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Is my weight loss surgery reversible?

Posted On : May 23, 2011

“The LAP-BAND® System is reversible and, if necessary, can be removed — with the stomach usually returning to its original shape.”

This is a direct quotation from the manufacture’s website. It is a statement of its reversible state that is usually used to promote the adjustable gastric banding procedure compared to other surgical alternatives. In my practice I am a very strong advocate of the Duodenal Switch operation and as a distant second, I offer Sleeve Gastrectomy. I do not offer or recommend the Gastric Bypass (RNY, proximal or distal) procedures because of their well known complications of dumping syndrome, weight regain, inadequate weight loss, as well as anatomical complication of stricture or marginal ulcerations that are seen.

I would only assume that the reversibility issue is to be discussed if the procedure is expected to fail frequently . As a surgeon who performs the duodenal switch operation as a primary weight loss surgical procedure, I have rarely had to reverse the procedure. In my opinion, the physiologic reversal of the duodenal switch operation is by far the easiest of all surgical procedures. It involves creation of a side-to-side anastomosis between the alimentary and the biliopancreatic limbs.

The following are images of a Lap-Band® being removed because the patient kept suffering from persistent nausea and vomiting. The operation was performed laparoscopically. The operative finding identified a significant amount of reactive tissue (scar formation) that represented substantial difficulty in the operating room from a technical point of view. The long term damage done to organs by the Lap-Band makes it not easily reversible.

My recommendations for any individual considering a weight loss surgery is not to focus on the ease of reversibility of the procedure, but rather its long-term outcome data as the basis for choosing an operation.

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