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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 ReShape Lap-Band Systems are approved for adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of at least 30 with health conditions related to obesity, who have not seen success with other weight loss methods, like supervised diet, exercise, and behavior modification programs. Choosing this surgery means committing to changes in eating habits for the long term.

The Lap-Band procedure is not approved for individuals under 18 yo, those with conditions that may make them poor surgical candidates or lead to poor results, such as inflammatory or cardiopulmonary diseases, problems with the stomach and digestion, symptoms or family history of autoimmune disease, scarring of the liver, individuals unable or unwilling to follow the necessary dietary restrictions, individuals with alcohol or drug addictions, or those currently pregnant. Individuals who become pregnant after band placement may require deflation of their bands.

The ReShape Lap-Band Systems, a long-term tool, may need to be adjusted if you get pregnant, sick, or malnourished. Be careful with anti-inflammatory drugs as they could make the band wear away. Like any surgery, placement of the Lap-Band may have complications such as risks from drugs and methods used, general surgery risks, how well your body handles a foreign object, or in rare cases, risk of death.

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with metabolic and bariatric surgery that you and your doctor should discuss. Potential risks associated with the Lap-Band include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, stomach blockage, constipation, swallowing difficulty, diarrhea, abnormal stools, abdominal pain, weakness, incision pain, infection, fever, hernia, chest pain, band movement, stomach pouch expansion, unusual healing, pain at the port site, port movement, and/or hair loss. Additional surgery might be needed. Losing weight quickly could lead to complications requiring more surgery. 

Talk to your doctor, and/or visit our website at for more information on its benefits and risks.