Bariatric surgery can be a life changing event. Weight loss may seem easier than ever and staying active and healthy become goals within reach. After several years, however, the results can sometimes plateau or even start to reverse. When this happens, it’s important to realize this is not a personal failure, but it might be time to consider revisional bariatric surgery.
What Is Revisional Bariatric Surgery?
Revisional bariatric surgery is performed to change or repair a previous weight loss surgery. It is a highly specialized medical procedure to treat complications from prior bariatric surgeries.
Obesity is a chronic disease and not easily treated. While most people experience success with weight loss surgery, if the first treatment is not effective, a bariatric revision may be needed as an additional treatment.
Advanced Laparoscopic Associates (ALA) of New Jersey is one of the only practices in the area with bariatric surgeons experienced enough to perform these complex surgeries. Whatever your issue may be, revision surgery may be the key to long-term success.
Types of Revisional Bariatric Surgery
Depending on your unique medical history and the complications you are experiencing, you and your doctor will decide the type of revisional bariatric surgery you will need. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), revision surgery can be divided into three types:
- Corrective. This is meant to fix problems from the original surgery.
- Conversion. This converts one type of bariatric surgery into another.
- Reversal. This reverses the stomach anatomy to its original form (although some types of bariatric surgery are irreversible).
More specifically, the types of weight loss procedures that can be revised are:
- Gastric band: Gastric bands are easily reversible and can be converted to gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, or SIPS
- Gastric Bypass: Gastric bypass connection sizes can be changed and corrected, as opposed to a conversion or reversal
- Gastric sleeve: Gastric sleeves can be re-sleeved, converted to a gastric bypass due to weight gain or severe GERD, or converted to duodenal switch
- SIPS: SIPS can be corrected if results aren’t satisfactory, or other surgical attempts may be modified to SIPS
Reasons for Revisional Bariatric Surgery
There are many reasons to consider having revisional bariatric surgery, including:
- Weight gain
- Inadequate weight loss
- Bowel obstruction
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Re-emergence of obesity-related conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or sleep apnea
- Formation of a fistula (a hole in the stomach or intestines)
Who Is a Candidate?
You may qualify for revisional weight loss surgery if your first bariatric procedure did not result in your optimal weight loss or if you’ve gained a significant amount of weight back. Regaining a small amount of weight after all bariatric surgeries is common.
If you start experiencing complications from your original procedure, you may qualify for a revisional bariatric surgery, as well. Talking with your doctor about your medical history and the cause of the weight loss failure will help you decide if revisional weight loss surgery is right for you.
Revisional bariatric procedures are usually successful in resolving associated problems and kickstarting further weight loss. However, while very safe, revision operations can be more complex and are higher risk operations than first-time bariatric surgeries. Even considering the risk, choosing not to perform them can be even more dangerous as health conditions could continue to worsen.
While bariatric surgery is a safe and effective treatment for obesity, it isn’t a cure. Gaining some weight after an initial bariatric surgery is normal, but if the weight gain starts to become more extreme, considering a revision to a different procedure, or a correction to the original procedure, may bring the weight back down.
If you are developing a new health condition or aren’t seeing the results you’ve been expecting from your bariatric surgery and are considering a revisional surgery, request an appointment with one of ALA’s expert bariatric surgeons today.