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Ann Surg. 1993 Nov;218(5):646-53.

Reoperative bariatric surgery. Lessons learned to improve patient selection and results.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.



The purpose of this study was to determine the spectrum of presentation, safety, and efficacy of operative bariatric surgery.


The only lasting therapy for medically complicated clinically severe obesity is bariatric surgery. Several operative approaches have resulted in disappointing long-term weight loss or an unacceptable incidence of complications that require revisionary surgery.


Sixty-one consecutive patients who underwent reoperative bariatric surgery from 1985 to 1990 were observed prospectively. One, two, or three previous bariatric procedures had been performed in 77%, 18%, and 5% of patients, respectively. Reoperation was required for unsatisfactory weight loss after gastroplasty or gastric bypass (61%), metabolic complications of jejunoileal bypass (23%), or other complications (16%), including stomal obstruction, alkaline- or acid-reflux esophagitis, and anastomotic ulcer. Revisionary procedures included conversion to vertical banded gastroplasty (33% of operations) and vertical Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (52% of operations); partial pancreato-biliary bypass was used selectively in four patients with severe, medically complicated obesity.


A single patient died postoperatively of a pulmonary embolus; serious morbidity occurred in 11%. Weight loss (mean +/- SEM) after reoperation for unsuccessful weight loss was greater with gastric bypass than with vertical banded gastroplasty (54 +/- 6% versus 24 +/- 6% of excess body weight). Metabolic complications of jejunoileal bypass were corrected, but 67% of the patients were dissatisfied with their postoperative lifestyle because of changes in eating habits or weight gain (64% of patients). Stomal complications and esophageal reflux symptoms were reversed in all patients.


Reoperative bariatric surgery in selected patients is safe and effective for unsatisfactory weight loss or for complications of previous bariatric procedures. Conversion to gastric bypass provides more effective weight loss than vertical banded gastroplasty.

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