Alabama Bariatrics & Minimally Invasive Surgery

Bariatric Diet Orbera Gastric Band Sleeve Gastrectomy Gastric Bypass

W. Jay Suggs, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Huntsville & Decatur
Phone: (256) 274-4523
Fax: (256) 203-8791

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Contact Us

W. Jay Suggs, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Huntsville & Decatur
Phone: (256) 274-4523
Fax: (256) 203-8791
EMail: drsuggs@alabariatrics.com

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gastric bypassWeight Loss Surgery Revision: What it is and What Steps are Taken

How does one define when a weight loss surgery is successful or not? Can we call it one if we judge by how much weight was initially lost? Is it definable by the longevity of the weight loss altogether? Can we define it by the lack of side effects after a procedure? Do people look at the death toll that happens the moment someone is undergoing the procedure? Whatever the case may be, we all wrap our mind around the idea of intent vs results when it comes to well-meaning action.

Even with the best of intentions, even a top weight loss surgery expert in Huntsville, Al can make mistakes. Sometimes the blame is to lie on the surgeon or the hospital because they couldn't control all external factors. Other times, the blame lies on the compliance or lack thereof of the patient.  Sometimes, we just try to find a way to blame someone because it is much easier to try and explain incidents away than to come to the realization that the world is chaotic, and that some things just don’t work, despite our best intentions.

Whatever the reason, if something goes wrong, or something unexpected happens during or after weight loss surgery, Huntsville, Alabama surgeons will do the best they can to fix or correct the incident through something called revisional gastric bypass surgery.

What is Revisional Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Revisional gastric bypass surgery is when a weight loss surgery is done over. The surgeon performs it either immediately or years later. There are instances when a patient is experiencing further problems with weight loss. There could have been some unintended side effects with the initial procedure, or maybe something happened years down the road.

The point is that sometimes the weight loss surgery sometimes doesn't go as planned. So it is up to the surgeon to correct it in one way or another.

How many People get Revisional Gastric Bypass Surgery?

The latest data that I could find on the subject was a decade-long study that was conducted in New York State for over a decade.  It is a more recent publication compared to most studies, but its out since April of 2018. So until there is a rebuttal or redaction, I will use it.  

According to that study, the revision/conversion rates were as follows:

  • Gastric banding was 26%
  • Sleeve Gastrectomy was 9.8%
  • Route en Y was 4.9%

From what I gleaned from this data in the study, the conclusion that I came up was that a quarter of patients who used gastric banding as a form of weight loss surgery needed some sort of revisional surgery.

Why is Revisional Surgery Needed in the First Place?

According to a couple of websites that belong to businesses that perform weight loss surgery, there is a multitude of reasons why someone would need revisional surgery.

  • There was some sort of metabolic failure after the first surgery.

Medical histories and procedures still differ from person to person. Sometimes there is an underlying cause of rapid weight gain that has nothing to do with obesity. These patients follow the instructions perfectly and will still not be able to lose enough weight.

  • The patient regains the weight after time has passed.

It is easy to blame a non-compliant patient for a lack of discipline in their part. However, not everyone can keep good habits during times of extreme duress or sudden change.

 Dr. Abraham Krikhely MD from Columbiasurgery.org has explained this better than I can. “Simply put, life happens. Weight gain a few years after bariatric surgery is often the result of personal changes. You regain because you've had kids, you've just left a relationship, you've changed the way you eat, your finances took a hit, you have a new job, or maybe because you've just stopped exercising. Circumstances play a big role and so does attitude. I often tell my patients, "The shape of your stomach is less important than the shape of your mind."

  • There was a surgical error or a sudden medical complication.

Weight loss surgeons are just as human as their patients. Someone like Dr. Suggs could perform hundreds of weight loss surgeries in Huntsville, Alabama, but not all of them are going to be one hundred percent perfect.  Sometimes, a gastric band will need readjusting. Maybe there was an unintended side effect, or there was a sudden complication that came up. Whatever the case may be, a revision is a way for a surgeon to correct any complications or mistakes.

And before someone panics, these complications are rarely deadly. The odds of a patient dying from surgical complications are 1 in 1000.

In fact, any severely obese individual who will have never undergone any sort of bariatric surgery has a much higher premature mortality rate due to heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

Will My Insurance Cover Revisional Surgery?

This will depend on a couple of factors. For starters, each insurance carrier, either through the state or privatized will have its own criteria.  The one thing that is for certain is that they are going to question the motive of the patient that is getting the surgery. 

If the need for the revision is due to something like unexpected complications from staples or bands, then you might have a more convincing argument for the more conservative insurance companies.

However, if you are trying a newer form of weight loss surgery in Huntsville, Al, or if you gain the weight back much later, you might have a harder time getting them to cover the procedure.

Whatever the reasoning for a revision, there are a couple of things that you need if you want to convince your insurance company to cover it.

For starters, make sure you and your surgeon are on the same page. The specialized knowledge of a surgeon has more weight behind a claim or assertion for an insurance company.

If you are still thinner than your original weight, or if you have gained the weight back with no co-morbidities resurfacing, you need to let your insurance carriers know that it will only be a matter of time before they can resurface.