Gaining Weight Back After WLS: Surgical Options

Most people who go through weight loss surgery lose quite a bit of weight within the first several months to a year. However in some cases, there is weight gain further down the line. This usually begins happening several years later, and is more common in certain individuals. It is possible to prevent weight gain if you continue following the diet and exercise plan you were given. If you have gained some weight after your initial loss, there are also surgical options through bariatric revision surgery.

Risk Factors for Weight Gain After Surgery

It is important to first be aware of certain risk factors that make you more likely to gain weight after having weight loss from weight loss surgery. Not everyone gains their weight back, though if you fit within a risk factor, you can work harder to avoid it. Here are some common risk factors to be aware of:

You have a higher BMI – Your doctor probably urged you to try and lose as much as possible before your surgery. Part of this is because of the weight gain factor. The more you can lose before surgery, the less likely you are to gain back weight after your initial loss.

You suffer from substance abuse – If you use drugs or drink alcohol heavily, you are already at a higher risk for weight gain. Many habits you had before surgery may come back after a few years. By getting these under control before surgery, you lower you risk for weight gain considerably.

Mental state before surgery – If you suffer from mental disorders like anxiety or depression, you also have a higher risk for binge eating, which means you are also at risk of weight gain.

Your Surgical Options

If you have started gaining weight after losing post-bariatric surgery, your doctor will first try to assess where the problem lies. If it has to do with lack of dieting and exercise, or your lifestyle in general, that is usually the first thing addressed. However in some cases, it has more to do with the procedure itself. In this case, a surgical option called revision surgery is then recommended.

Types of Revision Surgery

There are four main types of weight loss revision surgery: adjustable gastric band, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, StomaphyX. The type of procedure you need depends on the amount of weight gain, what went wrong with your original surgery and what type of weight loss surgery you had to begin with.

Adjustable gastric band – This procedure uses a prosthetic device made with an inflatable silicone around the top of the stomach. This makes it so it can be adjusted by a physician at any time.

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass – The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure is done after an unsuccessful gastric banding or stomach stapling. It is performed laparoscopically and causes the food to bypass most of the stomach, into a small pocket.

Sleeve gastrectomy – A significant part of the stomach is removed with a sleeve gastrectomy, making it a non-reversible revision surgery for previous bariatric surgery patients.

StomaphyX – This is all done through an endoscopic technique to tighten the gastric pouch done during a previous weight loss surgery.

These types of surgical options are available to patients that had some weight loss, but then something went wrong and they began gaining the weight back. In others, the original procedure was unsuccessful, requiring a revision surgery.