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After gastric bypass surgery for weight loss, the new connection between the stomach pouch and the small intestine may narrow. This is called an anastomotic stenosis. It’s also known as a stricture.
It's not clear why stenosis occurs after gastric bypass surgery. It may be because of a combination of factors. Stenosis may be caused by:
People are most at risk for stenosis 3 to 4 weeks after gastric bypass surgery. It can occur later on, but then it’s often in addition to other problems, such as sores (ulcers) at the anastomosis. If you smoke or take aspirin or NSAIDs, you are at risk for stenosis, even a long time after you had surgery.
The symptoms of stenosis can include:
Your healthcare provider will assess your symptoms and give you a physical exam. You may have a test called an upper GI. This can show if there is a stricture. Or you may have an upper endoscopy so your doctor can look at the area.
During an upper endoscopy, your doctor will inflate a special balloon at the anastomosis. The opening will be stretched back to its original size, if possible. This is called endoscopic dilation. In some cases, you may need more surgery to fix problems related to stenosis. You may also need to take proton pump inhibitor medicine to reduce your stomach acid.
To help prevent stenosis, follow your healthcare provider's instructions about when and what to eat after gastric bypass surgery. Talk with your healthcare provider about your use of aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDS). And make sure to not smoke. If you need help quitting, talk with your healthcare provider.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
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