• Blogs
  • Weight gain after bariatric surgery

Weight gain after bariatric surgery

09 August 2022

Bariatric surgery Nutrition and dietetics
Bariatric surgery can lead to considerable weight loss, however some people experience weight regain in the years following surgery. St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital Bariatric Surgeon Dr Leon Cohen explains how to minimise weight regain.

What to expect

After sleeve gastrectomy, patients typically reach their peak weight loss around two years following bariatric surgery1

At this point, weight generally stabilises for a few years and then a small amount of their lost weight (15 – 25%) may be regained. There are several reasons why this can occur. 

Weight regain – why does it happen?

There are four factors that can lead to weight regain:

  • physiology – hormones, gut health and body composition
  • behaviour – physical activity and diet
  • psychology – drivers behind food and exercise choices
  • anatomy – surgical procedure

Every person is unique and we each have a specific genetic and physiological composition. These are outside of our control.

However, we can control our eating and exercise habits. 

Common threads seen in patients who regain a lot of weight are excess alcohol intake, snacking and grazing, falling pregnant, needing to take antidepressants and too many daily milky coffees.

Psychological support and nutrition education play a vital role in supporting wellbeing and maintaining healthy behaviours. 

It is not unusual to need ongoing support for many years following surgery. 

How to minimise weight regain 

Be mindful of your food and beverage intake:

  • avoid snacking on high calorie carbohydrates 
  • limit consumption of alcohol and sugary drinks

Commit to regular exercise and don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

If you notice weight gain

If you notice weight regain, or feel that you need extra support, the best thing you can do is to contact your specialist.  They will be able to conduct an assessment and provide tailored support based on your needs.

We have a dedicated program called “Back on Track” which seeks to identify and offer alternatives for sabotaging behaviour.

New drugs are available to suppress appetite.

Finally, in appropriate settings, alternative bariatric surgery would be offered.

Learn more about bariatric surgery
 1Golzarand, M., Toolabi, K., & Farid, R. 2017. The bariatric surgery and weight losing: a meta-analysis in the long- and very long-term effects of laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy on weight loss in adults. Surg Endoss. 31 (11): 4331-4345
The medical information in this article is of a general educational nature only. It should not be relied on to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or as a substitute for the specific advice of a health professional. 

Leon Cohen - General and Bariatric Surgeon

Dr Leon Cohen is a General and Bariatric Surgeon who established Mercy Bariatrics in 2004.

Dr Cohen has personally performed more than 1,300 lap sleeve gastrectomies, which is one of the largest individual series in Australia.

Along with sleeve gastrectomy, Dr Cohen has a special interest in revisional bariatric surgery, gastrointestinal surgery and endoscopy.