Revision weight loss surgery is a lot more common than you might think. If you doubt that, go look up wls revision groups on Facebook. In my experience, it’s not quite as publicized in the large Instagram community. Thus, why I ventured to Facebook…and found my tribe. As with anyone else’s story, you have to remember it’s just that, theirs. Never compare your reality to their’s but having other stories and similarities to learn more information should always be welcome.
I knew I wanted revision to bypass around 14 months Post-op VSG. In January 2020 I started having much more severe GERD issues. I actually had been dealing with GERD for about 5 years prior to VSG (and according to my new Surgeon, should never have been allowed to have VSG). I have dealt with ulcers, throwing up stinging bile in the middle of the night, and nausea to name a few. Once I had VSG, I slowly grew even more and worsened symptoms. My whole upper stomach area would feel swollen and on fire. My nausea increased. My aversion to some foods became worse.
I was put on a medicine for stomach spasms, Carafate for ulcers and GERD, Zofran as well as my Effexor or Nexium. The last 6 months before my revision I was on a whopping 80mg of Nexium throughout the day. If I dared to miss a dose the pain was unspeakable.
Through all of this pain, the only thing that would lighten the pain was bread and crackers…so I started aiding myself with foods like that. This in turn created some regain. I lost 60lbs until these symptoms started. This did not meet my weight-loss goal, so I also knew I wanted a revision to help me lose the rest of my weight. My surgery weight for revision was 287. I still have about 100 lbs I’d like to lose, and I believe I am well on my way.
Types of revision
Band to VSG-this is when you started with the lap band and change to Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy
Band to Bypass-this is when you started with the lap band and change to Gastric Bypass
VSG to Duodenal Switch-gives optimal weight loss but is not great for GERD patients
VSG to Bypass-this is when you started with VSG and change to Gastric Bypass
Rny to distal rny-I don’t have my doctor’s degree but this has something to do with the length from the small bowel to the valve being shorter. (I suggest looking up more details with your surgeon if you are interested in this one)
VSG to Resleeve-this is when they resleeve your sleeve from VSG and make it smaller again
When to ask for revision
How do you know when it’s time to ask for a revision? Is one year too soon? Is there a time frame you must get through first? Do you have to have regained weight? The answer to all of these is no.
Now, I think if you are only one-year post op and don’t have terrible GERD, just weight loss problems, your surgeon may steer you away from a revision for that time. Obviously, revisions are for patients that have had complications and would benefit from a change. Revision is also for regain though. If you feel you have been battling any of the things discussed above, and you want to explore revision, maybe it’s time to make an appointment with your surgeon again to see your options. Even if revision is not the “right now” answer they will surely help you in other ways.
What if your doctor says no?
If your doctor/surgeon says no, but you sincerely feel a revision would benefit you I highly encourage you to seek out second opinions.
My original surgeon saw me through all my appoints where my GERD just got worse and worse. After many different attempts to handle it over MONTHS I finally straight up asked him for a revision…to which he straight up replied “no.”
While I was bummed, I followed my own body and started looking up other weight loss surgery surgeons in the area.
Major tip!: When I got an appointment with the next surgeon, I told him the truth. Doctors in the community talk y’all, don’t lie. Be honest. Tell them your last surgeon told you no, but you wanted to seek a second opinion. I set up appointments with 3 different surgeons (because they usually take months to get in) and the first one I got to see agreed I definitely needed a revision and the rest was history.
My plan had he told me no as well was to try the other surgeons and if they said no, I was going to go to Mexico.
So if you feel you need a revision, trust yourself and seek out the help YOU need.
If you’d like to know how to get approved for revision find out in the next post here.