Band Removal

Do you do lap bands? It is usually the first thing that I am asked when telling people that I am a Bariatric surgeon. I am very passionate about what I do, and often explain to friends and family that (almost) no surgeon in Australia performs laparoscopic adjustable gastric bands (lap bands) anymore.

It is important to note that the number of lap bands placed in Australia is almost zero! It was a common form of surgery but is no longer recommended due to intolerance and high revision rates. Lap bands also have poor long-term weight loss outcomes compared with other bariatric surgeries. The number being removed though is significant. Most lap bands need removal by 10 years.

There is still a lot of information on surgeon’s websites, as well as over google, and I think this may be because lap bands are still being searched for. There are also a lot of people in Adelaide, South Australia and even around Australia who still have their lap band in.

If you currently have a lap band in and are having issues, please come and see Dr Balalis and the team – some people have not had their band looked at in many years!

All surgeries come with their own risks and benefits, but there are now very safe and more effective weight-loss procedures available. These include the sleeve gastrectomy, one anastomosis gastric bypass and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, all surgeries which Dr Balalis offers.

WHY DR BALALIS DOES NOT OFFER LAP BANDS

Most often a Lap band will eventually have to be replaced or removed. Medical devices often have a shelf life, and this includes the gastric band. Many patients have the band removed because it slips or deteriorates to the point of needing replacement surgery. The short-term results for Lap banding patients seem positive, but over time people may experience weight gain or other complications.

Complications include band deterioration/intolerance, slippage or even erosion, all of which require follow-up surgery.

In other cases, people choose to have their bands removed because of the poor quality of life, lack of weight-loss results and potentially serious side effects.

Studies have consistently shown other procedures are more effective than gastric banding. Sleeve gastrectomy, one anastomosis gastric bypass and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, all offered by Dr Balalis, are effective and proven ways to lose weight and improve other co-morbidities.

THE PROCESS?

Following a consultation and interrogation of your gastric band and port (may have been a long time), Dr Balalis will need to perform an endoscopy prior to removal of your lap band, to ensure that it is not eroded through your stomach (0.5% risk). He will then discuss a time for removal. This is performed laparoscopically, or ‘keyhole’. Some patients prefer to have this done as day surgery, where others have their band removal as an overnight stay.

There is a recovery period like all surgeries, but most patients in office type work are back at around 1-2 weeks. This can be further discussed with Dr Balalis during a consultation.

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