Many patients have found success in their weight-loss journey through bariatric procedures, but a number of patients have also had bariatric surgery with less than optimal results. Sometimes the failure is due to side effects from the original surgery, and other times patients won’t lose the amount of weight they expected to lose after bariatric surgery and want the surgery repeated. There are more risks associated with a bariatric revision surgery than the original procedure, but many patients find the results they are looking for with their second weight loss surgery.
The first step in the process of a revision bariatric procedure is an evaluation by a surgeon. They will tell you whether the results you experienced the first time around were typical and evaluate whether you are a candidate for revision surgery. Sometimes revision surgery involves repeating the same procedure that was originally performed, while other patients opt to try another form of bariatric surgery for better results.
Types of Revision Surgeries
There are four procedures that are commonly performed on patients who have undergone failed stomach stapling procedures. They are Lap-Band surgery, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy revision. Patients should talk to their doctor about the benefits and risks of each of these procedures before deciding which procedure is best for them.
- Lap-Band surgery is a procedure during which an inflatable device made of silicone is placed around a portion of the patient’s stomach. The procedure is minimally invasive and is commonly performed on patients who have regained the weight they lost following gastroplasty (commonly referred to as “stomach stapling”) or other procedures.
- Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is also a common revision technique. Sometimes a previous gastroplasty can be revised with a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. The average recovery time from this procedure is just two weeks. Patients who undergo this procedure are usually required to take multivitamins to prevent the formation of stomach ulcers as well as complications due to vitamin deficiency.
- Sleeve gastronomy is a procedure in which a large portion of the stomach is removed. The portion of the stomach that remains in the body is reshaped like a tube. This procedure decreases hunger and increases satiety, leading to improved health and weight loss.
Most revision surgeries cannot be performed laparoscopically, even if the original surgery was performed this way. This means that the surgery is invasive and carries more risks than a standard laparoscopic procedure. The procedure usually takes longer than the original surgery and the recovery period may also be longer. The exact risks each patient experiences depend on the amount of scarring from their previous surgery, which procedure that was, and the one they are considering.
Patients who undergo revision bariatric surgery usually experience improvements in the negative side-effects they were experiencing from their first surgery, including ulcers, hernia, chronic vomiting, and staple line failure. Most patients also experience an improvement in the amount of weight loss they experience after surgery.
Patients should address the reasons that their weight-loss surgery was ineffective the first time. Many patients undergo revision surgery because of complications from the first surgery, but others are unable or unwilling to comply with the lifestyle changes that come with weight-loss surgery. Many patients need more support after their second weight-loss surgery. Most surgeons offer support groups to their patients and may suggest individual counseling.
Many patients ultimately reach their goal after opting for a revision surgery. There are many options available, and patients should speak with their doctor about which revision surgery is best suited to their particular case.