My Bariatric Life: Sclerotherapy Is a Treatment Option for Failed Gastric Bypass Surgery

Patient Expert

Most of the weight that is lost after  gastric bypass surgery will occur within the first year. The average person then regains about thirty-five percent of what he or she has lost. It can be frustrating and demoralizing.

The explanations for these unfortunate weight-gain phenomena are both psycho-social and environmental. Regardless of cause, the fact remains that regaining the weight that has been lost from bariatric surgery poses not only health risks but dramatically compromises the quality of life as well.

Among the procedures to manage weight loss after failed gastric bypass is sclerotherapy.

What is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure first used to eliminate varicose veins and spider veins. A solution is injected directly into the vein, which irritates the lining of the blood vessel. The vessel then swells and clots. Over time, the vessel turns to scar tissue and fades until it is no longer visible. It has been discovered that injecting the same solution in the stomach area can be used to remedy failed gastric bypass surgery.

How Is Sclerotherapy Used to Address Failed Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Weight regain following gastric bypass surgery is often the result of the stretching of the stoma or stomach outlet over time. When the stoma is enlarged, hunger sensations and food restriction are no longer adequately addressed.

When sclerotherapy is performed, a doctor injects sodium morrhuate into the stoma area. This chemical promotes the scarring that will shrink the stoma. The scar tissue continues to form in the following months until the diameter of the stoma shrinks. The goal diameter is 10-mm.

The procedure takes about thirty minutes to complete and is an outpatient exercise.

Other revision surgeries are available to address failed gastric bypass surgery. But, they either involve a much greater risk factor or are less effective. Sclerotherapy is non-evasive and has a good success ratio.

How Effective Is Sclerotherapy for Failed Gastric Bypass Surgery?

The procedure is generally recognized as anywhere from promising to effective. Multiple studies have generated positive results.

A study conducted between January 2007 and March 2011 with a median follow-up period of four months showed a stabilization in weight gain in ninety-two percent of the subjects. The average weight loss at the six month mark was ten pounds. Some patients were monitored for as long as two years following the procedure.

A second study conducted between 1999 and 2006 had equally impressive results. After the treatment was administered, approximately fifty-six percent of the patients began to lose weight, approximately thirty-four percent had their weight stabilize, and only about nine percent
continued to gain weight. The study concluded that there was a 91.6 percent chance that there would be weight loss or stabilization for one year after the treatment.

While there is agreement that further investigation is warranted, the overall consensus regarding the sclerotherapy procedure for failed gastric bypass is positive.

What Are The Risks of   Sclerotherapy for Failed Gastric Bypass?

While most medical procedures involve some degree of risk, the complications from sclerotherapy for failed gastric bypass are few. Complaints of nausea and post-injection pain have been issued, and it is has been noted that individuals with a history of certain health conditions are at greater risk. Among these health conditions are pregnant or nursing women, patients with blood borne conditions, and patients with heart conditions.

Question for the Community

Would you  consider sclerotherapy treatment for weight regain after failed gastric bypass? Please share your opinion below. Thanks


Please "heart" this article  to support future weight-loss surgery topics on HealthCentral. Thank you!**** My Story...**

You can read about my decision to have weight loss surgery back in 2003 and my journey to maintain a lifetime of obesity disease management since that time. My wish is to help you on your own journey of lifetime obesity disease management with shareposts along the way to help you navigate that journey successfully.