Why have I regained the weight I lost after bariatric surgery?

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Bariatric surgery is a tool that can help you lose weight; but if you don't use that tool effectively and don't comply with post-surgery lifestyle guidelines, the weight will return. Watch bariatric surgeon Michael Snyder, MD, explain this concept.

Dr. Gregory L. Schroder, MD
Bariatric Medicine (Obesity Medicine) Specialist

Most people do extremely well after gastric bypass surgery, losing weight and maintaining that weight loss to develop a healthier lifestyle and eliminate life-threatening health issues. Unfortunately, people can regress. Often this is due to stretching of their gastric pouch and stretching the connection or anastomosis between the gastric pouch and small bowel. To repair this, the person will usually need surgery to revise or downsize the gastric pouch and connection. This procedure can be risky, with more complications than the original surgery.

There are a few reasons why a person may gain back weight after bariatric (weight-loss) surgery.

  • The gastric pouch might stretch or widen. The small stomach pouch that was created during bariatric surgery might get bigger over time, allowing you to feel hungrier and eat more food.
  • The connection between the pouch to the intestine is enlarged. This area is called the outlet or stoma. A narrow outlet keeps food in the stomach longer, making you feel full longer. 
  • You can develop a fistula, an abnormal passage. This allows food to pass from the pouch to your stomach.

Your food behaviors, even 10 or 15 years after the surgery, also play a role. And, exercise is an important part of any weight loss or weight management program.

Dr. Keith Kreitz, MD
Bariatric Medicine (Obesity Medicine) Specialist

You can regain the weight you lost after bariatric surgery if you fall back into unhealthy activities and don't follow the guidelines your doctor set out for you. You have to stay engaged. The weight-loss process typically takes about 18 to 24 months from the beginning of the weight loss to where the weight loss stabilizes out at your plateau weight. You can sabotage that. You are still in charge, and it is not an easy path.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.

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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.