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How To Remove A Gastric Band

sharma-obesity-adjustable-gastric-banding2When adjustable gastric banding was first introduced as a treatment for severe obesity, it was touted not only as a surgically simple procedure (which it is) but also as having the advantage of being “reversible”.

Unfortunately, as many patients who have had bands implanted only to discover that they either did not work or created all kinds of other problems, “simply” removing the band was often anything but “simple”.

Moreover, as with any obesity treatment, removing the band (or in other words, stopping the treatment) virtually guarantees weight regain, leaving the patients often back to where they were (if not worse off) than before the operation.

In reality this means that when bands need to be removed, they often have to be followed by a more definitive procedure like a sleeve gastrectomy (SG) or a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) (the operations that should probably have been done in the first place).

The debate that continues to rage between surgeons, is whether or not it is safer to remove the band and do the more definitive operation within a single procedure or in two separate operations.

Now my colleague Jerry Dang from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, has published a systematic review and meta-analysis of the two approaches in Obesity Surgery.

According to their analysis of 11 studies that included 1370 patients, there was no difference in the rates of complications, morbidity, or mortality between one-step and two-step revisions for both RYGB and SG groups.

Thus, the authors conclude that both immediate or delayed revisional bariatric surgeries are reasonable and comparable options for band revisions.

Overall however, this should not distract from the fact that a band removal in itself can be a difficult operation with its own set of complications and given the number of bands that have to be removed, it may be best be recommended that preference be given to doing an SG or RYGB as the primary procedure.

Fortunately, this is indeed proving to be the practice at an increasing number of surgical centres.

Edmonton, AB


  1. Is there a surgeon you can recommend in Alberta that will remove a band? I have a Slimband and I need to have it removed.

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  2. I too have a slim band and really had no support. I am the same as when I got it over 9 years ago. I want to remove it and do something else. I do have chest like pains that come and go and so far with heart testing I am good there. So I really believe it is to do with this. I live in the Vancouver area Do u have any recommendations.

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  3. Is there a surgeon in Toronto you can recommend that will remove my band. Had done slimband 10 years ago.

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    • Dr Urbach, Women’s College Hospital

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  4. Is there a forum or group somewhere for support for people going through this same issue? My partner has Slimband, was installed in the private clinic in Toronto in 2010/2011 ( I’d have to check the records for the exact year) but he has all of the major issues that I’ve been reading that other patients have… Its terrible. Pain, vomiting constantly, nothing can stay down some days, not even water. Slimband has provided no support whatsoever since the band had been installed. He has been on a waiting list to see a Nutritionist in Atlantic Canada for over ten years, so we are not holding our breath for that one. We need direction on how to get this removed, in New Brunswick preferably but can travel to any location in the Atlantic provinces. I am hoping that someone has any advice for us.

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  5. I have a Slimband. I had the procedure done in 2012. It causes many problems and I need to have it removed, can you help? Or what advice can you offer me, please

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