Gastric bypass is intended to produce permanent and lifelong weight loss results, but gaining weight after gastric bypass isn’t that uncommon.
One long-term study revealed that while 93% of patients maintain a 10% weight loss for 12 years, only 40% of patients were able to maintain a 30% weight loss in that time. Another study revealed that many people regain weight in the 2-10 years after their surgery.
Weight gain doesn’t have to be substantial either. About 50% of people gain back 5% of what they lost.
In other words, if you’ve gained weight after gastric bypass, you’re far from alone. But you may wonder why you’ve gained weight and what you can do about that. That’s what Eric Ibegbu, MD, of Atlantic Medical Group is here to answer.
Why have I gained weight after gastric bypass?
It can be incredibly upsetting to see the scale shift upward (or even just plateau) after you’ve had a gastric bypass. There are a few potential explanations for the weight gain.
First, you might gain weight if the outlet (gastrojejunal anastomosis) created during your surgery becomes dilated. Although this original outlet was created to help boost feelings of satiety and fullness, it can lose that effect if it widens.
This isn’t the only cause of weight gain. Other potential causes of weight gain include:
- The development of a fistula, which is a connection between your gastric remnant and gastric pouch
- A pouch or sleeve that has become stretched
- Stress, which can lead to stress-eating
- Changes to your eating habits
Any of these (or a combination of these) factors can contribute to weight gain.
What to do if you notice you’re gaining weight
Here at Atlantic Medical Group, Dr. Ibegbu offers many solutions for post-op weight gain, but we need to address weight gain as soon as you notice it. Brushing it off can only contribute to a weight gain spiral, which can harm your overall health and self-esteem.
Dr. Ibegbu first determines the source of your weight gain and then may recommend non-surgical procedures as well as lifestyle adjustments.
In the case of a dilation of the outlet, he may recommend a transoral gastric outlet reduction. This procedure 一 also known as bariatric revision 一 is a non-surgical procedure that returns the outlet back to post-op diameter thanks to a few skillfully placed sutures.
Once the outlet has returned to its prior size, you’ll feel satisfied after eating smaller portions, and your weight loss should continue at the same rate as your gastric bypass procedure.
Because this is a non-surgical procedure, you won’t have to fuss with any incision sites or post-op wound care.
What if your weight gain is related to lifestyle factors?
A widened outlet isn’t the only source of post-op weight gain. Snacking throughout the day, for instance, can quickly rack up your calories, but you might not feel full from slowly nibbling throughout the day. This can quickly lead to unintended weight gain.
If poor nutritional habits have kept you from the weight loss success you want, we have strategies to get you back on track.
You might benefit from speaking with a nutritionist, taking nutritional supplements, finding a gastric bypass support group, sticking with your exercise plan (and finding an accountability partner), and rededicating yourself to your nutrition plan.
Remember your “why”
It can be frustrating to regain weight, and recommitting yourself to weight loss progress can be a journey. If you have gained weight, remember your “why.”
Maintaining a healthy weight helps reduce your risk of developing many different obesity-related conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Targeting your weight gain as quickly as possible is easier on your body and mind than letting it go unaddressed for weeks or months. To learn more about bariatric revision or to address weight gain, know that our compassionate team is always ready to help you get back on track.
Call us or visit us online to schedule an appointment at our Kinston or Jacksonville, North Carolina, office.