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Weight gain can come back after gastric-bypass surgery

Posted January 16, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

Weight loss from gastric-bypass surgery might not last, but a minimally invasive procedure can correct the problem.

Six years after she got gastric bypass surgery, eating became uncomfortable for Stacey Ruffin and she started to gain weight.

"I noticed that when I would digest my food ... something just wasn't right," Ruffin said.

Stacey Ruffin - lost weight with gastric bypass but gained it back Weight can return after gastric bypass

Doctors found that her stomach pouch, created during the bypass, had stretched out and needed to be repaired.

"Up till recently, there were only two options, and both of them entailed a surgical procedure," said Dr. J.L. Holup, associate director for bariatric surgery at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City.

Advances in medical procedures, though, enabled Ruffin to undergo a nonsurgical technique called stomaphyx.

In it, a doctor inserts a device through the patient's mouth and guides it down to the stomach pouch. Using an endoscope, the doctor staples the sides of the stomach, making it smaller again.

In Ruffin's case, doctors brought her stomach pouch from about the "size of a juice glass" to that of "a silver dollar," Holup said.

Stomaphyx can take less than a half-hour – about half the time of surgical repair. The procedure doesn't have a risk of infection, causes far less pain and requires a much shorter recovery time.

Ruffin had her stomaphyx on a Thursday and returned to work on the next Monday. Since then, her biggest problem has just been not eating everything on her plate, Ruffin said.

"How I grew up is that you should always finish what's on your plate. And I can't. That's the bad part about it," Ruffin said. "But my sons and boyfriend love it, because I bring home food to them."

4 Comments

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  • dalejrfan4ever Jan 21, 11:08 a.m.

    BTW you have no intention of gaining it back. I hope you DO NOT, but like I said I "believe" it takes willpower for you to keep it off.

  • smiley1637 Jan 20, 9:40 a.m.

    jbird im so proud of you for your accomplishments. i know people who have had the surgery and i have seen first handed what they have endured. i personally need to lose about 80 pounds and i guess i must just be a mindless and lazy person since i cant do it in the eyes of some. i have been on a roller coaster of losing and gaining for years. but during those years ive managed to survive a miserable marriage, the inevitable divorce, restart my life alone and be a single mom. guess that doesnt take much will power does it?

  • jbirdnc Jan 19, 3:58 p.m.

    I had gastric bypass almost 3 years go. I lost 200+ pounds in a single year. I have kept all this extra weight off since the surgery. As a much healthier person, one who eats better and exercises, adding some weight back is common for GB patients. I had been under the impression from Duke, that "stretching" the stomach was false. dalejrfan4ever, your comment is a typical expression from many who aren't informed. Many DID have this surgery and it was a failure. Those people more than likely were NOT ideal canidates for the surgery to begin with. It's a tool, an aid to suppressing overeating. Sure, willpower is a problem for many, but not for everyone who had it done. For every person or story you have ever heard about it being a failure, there are plenty of people like myself who greatly improved their way of life from it. Like anything else, you only get out of it, what you put into it.

  • dalejrfan4ever Jan 19, 12:51 p.m.

    IMO We are going to hear other bad reprecussions from this surgery. People are having it done b/c they have no will power.