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The Pain of Regain: Understanding and Addressing Weight Recurrence After Sleeve Gastrectomy

Bariatric surgery, such as sleeve gastrectomy, has become an increasingly popular solution for individuals struggling with obesity. This procedure involves removing a large portion of the stomach, leaving behind a smaller, tube-like structure. Although it has proven to be an effective treatment option, some patients experience weight recurrence after the procedure. This blog and accompanying video aims to shed light on the possible treatment options for such cases.

Understanding Weight Recurrence:

Before discussing the treatment options, it's essential to understand why weight recurrence happens. The reasons can be multifaceted, ranging from lifestyle factors like diet and exercise to physiological changes such as metabolic adaptation or hormonal changes. Sometimes, the stomach may gradually stretch, allowing the patient to consume more food than immediately after the surgery.


Treatment Options:

  1. Lifestyle Modifications:

The first line of treatment usually involves non-surgical interventions. This typically includes dietary modifications and increased physical activity. A registered dietitian who specializes in post Bariatric surgery diet recommendations can provide personalized meal plans that consider the individual's nutritional needs while promoting weight loss. Similarly, a physiotherapist or exercise specialist can recommend an exercise regimen suitable for the patient's physical condition.

  1. Medication:

In some cases, weight regain may be managed with medications. These drugs work by suppressing appetite, increasing feelings of fullness, or reducing the body's ability to absorb fat. However, medication alone is not a standalone solution and should be used in conjunction with lifestyle modifications. At Pikes Peak Reflux and Weight Loss Surgery, we have providers who can prescribe and manage weight loss medications in post Bariatric surgery patients as well as those who have not had Bariatric surgery.

  1. Revision Surgery:

If non-surgical interventions and medications are unsuccessful, the physician may consider revisional surgery. This could involve converting the sleeve gastrectomy to a different type of bariatric surgery, such as gastric bypass or duodenal switch. However, revisional surgery carries a higher risk than the initial procedure and is usually considered a last resort.

  1. Endoscopic Procedures:

Another option for treating weight recurrence is endoscopic procedures. These are less invasive than revisional surgery and can be effective in managing weight regain. Technologies such as endoscopic suturing can help reduce the size of the stomach or the gastric outlet, leading to increased feelings of fullness and reduced food intake.

Conclusion:

Weight recurrence after sleeve gastrectomy can be disheartening for patients who have undergone the procedure hoping for long-term weight loss. However, it's crucial to remember that there are multiple treatment options available. By working closely with their healthcare team and committing to healthy lifestyle changes, patients can overcome this challenge and continue their journey towards better health.

Remember, every individual is unique, and what works best will depend on the patient's specific circumstances and underlying health conditions. Therefore, a personalized approach is always the best course of action when it comes to managing weight recurrence post-sleeve gastrectomy.


Below is a video of a recent Unjury support group meeting discussing our approach to weight regain after Bariatric surgery.




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