Many people have asked about revision
surgery, and for experiences that people have had. Here is a
story about revision surgery gone badly.
I want to offer a special thanks to
Rita J. for sharing her story with us. Here is her story:
My original gastric bypass surgery was done on May 9, 2001.
My pre-surgery weight was 437 lbs and I successfully lost
197 lbs of the approximate 260 estimated lbs that I needed
I kept the weight off for a number of
years, but in 2009, the bottom fell out of my world. There
were too many negative and troublesome things happening,
which was just too much at one time to deal with
effectively. I didn't deal with life and reality very well,
and I returned to unhealthy eating habits.
I quickly regained about 80 to 90 lbs. Included in that 80 to 90
lbs, I regained 40 lbs in 2 months when I had to go
on antidepressant medications. I then had a great deal of
trouble losing the weight after I was finally able to
convince my doctor that I couldn't handle the weight gain on
top of the other issues. Finally, he agreed to take me off
the antidepressant medications. But after regaining the 80
to 90 lbs, I also regained the depression, low self-esteem,
and lack of energy; all the horrible things I had lost since my 2001 surgery.
My primary care physician suggested a
revision surgery to deal with my weight regain, and I
started to consider it. My doctor wrote the referral letter,
and I was assigned to a top surgeon in the area.
The revision was a remake of the
original surgery, and it left me at first with my stoma
completely closing from the new scar tissue. This caused me
to throw up everything for about six weeks. My surgeon did
an endoscopic procedure in which he tore the scarring, and
it healed thicker than before, but eventually it did heal
I have no issues now with swallowing
any size foods, which is really bad, as I find I can already
eat more than I should be able to just 10 months after my
revision surgery. The revision surgery has left me with a
meat intolerance; deficiencies in iron, protein and calcium; and
a couple of other low readings. I had to go on 3 iron
tablets a day to get my iron level into the normal range
again, and my protein level is now normal, but it requires a
lot to keep it there due to my meat intolerance. In order
to get protein in I must eat most of it in soups or mashed.
I no longer can enjoy a bite of steak or roast without
extreme nausea or throwing up.
I have lost about 70 lbs of the 85ish
that I regained. The surgeon is not at all happy with that
and expected me to lose 50 lbs in 3 months. Patients who
have revision surgery don't typically lose like they did the
first time around.
I am near my lowest weight since this
journey started back in May of 2001. I am still obese, but
not super obese any longer. Admittedly, since this surgeon
is not people-friendly and has made some accusations to me
on my last office follow-up, I've had some eating issues
develop since and feel like I'm on this journey by myself
Fear and abandonment are big issues for
me to deal with. I do attend weekly counseling sessions, and
also attend a weight loss surgery support group. My
dietitian and I stay in touch with my primary care
physician, who also monitors my blood work and health issues
from the revision. I have weight loss surgery friends I've
made. I have gone through so much positive mental growth
that's taken place over the past 11 years. I think you
would agree, that these are all necessary tools in this
Being retired military, my health care
covered everything, even though I was referred to the
civilian community. The surgery didn't cost me anything
other than $12 co-pays for any office visits with the
surgeon after my surgery for the first three visits. I would
get all my labs, tests, and x-rays done at my military
treatment facility, otherwise if any were done at the
civilian hospital there would be co-pays to deal with.
I never regretted the original surgery,
not once, not even for a second, but boy do I regret having
had the revision. From my 2001 surgery, I never had any low
readings from my blood work, and I could enjoy a variety of
meats and vegetables; but not now. Lots of vegetables do not
sit well with my remade pouch, and I can't tolerate meat or any kind
of mayonnaise or creamy food.
So yes, as you say, keep the faith and
work the program from your original surgery. It does work if
you work it. Don't think that if things go wrong you can
always have revision surgery, and that will make it all
better. It doesn't necessarily work that way.