Revisional Bariatric Surgery Increases Risks

Wednesday 17th February 2010

According to a study published in this month’s edition of Archives of Surgery, patients who need to undergo a second bariatric surgery are at a much higher risk of suffering complications than the first time they underwent the surgery. The study followed several men and women after their surgery and worryingly found that 34 out of 56 patients suffered some kind of complication following their procedure despite good body mass index and body weight reductions.

The study was conducted by Dr Charalambos Spyropoulos of the University Hospital of Patras in Greece and followed 56 patients after their revisional bariatric surgeries in one institution. The majority of patients were going under the knife for a second time due to the first operation not providing enough weight loss; whilst the rest were there for nutritional complications, blocking of the digestive tract and so on. A month to three months after the surgery 19 patients had had a severe complication stemming from pneumonia to kidney failure. A further 13 patients later discovered complications in the form of hernias, narrowed passageways between the stomach and intestine and lowered levels of albumin. Despite these complications, the surgery successfully reduced the patient’s body mass index (BMI) on average from 55.4 to 35, meaning nearly a 70% loss of excess body weight. Additionally, all the patients who suffered complications after their procedure were rectified and still remained happy with the effects of the operation. 

With bariatric surgeries becoming increasingly popular as they are the only effective way to induce weight loss over a long-term period in the obese, there is also an increasing demand of revisional bariatric surgeries when the first outcome isn’t what was hoped for. Whilst there are increased risks with the surgery, it appears that the need for such revisional surgeries are still imperative in stablising patients who undergo bariatric surgery for the first time. Researchers suggest that with the correct revisions of these operations and with increased patient and surgeon awareness there is no reason as to why patients shouldn’t live a long and healthy life. 

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