Most of the weight that is lost after gastric bypass surgery is lost in the first year. The average weight regain after bariatric surgery is around thirty-five percent. This weight gain not only poses health risks, but it compromises the patient’s 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 that was first used to eliminate varicose veins and spider veins. A solution is injected directly into the vein and 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 into the stoma area can be used to address failed gastric bypass surgery.
Sclerotherapy for Failed Gastric Bypass
Failed 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 performed in an outpatient setting.
Other forms of gastric bypass revision surgery are available to address failed gastric bypass but are more risky. Sclerotherapy is non-invasive and has a good success ratio.
How Effective Is Sclerotherapy for Failed Gastric Bypass?
The sclerotherapy procedure is generally recognized as anywhere from promising to effective as a treatment to failed gastric bypass surgery. Multiple studies have shown positive results.
A study conducted between January 2007 and March 2011 with a median follow-up period of four months showed 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 good results. After sclerotherapy treatment, approximately fifty-six percent of the failed gastric bypass patients began to lose weight and approximately thirty-four percent had their weight stabilize. 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 sclerotherapy treatment.
While there is agreement that further investigation is needed, the overall consensus regarding the sclerotherapy procedure for failed gastric bypass is positive.
Sclerotherapy Risks for Failed Gastric Bypass
While most medical procedures involve some degree of risk, the complications from sclerotherapy for failed gastric bypass are few. There have been complaints of nausea and post-injection pain. 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.
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Photo by Witthaya Phonsawat.