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What is a Bariatric Procedure Failure?

The patients can go from minor to big complications after a Lap Band, Gastric sleeve or Gastric Bypass. Many of them need to be surgically fixed and will cost them more money but, because they are medical complications and the patient can continue to lose weight, they are not a procedure failure.

We can not talk about failure from a Weight Loss Procedure unless the procedure is not longer working.

When a Bariatric Procedure Fails for a patient, there are several different consequences to be considered:

  • The emotional
  • The economical
  • The physical

What are the emotional consequences of Procedure Failure?

Depending on the type of procedure (Lap Band, Gastric Sleeve or Gastric Bypass), the patient can regain all the weight back again. This can be emotionally devastating because it gives the patient the feeling that he has thrown away his money for nothing. He hates his doctor and himself and during the whole process his life or health is or could be at risk due to the complications. It is important for the patient to know he is not alone. It is also important that the patient takes responsibility of what has happened, since this increases the probability of succeeding in the future. 

What happens after a Procedure Failure?

We can say a Bariatric Procedure is no longer working when the patient has regained all the lost weight. This means he needs a new procedure called Revision Surgery. The need for a revision surgery after a procedure has failed will jeopardize his health or life as the complication rate increases from 2% to 25%. In addition, it will make him expend much more money.

The chances for success for a second, different, Bariatric Surgery are lower then the first time and, as we said, the morbidity increases up to 25% depending on the revision procedure to be done. This is in part because the doctor has to be able to finish a new Weight Loss Procedure over the scar tissue and able to repair what went wrong in the first place. The decision on which will be the chosen bariatric surgery for the second time will depend on which was the first Bariatric Surgery.

How can a patient succeed on the second time?

From the patient’s side, he has to be careful and avoid the mistakes he made before. That way he won’t contribute to the failure. It is very important that you ask your doctor and yourself questions like:

  • Why didn’t this first procedure work for me?
  • Which procedure works for me best after failing the first time?
  • Am I going to be able to follow the rules for success with the procedure I am choosing?
  • How much help will I get form the doctor and his staff this second time?
  • Am I looking only for the best price I can get or for the procedure that can work best for me?

You have to analyze the pros for a procedure but it is also very important to know the difficulties you could go through with the second procedure. You have more chances to succeed if you keep in mind what went wrong the first time.

Arturo Rodríguez, MD


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