March 26, 2024

Can Bariatric Surgery be Reversed?

Two surgeons doing surgery

Bariatric surgeries help people lose weight when other actions (such as dietary changes and exercise regimens) are ineffective. Bariatric procedures can empower people to reach their weight loss goals.

However, in some cases, patients would like to reverse the procedures due to side effects, other health concerns, etc. That raises the question: Can bariatric surgery be reversed? The answer is that some procedures can be reversed under the right conditions.

This article covers the reversibility of various bariatric surgery procedures.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Not Reversible

Gastric sleeve surgery involves removing the upper portion of the stomach. Removal is key to answering whether surgeons can reverse the procedure. This procedure cannot be reversed because tissue has been removed and discarded.

However, your doctor can work with you to address any side effects you’re experiencing if that’s why you want to undo the surgery.

Gastric Bypass Surgery: May Be Reversible

Gastric bypass surgery involves a surgeon creating a small pouch at the top of your stomach, which they then separate from the rest of your stomach. In this procedure, the unused portion of the stomach isn’t removed.

As a result, gastric bypass reversal is possible. However, the success of a reversal surgery depends on several factors, including:

  • Your overall health. The healthier you are, the better you’ll tolerate the procedure, and the more likely you’ll have a good outcome. Some patients may have health conditions that make them unsuitable candidates for a reversal procedure.
  • The time since your gastric bypass surgery. As time passes, scar tissue and adhesions develop. The amount of tissue present impacts the feasibility of a successful gastric bypass reversal.
  • The skill of your surgeon. Baptist Health’s bariatric surgeons are some of the region’s most skilled and experienced in reversal surgeries. However, not all bariatric surgeons have that background. Gastric bypass reversals should be performed by surgeons who understand the challenges and have expertise in overcoming them to achieve positive results.

Lap-Band Surgery: Reversible

Lap Band devices reduce the amount of food you can eat and help you feel full longer. The procedure to place a Lap Band device is minimally invasive, the device is adjustable, and the surgery is entirely reversible.

Some people opt for a reversal if the Lap Band isn’t enabling them to reach their weight loss goals. When we remove a Lap Band device in a revision surgery, we typically execute another procedure (gastric sleeve or gastric bypass).

Safety and Post-Reversal Health Considerations

Every surgical procedure comes with risk. Consequently, we encourage patients to consider their course of action carefully.

It’s also crucial to remember that weight loss and health improvements may be lost when bariatric surgery is reversed. Therefore, it’s important to have a plan in place for maintaining these improvements and avoiding other negative health consequences.

Learn About Bariatric Surgery at Baptist Health

At Baptist Health, we offer world-class bariatric care and weight loss services. If you’re considering a procedure or the reversal of past bariatric surgery, we encourage you to learn more about our services. Then, you should talk with your doctor about how to proceed.

Learn More.