Gastric bypass revision is a surgical procedure to correct a failed gastric bypass, with the goal of helping the patient lose weight. Patients may need revisions for a variety of reasons, and a doctor will perform a careful evaluation to determine if this procedure is medically indicated. There are several options for revision surgery. Patients can discuss them with a doctor to decide on the best approach for their needs.
After a gastric bypass, patients should start to lose weight, often very rapidly and within a very short period of time. The weight loss is due both to food restriction and changed metabolism. If the patient starts gaining weight again, the weight loss does not proceed as expected, or complications like severe stomach pain develop, the patient may need a gastric bypass revision. Sometimes, the stomach and surrounding structures dilate over time, allowing the patient to eat more, or other problems develop. Even surgeons with a very good record can experience failure.
When gastric bypass appears to have failed, the first step is to ask the patient to keep a food and activity diary. It may be possible to address the problem with dietary modifications, more exercise, and other nonsurgical measures. Patients are sometimes surprised to find themselves slipping back into high calorie eating habits, and controlling the diet again may get the patient back on track with weight loss. If the patient is clearly following directions and eating reasonably, it may be time to consider gastric bypass revision.
Most gastric bypass revision procedures involve minimally invasive techniques. It may be possible to insert instruments down the throat, rather than making incisions. The doctor will use these endoscopic surgical tools to reshape the stomach pouch and make any other necessary changes. This procedure requires general anesthesia, and when patients are brought into recovery, they are usually encouraged to get active as soon as possible to prevent blood clots and other surgical complications. For several weeks after gastric bypass revision, the patient will need to eat a liquid and then soft diet while the stomach recovers.
Gastric bypass patients are understandably eager to avoid revision, if at all possible. They can ask their surgeons about failure rates to get an idea of how successful the surgery will be, and can also get tips from doctors and nutritionists on making the most out of gastric bypass surgery. Ultimately, even with an excellent surgeon and a very compliant patient, some gastric bypasses randomly fail, and patients should remain alert to warning signs of problems.