Approach to the Patient

Management of the Post–Bariatric Surgery Patient With Weight Regain

Nawfal W. Istfan; Marine Lipartia; Wendy A. Anderson; Donald T. Hess; Caroline M. Apovian


J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2021;106(1):251-263. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Context: Weight regain (WR) after bariatric surgery is emerging as a common clinical problem due to the increase in the number of procedures performed. Early interventions are necessary to curtail the potential recurrence of comorbid conditions. However, it is often difficult to recognize WR early enough to introduce mitigating measures because there are no current guidelines for timely diagnosis and assessment of the severity of this condition.

Objective: We present a practical approach for the early recognition of WR, based on 11-year follow-up data from our multiethnic bariatric surgery patient population.

Methods: We classify WR according to the rate of increase in weight relative to nadir weight, normalized per 30-day interval. We also review pertinent literature about the etiologic factors contributing to WR after bariatric surgery.

Results: According to our algorithm, mild, moderate, and rapid WR are defined as weight increases of 0.2% to <0.5%, 0.5% to 1.0%, and more than 1.0% of nadir weight per 30 days, respectively. Treatment options, including dietary counseling, use of antiobesity medication, and consideration of surgical revision, are described. A case is presented to illustrate the utility of timely identification of WR and the importance of collaboration between bariatric surgeons, obesity medicine specialists, and dietitians.

Conclusion: Our approach emphasizes the importance of regular long-term follow-up for all bariatric surgery patients.