Health Care

What to do When Bariatric Surgery Doesn’t Work for You

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What happens when a patient loses weight after a bariatric procedure only to gain it back? Is there hope after bariatric surgery that didn’t work?

Gustavo Bello, MD, FACS, bariatric surgeon at AdventHealth Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery, says that weight loss surgery is effective about 80 percent of the time. When it does fail, the majority of the time it’s because the patient went back to their old eating habits. In occasional cases, the bariatric procedure may not have been effective and may warrant a revision. Such conditions include band slippage or blockage, or severe heartburn and reflux among others.

“Revision surgery for bariatric procedures is becoming more common,” says Dr. Bello. Depending on your unique needs, we may recommend either a revision, which modifies your original procedure, or a conversion, which replaces your procedure with a new solution.

Restoring a Bariatric Procedure so it Will Stay Effective

In some situations, the bariatric procedure that a patient undergoes was not the ideal fit from the start. This has been the case with the LAP-BAND procedure. The LAP-BAND limits the amount of food a patient can eat, but has little effect on hormones to make a person want to eat less and consume healthier foods. In this case, surgeons at AdventHealth Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery can remove the LAP-BAND and perform a new bariatric procedure such as a sleeve gastrectomy or a gastric bypass. This approach is called a “conversion” because the surgeon converts the LAP-BAND into another bariatric procedure.

“Different procedures need different corrections,” Dr. Bello explains. “Sometimes the stomach pouch has become enlarged, or, in the case of a gastric bypass, food is going through the stomach the old way.”

Dr. Bello says that while patients who previously had a gastric bypass cannot have another one, there are certain surgical options that can be done such as making the stomach pouch smaller if it’s too big, or lengthening the intestinal limbs.

Revision Surgery Won’t Fix a Poor Diet

While the surgeons at AdventHealth Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery can correct many bariatric procedures, Dr. Bello is quick to point out that more surgery won’t change a patient’s diet choices.

Dr. Bello doesn’t fault patients for their past diets. He states, “Twenty years ago when gastric bypasses were common, there was also poor education about diet.”

Patients now often need help to get their diets on track, which AdventHealth Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery offers through its comprehensive care continuum.

Setting Expectations for What Bariatric Surgery Revision Can Accomplish

“Weight loss is never as dramatic after a revision,” says Dr. Bello. He adds that initial bariatric surgery changes a patient’s hormones that influence appetite and fat storage in ways that can’t fully be benefited from again when a patient regains weight.

If patients can lose up to 75 percent of their excess weight after their initial bypass procedures, a revision may enable them to lose only up to 35 percent of that weight. However, the weight lost may still prove significant and improve a person’s life.

A Regional Hotspot for Revision Surgery

Our team at AdventHealth Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery are some of the only bariatric surgeons in the area willing to fix patients’ bariatric procedures.

“Revisions are an involved operation. They take longer than the initial bariatric procedure, and are more complicated,” Dr. Bello says. He adds that because prior surgery was performed in the same area in the body, patients go into the revision operation with tissues already scarred, which makes it more difficult for surgeons to work with.

Even so, the bariatric surgeons at AdventHealth Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery expertly complete revision procedures. They are experienced in performing them safely with low complication rates and high success rates. They’re happy to help patients get back on track to better health.

If you’ve had bariatric surgery and regained weight, or are experiencing other health issues like acid reflux, and you’re interested in knowing more about bariatric revision surgery, meet with a surgeon at AdventHealth Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery.

Schedule a virtual consultation today.

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