Weight Gain After Bariatric Surgery & How to Avoid or Reverse It
Are you likely to experience weight gain after bariatric surgery? It depends on factors both in and out of your control.
- How much do patients gain back on average?
- 7 ways to minimize weight regain after bariatric surgery
- Surgical options to reverse weight gain after weight loss surgery
- Patient experiences (please share your own as well!)
The procedure you choose will play a large part in determining how much weight you will gain back after you hit your low point.
Patients who undergo primarily restrictive procedures (i.e. procedures that are not calorie malabsorptive, including gastric bypass surgery, mini gastric bypass surgery, gastric sleeve surgery and lap band surgery) usually gain around 8 to 10% of their weight back.
Malabsorptive procedures such as duodenal switch surgery have been shown to result in greater maintained excess weight loss over the long-term. After any weight regain, patients who undergo malabsorptive procedures experience at least 10% to 15% greater excess weight loss than restrictive procedures.
Regardless of which procedure you choose (or chose), the possibility for weight gain after a bariatric procedure will remain present throughout your life.
Remember… bariatric surgery is only a tool. You’ll need to continue doing the right things and making the right choices for the surgery to be effective over the long run…
YOUR Weight Loss Journey
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The key to preventing long term weight regain and reducing your risk of baratric surgery complications is to learn and address potential pitfalls early on.
Seven behaviors have been proven to reduce the chance of weight gain after bariatric surgery:
- Stop binge eating well before surgery – Patients with binge eating disorder (BED) tend to lose less weight after surgery. Receiving treatment for BED prior to surgery will lead to less weight gain after bariatric surgery.1
- Lose as much weight as possible prior to surgery - Your body mass index (BMI) prior to surgery directly relates to how much weight you'll lose and keep off. For example, one study showed that morbidly obese patients (BMI between 40 and 49.9) had a 15% higher liklihood than super obese patients (BMI of 50 or more) to keep off at least half of their excess weight 10 years after surgery.2
- Address alcohol and drug abuse problems as they will cause weight gain after bariatric surgery and potentially lead to bariatric surgery complications. Your surgeon and bariatric surgery insurance company will both require a psychological evaluation before they approve surgery and the evaluation will include this topic. Be prepared to be honest with your psychologist and work with them to get any problems under control.
- Follow your bariatric doctors’ advice to the letter – this may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many patients follow their doctors’ orders for the first year or two and then slowly begin to slip back into their old habits. The best bariatric doctors are not only good in the operating room but are also trained and experienced in helping patients keep the weight off long-term.
- Join and participate in a good weight loss surgery support group – weight loss surgery patients who actively participate in support groups have roughly a 10% lower body mass index than patients who do not.3
- Address food urges and lack of well being if you start to experience them after surgery - If you begin to experience increased food urges, depression or other emotional problems following surgery, talk with your bariatric doctors right away and bring these issues out in the open with your family and support group. Patients who experience these feelings and don’t address them usually gain more weight back.
- Continue to
get nutritional counseling – patients who continue to
monitor their diet with
the help of a professional (your surgeon-referred
dietitian or nutritionist) have better long-term results.4 Good bariatric doctors
partner with or will refer you to a nutritionist or dietitian, so you
should not need to find one on your own. The key is to never
stop seeing them. For DS patients, diet and exercise works especially well and is very effective towards losing weight after any weight regain.
Review the following pages for more about proper diet and eating habits…
- Bariatric Diet - learn the proper diet before and after surgery and tips to stay on track
- Bariatric eating – how you eat vs what you eat
In addition to the above, the following pages will set you up for success, both reducing your risk of complications and minimizing your weight gain after bariatric surgery…
- Bariatric Doctors – how to find, interview and choose the best surgeon
- Life After Weight Loss Surgery – what to expect in every area of your life
- Exercise for Bariatric Surgery Patients
- In-person weight loss surgery support groups and online weight loss support – finding and participating in the right support groups has been proven to lead to better weight loss
The first path your doctor will have you take to reverse weight gain after bariatric surgery is good old-fashioned diet and exercise.
If these are not effective towards keeping the weight off after surgery, it may be because your new stomach (and possibly the digestive openings made during surgery) has stretched which allows you to eat more before feeling full.
See our Gastric Bypass Revision Surgery page for more information.
Did you experience weight gain after bariatric surgery?
- How much weight did you lose before the weight regain started?
- How long after surgery did it begin?
- Which type of weight loss surgery did you have?
- What diet, exercise or other factors caused your weight regain?
- What did you do to stop or reverse it?
- If you haven't experienced weight regain, give us your advice about how you've been able to avoid it.
Please share your experiences to help other bariatric surgery patients avoid pitfalls, keep their weight off and reverse weight regain if necessary...
Other visitors' experiences with weight gain after bariatric surgery
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Weight regain after 12 years with renewed sugar craving
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Weight regain after bariatric surgery - how to get back on track
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Weight gain after bariatric surgery and symptoms similar to hyperglycemia
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8 years post-weight loss surgery and out of control!
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I gained about 40 pounds back of the 100 that I lost and I feel like I'm spiraling out of control. It's been two years since my surgery and I'm really …
Encouragement for weight struggles after bariatric surgery
Something that tugs at my heart is when I hear about fellow WLS friends who are struggling in their post op lives and don’t reach out because of guilt, …
9 stone lost, 2 and a half stone re-gained 2 years after gastric bypass surgery
I was really happy with the weight loss following the gastric bypass, and I lost 9 stone in total. I decided against the banding because I needed to feel …
Weight struggles after surgery
I lost about 19 or so pounds while taking behavior modification classes prior to surgery. So I went in at 222 the day of surgery. My all time low after …
Not Losing Weight After Bariatric Surgery
I had surgery on October 20th, and in 6 weeks lost 30 pounds. Since then I have been hovering at the same weight (up 2 down 2) and am wondering why it …
Lost 7 stones after weight loss surgery but have regained 2 stones
I was 20 stones (280 lbs) before weight loss surgery, then I went down to 13 stones (182 lbs) in 2 years. But now as I approach my 3rd year, I weigh 15 …
Slow weight loss and weight regain after gastric bypass surgery
I had weight loss surgery in 2004 and it took me 5 years to lose 100 lbs. When I had the surgery I weighed 342 lbs. I had gastric bypass surgery and …
Gained Back Weight After Gastric Bypass Surgery
I had gastric bypass surgery on 3/2006 and lost close to 130lbs. Now almost 6 years later I have gained 20 pounds back in a year. I'm thinking about …
Worried About Weight Gain After Gastric Bypass Surgery
I am very worried about weight gain after gastric bypass surgery. A lot of people I know have lost weight after surgery and then gained quite a bit back. …
Post-op bariatric weight gain (after gastric bypass surgery)
I had the laparoscopic gastric bypass when I was 38. I lost about 190 pounds in just a little over a year's time! I have been mainly eating proteins …
Why would I gain weight only 4 months after gastric bypass?
I am 4 and a half months out post-op from gastric bypass surgery. I had really speedy weight loss at first (90 pounds in 3 and a half months). Now, …
Why would I have stopped losing weight 4 1/2 months after my duodenal switch?
I had my duodenal switch on 3/10/11 and started out at 275. For the last 2 weeks, I have not lost any weight so I am stuck at 206. I am really getting …
Weight gain after gastric sleeve surgery
I went into surgery at 330 lbs - when I went under for surgery I thought I was having gastric bypass. During surgery it came to be known that my intestines …
The Realities of Weight Loss After Lap Band Surgery
I got my band November 21, 2009. Pretty quickly I lost 30 pounds, and then it slowed down to where I had "only" lost 75 pounds by last spring, more than …
Regain of 35 lbs after gastric bypass - Getting back on track
- How much weight did you lose before the weight regain started? 130lbs - How long after surgery did it begin? 5 years - Which type of weight loss …
Weight Regain 20 Years After Surgery - Help!
At age 32, I had a stomach stapling done about 20 years ago, and went from 335lbs (5 foot 2) to 175lbs. I got fit and healthy and life was great. In …
Ughhh... Don't Let Your Good Eating & Exercise Habits Slip After Bariatric Surgery
I was 270 lbs prior to my RNY procedure. Within 2 years I was down to 153 and in a size 8 pant and a medium shirt. I had a lower body lift, and was doing …
Keeping the weight off after bariatric surgery
I lost 80 lbs. total, then gained back 20 lbs. Went on weight watchers and lost my goal of 10 lbs (looked too boney at 80lb. loss). Now, 11 months …
Weight Loss Surgery Plateaus, Doldrums and Being Becalmed
If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard the plaintive cry of the WLS blogger “why haven’t I lost weight?!” I’d be rich. Or – better still - if I knew …
Weight Regain After Total Unfill of Lap Band
I had lap band surgery in July 2007 . The day I hit my goal weight of 125 pounds after losing 125 pounds, I slipped my band. I was so upset! My doc …
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For additional research, search for your topic...
- Sallet PC, et al. Eating Behavior as a Prognostic Factor for Weight Loss after Gastric Bypass. Obesity Surgery Volume 17, Number 4 / April, 2007 Pages 445-451.
- Christou NV, et al. Weight Gain After Short- and Long-Limb
Gastric Bypass in Patients Followed for Longer Than 10 Years. Ann Surg.
2006 November; 244(5): 734–740.
- Orth WS, et al. Support Group Meeting Attendance is Associated with Better Weight Loss. Obesity Surgery Volume 18, Number 4 / April, 2008 pgs 391-394.
- Faria SL, et al. Nutritional Management of Weight
Regain After Bariatric Surgery
Obesity Surgery. Available at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/w716724l2u68l31u/
- Weight gain after bariatric surgery as a result of a large
gastric stoma: endotherapy with sodium morrhuate may prevent the need
for surgical revision
Marc F. Catalano, Goran Rudic, Alfred J. Anderson, Thomas Y. Chua
Gastrointestinal Endoscopy - August 2007 (Vol. 66, Issue 2, Pages 240-245, DOI: 10.1016/j.gie.2006.06.061)
- Treatment of weight regain after gastric bypass surgery
when using a new endoscopic platform: initial experience and early
outcomes (with video)
Daniel K. Mullady, David B. Lautz, Christopher C. Thompson
Gastrointestinal Endoscopy - September 2009 (Vol. 70, Issue 3, Pages 440-444, DOI: 10.1016/j.gie.2009.01.042)
- UC San Diego Medical Center Press Release: Data Shows Incision-free Procedure Reverses Weight Regain after Gastric Bypass Surgery. June 2009. Available at: http://health.ucsd.edu/news/2009/6-29-rose-procedure.htm.
- Thompson, C.1; Slattery, J.; Bundga, M.; Lautz, D. Peroral endoscopic reduction of dilated gastrojejunal anastomosis after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass: a possible new option for patients with weight regain. Surgical Endoscopy, Volume 20, Number 11, November 2006 , pp. 1744-1748(5)
- Dapri G, et al. Laparoscopic Placement of Non-Adjustable Silicone Ring for Weight Regain After Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass. Obesity Surgery Volume 19, Number 5 / May, 2009 Pages 650-654.
[Last editorial review/modification of this page: 2/17/2011]
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