What happens if I need a Gastric Sleeve Surgery Revision?

Sep 15, 2017 — by Daniel Huacuz, MD

Gastric sleeve has become well-known the world over in the past decade as the new face of bariatric surgery. The procedure provides a simpler, safer and equally successful technique to counter more intensive options such as the duodenal switch or gastric bypass methods.

However even though it does away with many of the complicated steps of other bariatric surgeries, gastric sleeve surgery revisions can still be necessary if the initial procedure is deemed unsuccessful. While the process itself is difficult, it’s important to remember that any surgery also needs to involve a lifestyle change to ensure maximum effect. This means a balanced, nutritional diet and regular exercise.

If your surgery did not provide the expected results, here’s what you can expect to happen during the revision process.

Why you need a Revision

The most common reason for needing a revision is due to inadequate or reversed weight loss. Generally the first thing a surgeon will look at when evaluating your candidacy for revision on this basis, is whether you have sufficiently reduced your calorie intake.

This involves an examination of your eating habits and the quality of your meals. If overeating is not caught soon enough, then it is possible that the patient’s gastric sleeve pouch will start to expand to accommodate larger meals. As this process continues, the patient will find themselves less and less restricted by their stomach’s capacity. Usually this will result in quite significant reduction in your weight loss, or even weight gains.

Less commonly complications may arise from gastric sleeve that require a revision, these may involve staple line leaks, a persistent wound infection or constant acid reflux that requires your surgeon to revise.

It is possible that your surgeon made technical errors during the surgery as well; he may not have removed enough of your stomach, or left a part of the upper stomach intact. Or left an existing hernia unchecked, causing complications after the surgery.

Types of Revisions

A revision will either involve performing the sleeve surgery again, or extending the surgery into another bariatric procedure.

Re-sleeving is usually chosen when a stomach has grown in size over time. The stomach is shrunk and excess volume removed in much the same way it was when the original procedure was done. If your surgeon deems that a more drastic revision is needed then he may instead perform a duodenal switch procedure. This involves a repositioning of the intestine to restrict the amount of nutrients your body is able to absorb, they may also adjust the size or shape of your gastric pouch. In other cases the surgeon may decide to add a lap band to the gastric pouch to alter its size.

Whichever method of revision is chosen your surgeon will inform you of the benefits and risks associated with the revision, as well as what you can expect before and after your operation.

Prevention is the Best Cure

Gastric sleeve surgery revisions are costly and can pose a threat to your physical health and recovery. Remember that the first option you should choose before considering any further surgery is sticking to the prescribed dietary and exercise plan your surgeon will have provided.

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