Ask the Expert: Revisional bariatric surgery

While many patients have success with safe, long-term weight loss after bariatric surgery, there are instances when revision of the surgery may be required. For those who are experiencing recurring complications, such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, severe gastric reflux, or malnutrition, a qualified bariatric surgeon with expertise in revisional procedures can determine if corrective surgery is the right course of action.

Candidates for revisional bariatric surgery may no longer be comfortable socializing or exercising, and they may be in pain or malnourished. In the case of severe gastric reflux, they may also be at high risk of esophageal cancer.

The goal of revisional bariatric surgery is to correct the underlying problem by adjusting or removing an original bariatric device, such as a lap-band, and in some cases performing a new bariatric procedure that is more appropriate for the patient’s body and current condition. These include sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass.

Patients should expect revisional surgery to be more complex than their original bariatric surgery, which may include a longer recovery time; however, the revision should enhance their overall quality of life.

By Alex Gandsas, MD, a bariatric surgeon and director of AAMC’s Weight Loss and Metabolic Surgery Program. To reach him, call 443-924-2900.

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