Weight Gain After Bariatric Surgery - 7 Ways to Stay At Your Low Point
Are you likely to experience weight gain after bariatric surgery? It depends on factors both in and out of your control.
The key to preventing long term weight regain and reducing your risk of bariatric 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:
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 (2).
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 likelihood than super obese patients (BMI of 50 or more) to keep off at least half of their excess weight 10 years after surgery (3).
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.
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.
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.
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…
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
Average Regain: 8 – 10% for Restrictive Procedures; 10 – 15% for Malabsorptive Procedures; Balloon Removed After 6 Months
The procedure you choose will play a large part in determining how much weight you will gain back after you hit your low point.
Following is a list of all widely performed procedures sorted by amount of long-term weight loss and average weight regain.
Highest long-term weight loss and little to no weight regain
- Duodenal switch (70%+ excess weight loss (EWL) after 3 years)
High long-term weight loss, even though 8 to 10% weight regain
- Gastric sleeve (60% EWL after 3 years)
- Gastric bypass (60% EWL after 3 years)
- Lap-Band (55% EWL after 3 years, but highly variable from patient to patient)
Moderate long-term weight loss and no weight regain
- vBloc Therapy (20 – 30% EWL assumed but not confirmed)
- AspireAssist (20 – 30% EWL assumed but not confirmed)
vBloc and AspireAssist each rely on devices to control the patient’s weight. While neither has long-term weight regain research, their nature indicates that patients will reach a weight loss plateau and stay there as long as the devices are used properly.
Moderate short-term weight loss
- Gastric balloon (30% EWL in 6 months, then must be removed)
If the patient does not receive another gastric balloon after their balloon is removed or have one of the more involved procedures listed above, 100% weight regain is likely.
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.
Due to its inherent risks and high price tag, surgery to address weight regain should be your last resort.
If you have not done so already, please review the non-surgical options listed above, especially support groups. If you’re not actively participating in one now, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how effective they can be.
If you’ve already tried everything else, contact a top surgeon’s office to discuss your options.
See the following pages depending on which procedure you had:
- Have another sleeve procedure, sometimes called a “re-sleeve”
- Convert to a duodenal switch (DS)
- Convert to Lap-Band (“band over sleeve”) or gastric bypass
- Shrink stoma by injecting a sclerosant
- Add an adjustable gastric band (Lap-Band)
- Lengthen the Roux limb of the intestine
- Convert to a duodenal switch
- Rebanding (remove band and add another)
- Convert to a gastric sleeve
- Convert to a gastric bypass
- Convert to a duodenal switch
Help & Support*
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 the following links for visitor submissions and expert responses that are procedure-specific:
All other procedures and general regain questions, answers, and stories are listed below.
I had bariatric surgery 3 years ago. I lost 135 lbs. and felt GREAT. Then suddenly my health started to suffer. I have to admit that I made some poor…
Getting Fat Again 15 Years After Weight Loss Surgery*
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I had surgery 12 years ago and maintained weight loss of 100 pounds all that time... until the last 2 months. I would gain about 10 pounds in the winter…
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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*
My surgery was several years ago - 1989 and at that time I only lost about 75 lbs. from weighting 211 lbs. I exercised by walking when I was able…
Bitter disappointment - why I gained back 40 pounds after weight loss surgery*
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Weight struggles after surgery*
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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…
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,…
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…
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…
Lost 145, Gained Back 30*
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Help I Am Losing Control*
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Dreaded Regain 13 Years after surgery*
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Uncontrollable Sugar Cravings 5 Years After Weight Loss Surgery*
My sugar cravings are out of control. I crave mostly sugary food items and find it hard to eat normal food. I also can't seem to get enough protein in.…
No Weight Regain Here*
I received my RNY open gastric by pass April 7 2003. I was 417 lbs, now I'm between 185 and 195. My weight gain is muscle mass when I don't…
Getting Back on Track After Weight Regain*
I am almost 4 years out from surgery. I initially lost 150 pounds. Over the past year I have gained back 20 pounds. I had the RNY Gastric Bypass. I…
Feel Like a Failure*
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Gastric Bypass Weight Regain After Foot Surgery - Help!*
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Feeling like a failure*
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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…
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 have heard the plaintive cry of the WLS blogger why haven't I lost weight?! I'd be rich. Or better still -…
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!…
Weight Regain 20 Years After Surgery - Help!*
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Encouragement for weight struggles after bariatric surgery*
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- 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 : 01/09/2017]