Gastric Banding Surgery

Gastric banding surgery utilises an adjustable gastric band made of soft silicone and equipped with a firmly attached inflatable cuff. Using laparoscopic surgery, the band is positioned around the upper part of the stomach, to create a small (15-20 mL) pouch of stomach above the band. Stomach banding, or lap band surgery, is a form of bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) that assists with weight loss.

The Lap Band Operation

At Western Surgical Health our surgeons are leading weight loss surgeons in Perth. When gastric band surgery is performed, it is usually done via keyhole surgery. Five small incisions are made in the abdomen to introduce a laparoscope, instruments and the adjustable gastric band. This is positioned at the upper end of the stomach. Once the lap band is placed in position, the connecting tube and access port are inserted and secured to the upper abdominal wall. All incisions are finally closed using absorbable sutures. These do not need to be removed. Your surgeons at Western Surgical Health in Perth will outline the costs associated with your gastric banding surgery and follow-up in our very successful RESHAPE Programme.

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How Much Weight will I Lose with Gastric Band Surgery?

With gastric banding, weight will be lost gradually and should commence immediately after surgery. The amount of weight loss depends partly on the amount of fluid injected into the balloon to provide a feeling of satiety, but more importantly, the amount of weight loss in the long-term will depend on the patient.

The recommended rate of weight loss we would like to see is 0.5 – 1.0 kg per week. On average it is expected that 50-60% excess weight will be lost long term.

This will mean a long-term commitment of follow-up appointments with your bariatric clinic. At our clinic there is a team dedicated to your goal of weight reduction and to the management of any complications that may arise from the gastric band.

Gastric Band Surgery Risks

Gastric banding complications are rare; however, this form of weight loss surgery is not always without complications. The weight of the patient and his/her other health conditions can sometimes have a role to play.

There are risks that are common to all types of operations.

These risks increase with age, weight and whether the patient has a heart condition, diabetes or hypertension. Risks include cardiovascular problems such as heart attack or thrombosis.

Another possible risk is infection of the wounds or failure of the wounds to heal properly (approximately 2%). Wound infection can be a problem for all patients undergoing a bariatric operation but is more likely to occur in patients with diabetes. Special measures involving antibiotics and skin antiseptics will be used to ensure that these problems remain at a minimum.

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Gastric band surgery is very safe; however, complications can occur in a small number of patients with this form of weight loss surgery. It is important that you fully understand the risks associated with and discuss this matter with your Surgeon before you decide to have this operation. There are no guarantees that the gastric band will work without fault for the rest of your life. However, extensive use of the gastric band since 1985 demonstrates that it works well and can be complication free giving long term weight loss results.

Post Operation Problems

Vomiting / Regurgitation

Patients may have trouble adjusting to new eating habits. Some repeatedly eat too quickly or eat too much and then regurgitate. Our follow-up RESHAPE Programme includes five consultations with our specialist dietitian who will assist with your diet after gastric banding surgery.

Infection of the port

An infection may develop in the port area or abdomen and in some instances the infection may involve the band. If this is the case, then further surgery may be necessary. It is very important that you do not let anyone apart from your surgeon or a bariatric physician inject or remove fluid from your port. Infections can occur if the proper aseptic technique is not employed.

Infection of the wound or band

This is a relatively uncommon (approximately 1-2%) complication but would need treatment that consists of drainage of the infection, antibiotics, possible removal of the band, catheter and port.


Leakage from the gastric band or from the connecting tube between the balloon and the port may occur.

Please remember it is important that only an experienced person such as your surgeon or bariatric physician be allowed to manipulate the amount of fluid in your band. In the event of leakage, the gastric band will normally be replaced with a new one. This will involve further surgery.

Slippage of the band and pouch – enlargement

This is a major long-term concern that occurs in approximately 3% of people. The band may slip and the pouch (the part of the stomach above the band) may become too large. This problem can arise months or years after the procedure.

Band Erosion

This is a major complication. If erosion does take place the band would need to be removed by either an endoscopy or a further surgical procedure.


The symptoms of “heartburn” plus regurgitation arises when the opening/outlet from the small stomach pouch is too tight. This can usually be avoided by not eating or drinking for 2-3 hours before lying down or going to bed. The persistent reflux symptoms may also be alleviated by having some fluid removed from the gastric band.

Other problems include acid erosion of teeth, gallstones, hernia in the incision, flabby skin and nutrient deficiency.

Please discuss any of these problems with our clinic multidisciplinary team. If you have concerns about any other complications which have not been addressed above, please raise these concerns with either your surgeon or bariatric physician. These are the main gastric banding side effects. Speak to your surgeon for further information.

Weight Loss Surgeons

Prof Jeff Hamdorf AM
Prof Jeff Hamdorf AMSurgeon

Upper Gastrointestinal and Bariatric Surgeon based  in Nedlands. Professor Hamdorf established Western Surgical Health, leader in team approach to morbid obesity. MORE

Dr Sue Taylor
Dr Sue TaylorSurgeon

Doctor Sue Taylor is a leading female general surgeon in Perth, who pioneered the Reshape team approach to weight loss surgery as a Bariatric Surgeon. MORE

Dr Ruth Blackham
Dr Ruth BlackhamSurgeon

Ruth is a Consultant General Surgeon and Bariatric Surgeon. She has specialised extensively in Bariatric medicine since finishing her undergraduate degree in Medicine and Surgery in 2004. She is a trainer and facilitator for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and Senior Lecturer with the University of Western Australia. MORE

Contact Us Now

At Western Surgical Health in Perth, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Our care is unique in that we provide highly specialised professionals all at one location to support you in your surgery

.Our team includes:

– Specialised Bariatric Surgeons (both male and female)
– General Surgeons (both male and female)
– Gastric Banding Surgery (both male and female)
– Accredited Practising Dietitians
– Specialised Psychologists