Benefits and Risks

Advantages of Gastric Banding

The LAP-BAND® gastric banding procedure eliminates many of the risks associated with other surgical weight loss options.

Benefits of the surgery include:

  • Minimal Trauma
  • Fewer Risks and Side Effects
  • Adjustable
  • Reversible

Minimal Trauma

  • Least invasive surgical option
  • No intestinal re-routing
  • No cutting or stapling of the stomach wall or bowel
  • Small incisions and minimal scarring
  • Reduced patient pain, length of hospital stay and recovery period

Fewer Risks and Side Effects

  • Significantly lower mortality risk than other obesity surgery procedures (2)
  • Lower risk of nutritional deficiencies
  • Reduced risk of hair loss
  • No "dumping syndrome" related to dietary intake restrictions


  • Allows individualized degree of restriction for ideal, long-term weight-loss rate
  • Adjustments performed without additional surgery
  • Supports pregnancy by allowing stomach outlet size to be opened for increased nutritional needs


  • Removable at any time
  • Stomach and other anatomy are generally restored to their original forms and functions

Risks of Gastric Banding

Gastric banding surgery is not right for everyone. Talk to your surgeon about the following risks, then work together to decide if this is the right treatment for you.

  • General Surgery Risks
  • Risks of Gastric Banding Surgery
  • Removing the Band
  • Learn More

General Surgery Risks

Gastric banding surgery includes the same risks that come with all major surgeries. Complications range from mild symptoms of discomfort, like nausea, to very serious complications, including death. Many of these problems may require re-hospitalization or additional surgery. Risk increases with obesity, increased age, pre-existing illness, and use of certain medications.

Risks of Gastric Banding Surgery

There are additional risks that are directly related to weight loss surgery and the placement of the gastric band. In some cases, the device may need to be removed to manage adverse reactions. The device may also need to be removed, repositioned or replaced if you aren't losing as much weight as you and your doctor feel you should be losing.

Removing the Band

If the LAP-BAND gastric banding system has been placed laparoscopically, it may be possible to remove it the same way. This is an advantage of gastric banding. However, an "open" procedure may be necessary to remove a band. In a U.S. Clinical Study, 60% of the bands that were removed were done laparoscopically. Surgeons report that after the band is removed, the stomach returns to essentially a normal state.

At this time, there are no known reasons to suggest that the band should be replaced or removed at some point unless a complication occurs or you do not lose weight. It is difficult, though, to say whether the band will stay in place for the rest of your life. It may need to be removed or replaced at some point. Removing the device requires a surgical procedure. That procedure will have all the related risks and possible complications that come with surgery. The risk of some complications, such as erosions and infection, increase with any added procedure.

Learn More

Talk to your doctor to learn more about the specific risks involved with this procedure. Be sure that you understand any medical terms used. When you understand both the benefits and risks of the surgery, take time to consider all of them carefully.