While many RNY patients lose 50 to 60 percent of their excess weight within two years, weight regain is common. Patients can regain weight when the opening from the stomach to the large intestine enlarges, or when the stomach pouch itself stretches. In some cases, the body may also begin to adapt to the gastric bypass and start absorbing more calories and nutrients. Surgical complications can also interfere with RNY results.
While these problems can sometimes be corrected with additional surgery, RNY revisions are complex and carry considerable risks, including infection, bleeding, and leaks in the gastrointestinal tract. It is often safer and more effective to correct the weight gain with a LAP-BAND placement. LAP-BAND placement is minimally invasive and does not require cutting the stomach or intestine. Once the band has been placed, it controls the size of the stomach pouch and is easily adjusted without further surgery.
Many bariatric surgeons are performing an increasing number of LAP-BAND surgeries after gastric bypass with promising results. If you've regained weight after RNY surgery, a LAP-BAND can restrict the size of the stomach opening and help you feel fuller for a longer period of time, leading you to eat less and resume your weight loss. Success with a LAP-BAND, however, is highly dependent on developing and maintaining healthy diet and exercise habits.
If you've regained weight after RNY, it's important to talk to your doctor and determine the reason for the weight gain. If natural changes in your stomach and intestine have allowed you to eat more and absorb more calories, you may be a candidate for LAP-BAND surgery. However, if the weight regain is due to a failure to adhere to diet and lifestyle changes, further surgery may not be an option – and probably wouldn't be covered by insurance, either.
If you're committed to achieving a healthy weight and have already demonstrated a commitment to a healthy lifestyle following your RNY surgery, revising the gastric bypass to a LAP-BAND may help you get back on track to achieving a healthy weight.