Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band Removal: Before Your Surgery

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Esophagus and stomach, with a detail of the esophagus, diaphragm, gastric band, and stomach

What is adjustable laparoscopic gastric band removal?

Lap band surgery is another name for laparoscopic gastric banding. It's surgery to help people lose weight. A gastric band creates a small pouch in the stomach. The pouch limits how much food you can eat. But in some cases, it doesn't work as well as hoped. The band may be removed. People have their bands removed for different reasons. Some people don't lose enough weight. They might have problems with acid reflux or eating solid foods. Or they might have it removed if their doctor thinks there's a chance that the band has slipped or eroded.

You will be asleep during the surgery. The doctor will make several small cuts in your belly. These cuts are called incisions. Then the doctor puts special tools and a camera through the incisions. Next, the doctor cuts and removes the band and connected tube and port through the incisions. Then the incisions are closed with stitches. The stitches will dissolve on their own.

You may be able to go home the same day as your surgery. Sometimes the removal involves more repairs. If so, you may need to stay in the hospital for 1 to 3 days after the surgery. Most people can go back to work or their usual routine in about 1 to 4 weeks.

How do you prepare for surgery?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your surgery. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
  • Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance directive. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be canceled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions about when to bathe or shower before your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
  • Take off all jewelry and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery center

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. You will be asleep during the surgery.
  • The surgery will take about an hour. If the band has eroded, the surgery may take longer.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
  • You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.