As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications that can occur. Although these problems rarely happen, it’s important to know the facts.

If you're considering a gastric band, we encourage you to attend an information seminar offered by a trained surgeon.

Some risks associated with gastric banding

  • Migration of implant (band erosion, band slippage, port displacement)
  • Tubing-related complications (port disconnection, tubing)
  • Band leak
  • Esophageal spasm
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Inflammation of the esophagus or stomach
  • Port-site infection

Note: Bariatric and metabolic surgery complications may result in band adjustment or re-operation. Ask your doctor for a description of the risks and side effects.

Adjusting to the newly implanted band

The recovery experience varies from person to person. As you get used to the implant, these are some typical side effects and discomforts you may encounter:

  • Regurgitation
  • Nausea
  • Acid reflux
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

However, if you have abdominal pain that lasts more than 3 hours, you should contact your surgeon right away or go to your local emergency room.

Significant weight loss and gallstones

People who lose a lot of weight, regardless of the weight loss method, are at a high risk for developing gallstones. Surgery or other procedures may be necessary to remove the stones and/or the gallbladder. There may be other side effects that are specific to you. You should report any unusual symptoms to your surgeon.

Some risks associated with bariatric and metabolic surgery

  • Abdominal hernia
  • Chest pain
  • Collapsed lung
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Enlarged heart
  • Gallstones, pain from passing a gallstone, inflammation of the gallbladder, or surgery to remove the gallbladder
  • Gastrointestinal inflammation or swelling
  • Stoma obstruction
  • Stretching of the stomach
  • Surgical procedure repeated
  • Vomiting and nausea

Note: Your weight, age, and medical history play a significant role in determining your specific risks. Your surgeon can inform you about your specific bariatric and metabolic surgery risks.

Some risks associated with abdominal surgery

  • Bleeding
  • Pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Pneumonia
  • Complications due to anesthesia and medications
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Injury to stomach, esophagus, or surrounding organs
  • Infection
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Stroke or heart attack
  • Death

Note: Risks are associated with any type of surgery, including abdominal surgery. These risks are greater for individuals who suffer from obesity.


Metabolic and bariatric surgery is as safe or safer than other commonly performed procedures, including gallbladder surgery.(27,54) When performed at a Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery Center of Excellence, bariatric and metabolic surgery has a mortality rate of 0.13 percent. This means that out of 10,000 people who have this kind of surgery, on average 9,987 will survive surgery and 13 will not.(27) Gallbladder removals have a mortality rate of 0.4 percent. This means of 10,000 people who have their gallbladder removed, on average 9,960 people will survive surgery and 40 will not.(54)

All surgeries present risks. These risks vary depending on weight, age, and medical history, and patients should discuss these with their doctor and bariatric and metabolic surgeon.

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