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Does the Lap-Band® need to be removed if I become pregnant?

July 19, 2019

If you’re considering undergoing bariatric surgery, you have several choices. One of the main draws of the Gastric Band, or Lap-Band®, is that it involves no partial amputation of the stomach or digestive tract. The Lap-Band is completely adjustable to your body’s changing needs, and, if the need arises, it can also be removed. 

When considering weight-loss surgery, one of the most common questions asks if pregnancy is possible after Lap-Band surgery. Not only is it possible, but because the Lap-Band is adjustable, the gastric band can remain in place during pregnancy. Some people opt to have it adjusted during their pregnancy or removed altogether once their goal weight is achieved. It’s important to consider your options before removing the Lap-Band during pregnancy. 

Lap-Band advantages

One of the major benefits of the Lap-Band is that it is non-anatomy altering, adjustable, and removable. The minimally invasive Lap-Band Program allows for a quick recovery time in which most patients can head home on the same day as their surgery. The procedure is performed with just a few small incisions and is completed laparoscopically. However, it is not recommended that the band is removed once patients reach their goal weight. Weight loss with Lap-Band is gradual, and patients can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week. 

The Lap-Band is considered a tool in the weight-loss process. Its success is determined in conjunction with the other important steps patients take, including an exercise regimen and a healthy diet with balanced portions. The Lap-Band helps patients control portion size, and when it is removed, patients may no longer feel satisfied with smaller portions. Removal of the band may cause patients to begin eating larger meals, causing the potential for weight regain. 

Lap-Band removal

Removing it is not advised once you reach your goal weight. However—though uncommon—if patients experience complications such as food intolerance, heartburn or acid reflux, band slippage or erosion, or Esophageal Dilation, the Gastric Band may be safely removed. Removal is completed laparoscopically. 

The Lap-Band and pregnancy

Many women wonder if they can become pregnant after the Lap-Band procedure or if they will need to have the band removed. Though it is safe to have the Lap-Band while pregnant, it is recommended that patients don’t get pregnant until at least a year or two after the procedure. Patients typically lose most of their weight in the first year, so it is advised that patients wait until their weight stabilizes to become pregnant with the Lap-Band.

During pregnancy, the Lap-Band can help with safe portion control; it is a common misconception that women must “eat for two” while pregnant. The Lap-Band can be adjusted during pregnancy to allow for larger portions if needed. Some surgeons will recommend that the band is emptied before giving birth, but patients should speak with their doctors regarding their pregnancy and the Lap-Band.  

For more information on pregnancy and the Lap-Band, register for our online seminar or call 1-800-LAPBAND.

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Important Lap-Band® System Safety Information

The Lap-Band System is indicated for weight reduction for patients with obesity, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 40 kg/m2 or a BMI of at least 30 kg/m2 with one or more obesity-related comorbid conditions. It is indicated for use only in adult patients who have failed more conservative weight reduction alternatives, such as supervised diet, exercise and behavior modification programs. Patients who elect to have this surgery must make the commitment to accept significant changes in their eating habits for the rest of their lives.

The Lap-Band System is not recommended for non-adult patients (patients under 18 years of age), patients with conditions that may make them poor surgical candidates or increase the risk of poor results, who are unwilling or unable to comply with the required dietary restrictions, or who currently are or may be pregnant.

The Lap-Band System is a long-term implant. Explant and replacement surgery may be required. Patients who become pregnant or severely ill, or who require more extensive nutrition may require deflation of their bands. Anti-inflammatory agents, such as aspirin, should be used with caution and may contribute to an increased risk of band erosion.

Placement of the Lap-Band System is major surgery and, as with any surgery, death can occur. Possible complications include the risks associated with the medications and methods used during surgery, the risks associated with any surgical procedure, and the patient’s ability to tolerate a foreign object implanted in the body. Most common related adverse events include: Band slippage, pouch dilation, stoma obstruction, gastroesophageal reflux, esophageal dilation, cholelithiasis, incisional infection, abdominal pain, gastroenteritis, or nausea and vomiting may occur. Reoperation may be required. Rapid weight loss may result in complications that may require additional surgery. Deflation of the band may alleviate excessively rapid weight loss or esophageal dilation.

Important: For full safety information please click here or talk with your doctor.