Deciding to undergo bariatric surgery to help with weight loss should not be taken lightly. There are many different types of bariatric surgery as well as non-surgical alternatives. When choosing the type of procedure that is right for you, one of the biggest things to consider is if you are willing to live with the results forever. Most weight loss surgeries are not reversible and are considered permanent.
Can Gastric Sleeve Surgery Be Reversed?
Gastric sleeve surgery helps a patient lose weight by reducing the size of their stomach and limiting the amount they can eat during a meal. Between 70% and 85% of the patient’s stomach is surgically removed and then closed up using staples reshaping it into a small pouch-like sleeve.
Because the surgeon actually cuts away the excess stomach and removes it during surgery, gastric sleeve surgery is a permanent alteration to the stomach and cannot be reversed.
What Is the Difference Between Permanent, Reversible, and Revisable Bariatric Weight Loss Procedures?
Sometimes there is confusion about whether a weight loss procedure can be reversed after it has been completed. Some procedures are temporary, some will last indefinitely, and some may or may not be reversible.
- Permanent reversible – some procedures are considered “permanent” meaning that once completed, they will stay that way and should not come undone. This does not always mean that they cannot be reversed such as in the case of an endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (more about this later).
- Permanent irreversible – sometimes when the term “permanent” is used to describe bariatric surgery, it means that once it is done, there is no going back. Gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and duodenal switch surgeries are permanent and the alterations to the stomach can not be reversed.
- Revisable – after having permanent, irreversible bariatric surgery, it may be possible to have revision surgery to change one procedure into another. For example, a gastric sleeve surgery can be converted to a gastric bypass.
When researching your options, it is important to ask your bariatric surgeon questions to make sure you understand all the ins & outs of the bariatric procedure you are signing up for.
Why Would I Want to Revise Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (severe acid reflux) – in rare instances, patients can experience severe and chronic heartburn (GERD) that does not respond to medication. Normally patients who develop this issue, have had problems with heartburn previous to their gastric sleeve surgery. Revising their surgery to a gastric bypass tends to alleviate GERD.
- Hiatal hernia – many obese individuals also experience Hiatal hernias that are asymptomatic until after gastric sleeve surgery. Some hernias are able to be repaired, while others may require a revision to gastric bypass to alleviate symptoms.
- Insufficient weight loss/reached first step – some patients may not lose the amount of weight expected, which may prompt a revision to another type of bariatric surgery. Gastric sleeve surgery may be used as a first-line treatment for an obese individual who may not be able to undergo a lengthier surgery, such as gastric bypass. Once the patient has lost some weight after gastric sleeve surgery, doctors may convert them to gastric bypass or duodenal switch for added weight loss. Usually done for patients with a BMI of 50+.
- Weight regain – a patient may initially lose weight after gastric sleeve surgery and then begin to regain the weight. Sometimes this is due to the pouch stretching from chronic overeating or sometimes, the restrictive technique alone is not enough. The surgeon may tighten the pouch back up or convert the procedure to include the malabsorptive aspect of a gastric bypass or duodenal switch.
Which Weight Loss Surgeries Are Reversible and Which Are Not?
Reversible – gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and duodenal switch surgeries are considered permanent and nonreversible primarily due to the surgical removal of most of the stomach. In some cases, the malabsorptive portion of gastric bypass and duodenal switch can be reversed.
Non-reversible – the only surgical bariatric procedure that can be easily reversed is the adjustable gastric lap band. The gastric lap band is a silicone ring that is placed around the top of the opening to the stomach and can be inflated to adjust the amount of food that a patient can consume. The reversal would consist of removing the gastric lap band.
Are There Other Bariatric Weight Loss Procedures That Can Be Reversed?
Yes! There are a few different options that can effectively help individuals lose weight that can be reversed or are just temporary. Here are a few options that you may wish to look into.
Orbera Intragastric Balloon
Gastric balloons are a weight loss tool that offers a non-surgical solution to reducing stomach size. The patient has the feeling of being full longer and can no longer eat as much in one sitting.
The ORBERA® balloon is a single silicone balloon. The balloon is inserted into the patient’s stomach under mild sedation with an endoscope. The balloon is filled with saline to about the size of a grapefruit to take up space in the stomach. The procedure takes about 20 -30 minutes and it only takes about 3 days for patients to adjust to the balloon.
Balloon systems work in tandem with dietary restrictions and exercise programs that are supported through the bariatric weight loss center. Gastric balloons are temporary tools that are removed after a six-month period. Patients that continue making healthy choices and maintain their level of physical activity (exercise) can continue to lose weight or maintain their weight loss.
Patients have reported significant weight loss numbers in the range of 32 pounds to 93 pounds.
Patient Testimonial - Day Of Orbera Balloon Procedure - IBI Healthcare Institute
IBI patient Jaime talks about his experience during his Orbera Procedure.
Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (ESG)
Endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty is a procedure that also works through restrictive measures. The stomach size is reduced by about 70-75% so the patient is unable to eat very much at each meal. This coupled with a strict diet and daily exercise can offer significant weight loss.
ESG is not a surgery and there are no incisions or sutures required. The entire procedure is done via endoscope through the patient’s throat.
The stomach is reshaped into a small banana-shaped pouch and held in position with 7 to 12 sutures. No part of the stomach is cut or removed so this surgery can be reversed if necessary but it is substantial enough to be permanent.
The entire procedure only takes about 40 minutes and the patient returns home that same day. The weight loss results that can be gained through ESG are very similar to gastric sleeve surgery but without having to go through surgery, incisions, and a hefty recovery.
Patients can lose between 10-13% of their total body weight within 3 months of having endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty. If patient behavior modifications in diet and exercise continue the weight loss potential is significant.
Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (ESG) or Accordion Procedure: Everything You Need to Know
Dr. Chris explains what Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (ESG) procedure is, how it is done, and what its benefits are.
Surgical Tools/Non-Surgical Procedures As Tools
Bariatric surgery and non-surgical weight loss procedures can help patients overcome big hurdles during their weight loss journey. However, it is the long-term modifications to eating habits and incorporation of daily physical activity that is going to determine how much weight loss is experienced and maintained.
Losing weight is a challenge and so is choosing the right tools and support systems along the way. The team at IBI Healthcare Institute provides ongoing support to help you succeed from the start. Contact us today for a consultation to discuss which procedure may work best for you. We offer both surgical and non-surgical weight loss solutions and we can assist you in deciding where to start.