Can a weight-loss surgery patient regain the pounds that were lost?

Azra Kukic
Bariatric Medicine (Obesity Medicine) Specialist

Azra Kukic from StoneSprings Hospital Center speaks on how to ensure lasting effects after weight loss surgery in this video.

When it comes to bariatric surgery, weight regain is an important topic because obesity is a behavior problem; and the behavior begins in the brain. We are operating on the stomach to resolve the problem. With that being said, failure can occur, and weight can be regained if a patient reverts to unhealthy choices, such as overeating or failure to exercise. The final outcome varies by patient and by operation.

The gastric band has a high weight-regain rate because the procedure requires that the patient be committed to achieving and maintaining weight-loss goals. After gastric-band surgery, patients need to come in for follow-up band adjustments, and they need to eat correctly and exercise. If patients don’t stick to the program, they won’t lose weight or could be at risk for regaining any weight lost after the surgery. On the other extreme, the gastric bypass has the lowest amount of weight regain, but it’s not fool-proof. Patients can defeat the benefits of those operations by resuming unhealthy eating behaviors.

I tell all patients: The operation is a tool; it’s a new beginning. To have success, you need to change your lifestyle, and that includes your eating habits and exercise routine. And, you need to have a support system. That’s very important for adolescents—the whole family has to be committed, so that child can have success.

After weight-loss (bariatric) surgery it is very common for people to gain back the weight they lost. While bariatric surgery works very well, it's still not perfect for some people. Typically, the person will be at their lowest weight 12 to 18 months after surgery. Then, they'll slowly start to regain some weight. How much weight depends on the individual, but most people gain some weight over time.
On average, people who had bariatric surgery gain back about 30% of the weight they lost within ten years of surgery. Some people gain back nearly all of the weight that they had lost.
In some cases, weight loss surgery patients gain back their weight. In this video, bariatric surgeon Alfredo Fernandez, MD, from Brandon Regional Hospital, explains new thinking on trigger foods and what patients must do to avoid weight gain. 
Robert DeVito
Fitness Specialist

The simple answer is—yes. You can regain lost weight regardless if weight loss surgery is done.

I have worked with nearly fifty individuals that have had weight loss surgery and about half of these people successfully maintain thier weight loss.

Poor genetics and an out of control lifestyle seem to be common amongst all of our members that have opted for the surgery. We have worked with people that have lost well over 100 pounds and have gone on to lose even more weight, and maintaining the losses. Conversely, I have also seen a slow weight rebound in many others.

The difference is clear to me - does the individual learn, execute and continue to implement new habits?

The habits are simple, yet vital to long-term success—the successful individuals have continued their education in regards to nutrition and have committed to strength training. When these individuals opt to learn about the best foods for them to eat, when to eat them and how to control the portions, they feel better and have more energy. Strength training is used as the primary exercise choice due to its positive effect on metabolism.

Further, I have seen fantastic results from the people who learn to handle stress differently.  As we often say, food choices are outcomes, so if an individual is a stress eater and they do not learn new stress reduction methods, the underlying issue is still present.

Continue Learning about Weight Loss Procedures and Surgeries

Weight Loss Procedures and Surgeries

Weight Loss Procedures and Surgeries

Weight loss surgery procedures, including liposuction, gastric bypass, gastric botox and Lap Band surgery are viable options for those needing help with excessive weight loss. But they aren't without their risks. Weight loss surge...

ry procedures should only be performed on individuals for whom regular diet, exercise and medication didn't prove effective. Check out the answers below for more information on how weight loss surgery has advanced over time and which one might be best for you.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.