Weight Regain Following Weight Loss Surgery

By Linda Trainor, RN, BSN
Bariatric Nurse Coordinator at BIDMC

female doctor holding clipboard and talking to a male patientPatients may be unaware that there are a number of factors that influence weight regain following weight loss surgery. These can include new medical problems, new medications and technical failures that occur after surgery.

It’s important to follow the guidelines your surgeons and dietitians prescribe after surgery, like adhering to diet restrictions and being physically active.

According to Rahul Gupta, MD, a bariatric surgeon at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton, five to 10 percent of patients may experience excessive weight regain five years after having bariatric surgery.

“The first and second year after weight loss surgery is a critical time to obtain the optimal weight loss results,” says Dr. Gupta. “In general, it is not considered unusual to regain 10-15 pounds after a two-year period.”

It is imperative that patients schedule an appointment with their surgeon for a complete assessment to determine what issues may be contributing to difficulty maintaining their desired weight.

“If patients have gained a lot of weight we must assess for anatomic problems, such as a pouch dilation, widening of anastomosis, gastro-gastric fistula or leakage in the lap-band,” says Dr. Gupta.

Sometimes a health condition like hypothyroidism, cardiac or endocrine issues, or even newly prescribed medications can contribute to weight gain, Dr. Gupta adds.

Gaining weight after weight loss surgery can be frustrating, but we’re here to help keep you on track. It’s important to keep your appointments with your surgeons, dietitians and primary care physicians.

“Bariatric surgery is a continuum of life, not a single episode,” says Dr. Gupta. “Whether it’s adjusting your diet, referring you to another specialist for a medical condition, or considering revisional weight loss surgery, we’re always here to help.”

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