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Tag: sleeve gastrectomy

Don’t lose your Pyloric Valve over a Failed Gastric Sleeve

June 22, 2016 9:32 am

In my opinion, there are very few reasons to lose your Pyloric Valve after sleeve gastrectomy. Recently, I am hearing of people who have had regain due to a failed Sleeve Gastrectomy being revised to Gastric Bypass RNY and then seeking a Duodenal Switch due to regain from Gastric Bypass RNY. A better option is to go from Sleeve Gastrectomy to Duodenal Switch, due to the long term excess weight loss maintenance of Duodenal Switch. The benefit of the pyloric valve can not be taken lightly.

Let’s start by reminding ourselves as to how the Sleeve Gastrectomy has gained popularity. In the quest for a simple solution to the complex problem of obesity, adjustable gastric banding gained popularity only fail to deliver anything close with the results that were promoted and heavily marketed. The focus was then changed to another seemingly simple procedure, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. For some surgeons this is a new procedure. Surgeons that had been doing the duodenal switch operation for decades, sleeve gastrectomy has not been a new procedure. Surgeons that just started doing sleeve gastrectomy as a stand alone procedure started experiencing complications of the sleeve gastrectomy, such as regain and are now looking for another option for these patients. This complication are even more frequent when they’re done following a failed adjustable gastric band procedures due to the metabolic issues after revising one weight loss surgery to another. A similar short sighted approach is also being promoted with SIPS/SADI procedures, which is significantly simpler to perform than the duodenal switch operation.

Diagram of Duodenal Switch
Structures of the Stomach
Structures of the Stomach

Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy has a predictable profile for weight loss. It will not have as good on the long-term success rate as a duodenal switch operation. Complications of the sleeve gastrectomy including reflux, stricture, fistula, inadequate weight loss which may warrant evaluation and possible intervention. In my opinion, as a surgeon who does the duodenal switch operation routinely, a sleeve gastrectomy requiring revision should almost never be revised to a gastric bypass. I have seen number of patient’s who have had an adjustable gastric banding which was revised to the sleeve gastrectomy then to a gastric bypass. We are contacted for a possible revision to Duodenal Switch operation because of the weight regain. One can argue that the patient should not have had the sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass. It is critical that the complexity of the disease of the obesity is clearly appreciated that it purely restrictive procedure will not yield the desirable outcome long-term.

Benefits of the Pyloric Valve:

The pylorus is the valve located at the end of the stomach. It controls the release of the liquid mixture of food from the stomach into the small intestine.

The body naturally regulates the passage of food, so food will stay in the stomach for a certain period of time. We believe it is very important to continue that feeling of fullness in between meals. As a result, one of the principle functions of the pyloric valve is to regulate the amount of food products released into the small intestine where they are absorbed. This helps prevent dumping syndrome and ulceration.

The bodies natural diameter of stomach, pyloric valve and small intestine is left intact. This elevates stretching of the stomas created by RNY Gastric Bypass.


These failed Sleeve Gastrectomies should be revised to Duodenal Switch unless there are overwhelming health issues that would require another option. I always suggest several opinions from different Bariatric Surgeon’s who do a variety of Weight Loss Surgeries before deciding which type of revision to proceed with.

Stricture after Sleeve Gastrectomy Duodenal Switch

May 01, 2016 9:45 pm

According to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery sleeve gastrectomy has become the most commonly performed operations in 2012.  Sleeve gastrectomy became popular because of the high failure rate of the adjustable gastric banding and the issues with RNY pouch. The Sleeve Gastrectomy was performed many years prior to 2012 as a part of the Duodenal Switch procedure. Stricture is a complication occurring post Sleeve Gastrectomy and Duodenal Switch.


Sleeve gastrectomy may appear to be a simple procedure under the surface; however, it is fraught with very unique and challenging complications. These may include, but are not limited to, staple line failure resulting in leak,  injury to the spleen,  stricture,  and even a rare and under diagnosed portal vein thrombosis.  Technique is important in avoiding short and long-term complications. Strictures can be caused by making the sleeve stomach too narrow or by stapling in a fashion where the corkscrew stomach.

Some surgeons create a very narrow sleeved stomach in an attempt to maximize weight loss by increasing restriction.   This can result in significant GERD in patient with  no long-term benefit. Re-sleeving is another incidence were strictures can become an issue. These strictures are debilitating and almost all the time require surgical intervention.  Balloon dilation by an endoscopy method is frequently unsuccessful.  The patient who has a stricture should seek the attention of an experienced revision surgeon for surgical repair.   Strictures are usually a short narrow segment of the stomach.  The reason why sleeve gastrectomy strictures do not respond well to balloon dilatation is because of  the staples line that is present on one side of the  tube of the stomach that cannot be stretched.

Stricture after Sleeve Gastrectomy Duodenal Switch
Stricture after Sleeve Gastrectomy Duodenal Switch
Stricture after Sleeve Gastrectomy Duodenal Switch

Some surgeons create a very narrow sleeved stomach in an attempt to maximize weight loss by increasing restriction.   This can result in significant GERD in patient with  no long-term benefit. Re-sleeving is another incidence were strictures can become an issue. These strictures are debilitating and almost all the time require surgical intervention.  Balloon dilation by an endoscopy method is frequently unsuccessful.  The patient who has a stricture should seek the attention of an experienced revision surgeon for surgical repair.   Strictures are usually a short narrow segment of the stomach.  The reason why sleeve gastrectomy strictures do not respond well to balloon dilatation is because of  the staples line that is present on one side of the  tube of the stomach that cannot be stretched.

Stricture after Sleeve Gastrectomy Duodenal Switch
Stricture after Sleeve Gastrectomy Duodenal Switch

An increasingly more complicated problem is when the stricture  is caused by a spiraling of the staple line.  This is quite frequently seen where the stapling of the stomach was started on the  greater curvature of the stomach and rotated anteriorly causing a corkscrew effect of the stomach.  A long segment stricture of the stomach cannot be corrected by balloon angioplasty and would require surgical intervention.

I have been involved with numerous repairs of strictures on sleeve gastrectomies and Duodenal Switch  stomach from other institutions.  In  my opinion, repeated endoscopy and balloon dilatation only complicate  further care  by compromising the tenuous tissue of a strictured stomach due to scaring and blood supply.   As above-stated earlier it is critical that a patient who is experiencing significant reflux, changes in nausea and vomiting, suspected stricture or narrowing, or has a corkscrew stomach to be seen by an experienced surgeon for surgical repair.  See the following Blog for health issues that can occur or progress with strictures.

Sleeve Gastrectomy specimen picture.

Shared Success Story – Albert L.

March 07, 2016 10:46 am

Lose weight, eat smaller portions, eat healthy, go to the gym, don’t eat bread, don’t eat starches, try this diet try that diet….. on and on.
It is so easy for dietitians, nutritionists, cardiologists, family members to speak these words. Being the one with the weight issue, it would drive me crazy hearing all the smart advice everyone had for me. I tried it all without success! Some for one day, some for longer, the results were always the same. I would lose a few pounds and in the end I would gain more. I imagine that the advice givers really didn’t understand the fatigue and appetite that comes with the extra pounds. At 39 years old, 245lbs, on blood pressure and cholesterol meds, all I could see was a life of diabetes and heart disease. Oh, the days I spent in department stores looking at designer clothes I couldn’t wear, talking to women who wouldn’t see past my belly, being the guy at the pool with his shirt on and most of all facing a very rocky future.

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Before surgery
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8 months after surgery

The day I walked into Dr Keshishian’s office was the day my life changed. He looked me in the eyes and told me it’s all going to be better. I had my surgery in June and my recovery was unusually fast. The pounds were dropping daily and within 6 weeks my cardiologist took me off my blood pressure and cholesterol medications. At eight months after surgery,  I am so close to my goal of 180lbs. I have to admit that I would have reached my goal months ago. But a trip to Australia, wining and dining my new fiancé put me off track. But I’m happy to say I’m well on my way to success. Because I am feeling so much healthier, I have joined a gym. Since surgery, I don’t have a huge appetite so I am eating smaller and healthier portions. The future is looking very very bright. Thank you Doc.”

-Albert L.

Hiatal Hernia Treatment

February 13, 2016 4:45 pm

Hiatal Hernia may be one reason for developing symptoms of GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease). As we have discussed previously, the treatment for reflux should not be long-term use of the “purple pill”, or all PPI’s, as advertised on TV. There is a large population who are delaying  definitive care and probably increasing their chance of esophageal cancer by taming the  symptoms of the reflux with over the counter or prescription medication.  However, it is important to note that taming the symptoms isn’t necessarily stopping the effects. Be proactive and request to be sent to a surgeon to fix any issues if you are being recommended to “….take the medication and come back again for another endoscopy  again ….”

Types of Hiatal Hernia:

Hiatus Hernia Types

This is an example of a patient who had  been told to take the medication and just keep and eye on it with repetitive endoscopies.  He had to have hiatal hernia repair with  Nissen fundoplication for progressively worsening symptoms even on maximum treatment.

Surgical View of Hiatal Hernia
Surgical View of Hiatal Hernia

This is another example of a hiatal hernia repair procedure  of a patient with a previous history of sleeve gastrectomy.  In this patient, mesh had to be placed in order to fix the hiatal hernia.

2015 ASMBS Summary

November 11, 2015 7:31 am

The 2015 ASMBS meeting was held November 2-6, 2015.  It was combined with TOS (The Obesity Society) and had more than 5,600 attendees from all over the world in every aspect of obesity treatment.  There were some interesting additions and deletions from this meeting compared to the past.

The one sentence that comes to my mind is “I told you so”.

One important addition was a DS course for Surgeons and Allied Health.  This was very exciting, except the content and questions seemed to gravitate to  SADI/SIPS/Loop rather than DS.  Dr. Cottam was one of the moderators of the course.  It seems that they have found the value in preserving the pyloric valve. It was clear that the discussion was driven by the need to come legitimize the single anastomosis procedures at this early stage with almost no data to prove long term outcome. With many of the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomies having re-gain and the they are looking for a surgery that the “masses” can perform. This was actually the term used by one of the presenters, implying that the duodenal switch needed to be simplified so that all surgeons, those who have pushed all other procedures can not offer Duodenal Switch to their patients with less than desirable outcome.   Several surgeons also voiced their concern and dissatisfaction with the issues and complication of the RNY and want an alternative.  There was much discussion regarding SADI/SIPS/Loop being investigational and that it shouldn’t be as it is a Sleeve Gastrectomy with a Billroth II.  Dr. Roslin and Dr. Cottam discussed their SIPS nomenclature saying they wanted to stay away from something that had Ileostomy, suggesting bowel issues, or the word “SAD”i  due to negative connotations. The point to be made is that the SADI and SIPS and the loop are all the same.  I have also noticed other surgeons using SADS (Single Anastomosis Duodenal Switch).  There is a great deal of industry behind these procedures and many surgeons being trained in courses funded by industry. One surgeon stood up and informed the entire course that they need to be clear with their patients about the surgery they are performing, as he had been in Bariatric chat rooms and there is upset within the community about SADI/SIPS/Loop being toted as “the same or similar to Duodenal Switch”.

There was also presenter who said “We are doing something new about every five years.” No,  “we” are not. Some of us have stood by the surgery and techniques with the best long term outcomes and not gone with every “new” thing out there. The process of  Duodenal Switch may have changes, open Vs. Lap, drains, location of incisions, post operative care and stay, but the tested procedure with the best outcome has been the duodenal switch operation and not the shortcut versions. Although, those of us that are standing by long term results seems to be in the minority. Why do I stand by Duodenal Switch?  Because it works, when done correctly by making the length of the bowel proportional to the patient total bowel length, and height, and not just cookie cutter length for all patients,  with the right follow-up, patient education, vitamin and mineral regime and eating habits.

A new addition was the Gastric Balloon, which in the research presented had a 60-70% re-gain rate and a no more than 10-15% weight loss one year only. This data represents more than 70% weight regain when the balloon is taken out.  The Gastric Balloons can be left in between 4-6 months depending on the brand or type of balloon. The Gastric Balloon is not new to the Bariatrics and was first introduced in 1985. After 20 years and 3,608 patients the results were  and average of 17.6% excess weight loss. It seems that we are re-gurgiating old procedures. There are many new medications that were front and center in this meeting.

The Adjustable Gastric Bands were missing from the exhibit hall this year. It is my hope and feeling from the other attendees that we may be seeing the era of the Adjustable Gastric Band being placed in patients come to an end.  Although there are some still holding out that there are some patients that can do well with the Band.

Attending the 2015 ASMBS meeting this year, as it has every year, only reemphasized the importance of avoiding what has become the norm of chasing a simple solution that is fashionable and easy now. We stay convinced that the duodenal switch operation with the common channel and the alimentary length measured as a percentage of the total length is by far the best procedure with the proven track record. The patient should avoid the temptation of settling for an unproven procedure or device, because if history holds true, there will be a need for revision surgeries in the future.





Staying on Track and Surviving Halloween

October 27, 2015 6:07 am


Halloween is the start of  temptations during the holiday season and surviving Halloween is possible. It’s a time of high carbohydrate treats that can turn into a nasty trick of regain or slowed weight loss. Halloween is a fun holiday that you can participate in with some foresight and planning.  Sugar and simple carbohydrates are easily absorbed and can decrease weight loss or regain. The following are some helpful tips to keep you on track.

  • Stay steady with high protein, hydration, vitamins and minerals.  Protein and hydration will keep you full and help curb the carb cravings.
  • Make you own high protein treats.  There are so many great recipes out there.
  • If you give out candy don’t buy candy that you like.  In fact, do the opposite and buy candy you dislike.
  • Don’t give out candy at all. Instead opt to do a non-candy type item, stickers, pencils, rings, trinkets, easers, small coloring books, or other small items.
  • Keep a list of your goals posted in a visible place.
  • Make a picture collage of your goals, achievements you want, and non-scale victories you’d like to achieve posted in a high visibility location.

Stay strong and avoid the pitfalls of temptation.

Surgical Outcomes

October 02, 2015 10:10 am

In a recent review article  published in the September 2015- Volume 42:10 of General Surgery News,  the surgical outcomes of different procedures were summarized. There were evaluated based on a number of measures, including re-operation rates. So interesting to note that the re-operation rate of the duodenal switch is the lowest of all surgical procedures.


Adjustable gastric banding had the highest reported re-operation rate. To be noted is the longer the time lapse the higher the need for re-operation for the band.

Original article here.


Failure of Anti-Reflux Procedures

September 28, 2015 7:13 am

A recent study Published in JAMA Surgery,  quoted rate of 10-20% of patients who have had anti-reflux surgical procedures will have recurrence of his symptoms  within the research data.  There are numerous studies that  have identified predictive factors leading to  return of the symptoms after surgical intervention. Some of these predictive factors are improper diagnosis, inadequate work up and technical issues.

Due to the significant rise of sleeve gastrectomy as well as a high failure rate of the lap band, we have seen several patients presenting with significant reflux disease after weight loss surgery.  There is a little scientific data regarding the failure of anti-reflux procedures in patients who have had previous weight loss surgical operations. In our practice, however,  we have  extensive experience with anti-reflux operations in patient who have had previous weight loss surgeries including Gastric Bypass,  Adjustable Gastric Banding, Sleeve Gastrectomy and Duodenal Switch operation.

Improper diagnosis, inadequate work up, and technical issues have been cited as possible causes for recurrence of symptoms in patients  who have not had weight loss surgery. One could assume that those variables are still a factor in addition to other factors resulting from a previous weight loss surgery. The complications of a previous weight loss surgery can not be under-estimated; an example would be a patient with significant esophageal motility issues directly related to an Adjustable Gastric Band. Other situations that exacerbate symptoms of reflux are an hour glass shaped sleeve or a stricture mid stomach post Sleeve Gastrectomy or Duodenal Switch.


In our experience, some patients have responded well with anti-reflux surgical procedures and mesh placement if indicated after a compete work up with has included and upper endoscopy, upper GI series, manometry and Ph studies.  Any patient with symptoms of reflux after weight loss surgery, should be evaluated, and a complete work up should be performed to  establish the proper treatment options. It is not wise to have patients be treated with proton pump inhibitors as a default treatment without a complete work up for any patient with reflux. These class of medications have significant side effects associated with them. Furthermore, prolonged reflux is a factor in development of Barret’s Esophagus, a pre-cancerous condition.

Shared Success: Kurtis R.

September 08, 2015 5:27 am

For most of my life I had always been on the heavier side of the scale. Since I was a kid I’ve been extremely active with sports and other activities that required me to be running around, but my diet wasn’t on the right track. Even with all the working out or running I did, my diet is what led me to having the body I didn’t want anymore.

I didn’t have the same troubles a lot of bigger or heavier kids had. I wasn’t picked on or depressed. I was liked by just about everyone and had a large group of friends. That part of my life has never changed. What did change was the way I looked at myself in the mirror. I never had confidence in myself when it came to most aspects of life. Sports, I had all the confidence in the world. Nobody could strike me out, or get passed me with a football. The day it really changed for me was about 3 years ago. I was sitting on my bed, about to go to the store and realized I couldn’t bend down far enough to put my socks on without sucking in, holding my breath and leaning my legs out to the side. I got on the scale and realized I had hit 410LBS. 410LBS with a BMI around 50% at 22 years old. A weight I had never thought about, but also a weight I never thought I would be. I was lazy and didn’t care about what I ate. I worked from 7-4 and then played video games until it was time to go to sleep. No exercise and a terrible diet only lead to one result, and that’s a very unhealthy body. I brought this all up to my mom (who had gastric bypass ~15 years ago) and she said if I wanted, we could look into the weight loss surgery options.

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She did the work in the beginning, finding out where we needed to go and when I decided I wanted to do this, she was there with me at the group meeting where we first met Dr. Keshishian. I knew from the second I saw his bow tie that he would be a pleasure be around. He brought out pictures and described the differences, pros and cons of each different surgery, I knew Dr. Keshishian was the doctor I wanted. Originally I wanted to just have the Gastric Band, but after hearing Dr. Keshishian go through every option, I ultimately decided to have the Sleeve Gastrectomy done. This was one of the best decisions of my life.

I had the surgery done in March of 2013 (~2.5 years ago) with a starting weight of 410 LBS. Now, 2.5 years later I weigh 250LBS and have lowered my BMI to about 20%, a number that I’m focusing on now. I didn’t have the surgery to become a skinny man. I like being a bigger guy. I just want to be healthy and get my BMI to about 12-15%. With the help and motivation from my parents, friends, family and beautiful girlfriend Kori, there are no doubts in my mind that I’ll be able to reach my end goal and continue on this path of health and exercise for the rest of my life.