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What to do about the failed lap band?

Posted on 08 Dec, 2012

Lap bands carry a high failure rate.

In recent years, about 20 000 lap bands were placed in Australia  per year.

We can expect to see problems arising from lap bands.


There is a high failure rate associated with lap bands. There is:


1. Failure to lose weight

2. Erosion of band

3. Unable to tolerate band – constant reflux, vomiting, pains

So what are the options for a failed lap band?

1. Do nothing:  this is not good. Weight loss is a life long journey and we should not give up with small obstacle.

2. Remove the band: ok and then what?


One of the solutions is to remove the lap band and then after three months, proceed to sleeve gastrectomy.

This process does carry risks. Due to the scarring created by the band, there is an increased complication rate.

There is a higher leak rate, quoted at about 5%. Leak from the gastric sleeve staple line can cause death, lengthy hospital stay, ventilation in intensive care and the need for multiple major operations. It could require several months in hospital.

There is a ten per cent failure rate – that is, ten per cent of patients undergoing a gastric sleeve after lap band do not lose weight. In fact, some gain weight.

The weight loss is not predictable.

Dr. Ken Wong has converted many failed bands into gastric sleeves but would still advise caution before undergoing such surgery.