years after getting it. In general, you should always discuss your goals and health needs with your provider to make the best decision for you.
When you should consider removing your gastric band
When you no longer see effective results
Gastric bands often cause slower, less intensive weight loss than that associated with a gastric bypass or the gastric sleeve. If you do not see the kind of weight loss you were hoping for and know this could potentially be a health risk, you might want to consider removing the band.
This could also allow you the potential to choose another option. For example, if you felt you weren’t ready for the commitment of a gastric bypass before, but you may be now, you can discuss gastric band removal and the option to follow it with a gastric bypass.
When the band isn’t working correctly
Gastric bands that continue to slip or do not do their job correctly may need to be removed. It’s also sometimes possible for the pouch above the stomach to dilate or for more stomach tissue to slip through the band, widening the pouch and making it less effective for weight loss.
When your health is at risk
In some rare cases, gastric bands can cause serious health problems. They can grow into the stomach, which is dangerous or can potentially cause an infection. Other possible dangers are esophageal dysmotility and problems swallowing.
Sometimes, the band might not put you in danger, but it could make it harder for you to live your day-to-day life. The gastric band can cause or worsen the symptoms of GERD (a condition that causes heartburn and stomach upset), which may make you uncomfortable much of the time. In these instances, removing the band can be better for your overall quality of life.
Life after gastric band removal
There are other options for bariatric surgery, natural weight loss, and a healthy, happy life, should you choose to have the gastric band removed. To learn more, visit us at our Westwood, NJ, office. Call 201-778-5344, or make an appointment online.