Is the Gastric Bypass Surgery Reversible?

Gastric Bypass Reversible

Gastric bypass is a serious, life-changing procedure that changes the way the digestive system functions. It can save lives by providing people with improved ability to control eating, calorie absorption, and disease management. It is one of the most important decisions to make for your future especially if your health is compromised due to diabetes, heart disease, or other weight complications. Yet, it is critical to know that, gastric bypass surgery is not reversible in most situations.

Is the Gastric Bypass Reversible?

Yes, the gastric bypass surgery can be reversed. However, the procedure itself is highly complicated procedure and not without risks.

These gastric bypass reversing procedures are highly complicated and with lots of risks. The studies on reversing surgery are lacking and requires a bariatric surgeon with incredible experience and skill. For most purposes, these are generally not thought of as reversible.

Understanding Gastric Bypass Reversibility

There are some situations in which gastric bypass works but becomes too tasking on the body. It may cause a lack of nutrition uptake, leading to malnutrition. Other times, side effects, such as diarrhea and vomiting, can be ongoing problems for patients. 

A study conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA found that it is possible for gastric bypass reversal to occur, but it is complicated and the results are not always possible. The bottom line here is that, if you are considering this procedure you need to be sure it is the right decision for yourself and your health.

How Gastric Bypass Surgery Works

Gastric bypass surgery involves making changes to the digestive system with the goal of helping a person lose weight. There are different types of procedures possible, and each influences if the procedure can be reversed. For example, some procedures will limit how much a person can eat, while others will reduce the absorption of fat and calories. Depending on the type of procedure used, there may be instances in which a portion of the stomach is removed, such as in Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. This reduces the size of the stomach, and there’s no simple way to reverse that.

Sleeve procedures also involve the removal of as much as 80 percent of the stomach where as other procedures do not remove nearly as much. By making the stomach smaller, it’s possible to drastically reduce the amount of calories a person is able to take in. 

Why Would You Need to Reverse a Gastric Bypass?

There are various factors that can lead to the need to reverse gastric bypass. Typically, this is due to extremely fast weight loss that becomes unhealthy or unsafe for the body, leading to malnutrition. If the procedure removes too much of the stomach, it may become impossible for it to properly absorb enough nutrients to keep organs functioning properly. 

Some people also suffer significant symptoms and side effects from the procedure that impact their overall quality of life. That in itself is a reason for consideration of reversal – especially if it involves constantly feeling ill, lacking energy, or not being able to enjoy life. 

Potential Risks of Gastric Sleeve Bypass 

All bariatric procedures carry some risk. A person considering any form of gastric sleeve bypass should fully understand the risks involved, including the potential for a person to become ill and the limitations of success if the patient continues to eat the wrong types of foods to support wellness and weight loss.

Overall, gastric sleeve bypass surgery is considered safe. However, surgical risks present include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Adverse reactions to general anesthesia 

After the procedure, there are additional risks to consider. For example, some people may develop gallstones due to the rapid weight loss they experience. That can lead to the need for gallbladder removal surgery. An obstruction can also develop in the stomach, which can lead to the need for emergency medical care. 

Unfortunately, there are some people who develop additional complications from this procedure, including:

  • Dumping syndrome, which can cause nausea and dizziness
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Vomiting
  • Low blood sugar
  • Ulcers
  • Hernias
  • Malnutrition

There is also the risk that, in some situations, a person can develop an inability to eat well or may lose enjoyment in food. There are important emotional and mental health factors to also consider that could influence the decision to have this procedure. Some may eventually not see success. 

Alternative Solutions to Reversing Gastric Bypass Surgery

All patients considering gastric bypass surgery should work closely with their medical providers to ensure that all medical needs can be met first. That includes considering alternative solutions. Dieting, exercise, and restrictive eating methods may help some people. Medications that control emotional eating and those that help with better diabetes management could help reduce the need for gastric bypass, eliminating these risks.

Revisional Surgery for Gastric Bypass Surgery

An alternative is to undergo a gastric bypass revision – which can be revised to another bariatric procedure.

Options for Revisional Procedure

  • Change the Stoma – Create a bigger or smaller stoma.
  • Conversion of the Gastric Bypass – Convert the gastric bypass procedure to another procedure such as the Duodenal Switch

Ultimately, the decision to get gastric bypass lies in a person’s ability to see the value of the procedure even with these risks present.

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