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Efferent loop syndrome is one of two "loop syndromes" that can happen after some types of gastric surgery. In a loop syndrome, a portion or "limb" of the small intestine becomes blocked.
Of the two types of loop syndromes, the other type, afferent loop syndrome, is the more common. Efferent loop syndrome is quite rare. Surgeons have improved gastric surgery, so both types of loop syndromes are now less common.
The blockage in efferent loop syndrome can happen because of a hernia within the small intestine, which becomes trapped and blocked. It can also happen because of blockage from an adhesive band or kinking. This is because of scarring or poor reconstruction during the weight-loss surgery. In some cases, part of your intestine may slide inside another part of the intestine (called intussusceptions). This is caused by an efferent loop blockage.
When efferent loop syndrome happens, it is often within the first few weeks after surgery. But it can also develop even years after weight-loss surgery.
As a result of the blockage, digestive secretions, such as bile and other digestive enzymes, build up in the intestines and begin to cause problems. Rarely, a rupture of the intestinal wall can happen.
You may have the following symptoms:
If your healthcare provider suspects that you have efferent loop syndrome as a result of a gastric bypass procedure, he or she may perform a physical exam, upper gastrointestinal X-ray, or a CT scan to look for the blockage. Healthcare providers will use an endoscope, a thin, lighted tube with a tiny camera at the end, passed through your mouth and into your intestines to confirm the diagnosis. In some cases, where the clinical suspicion is high, additional testing is not needed. The diagnosis is confirmed at the surgery.
Surgery is needed to correct efferent loop syndrome and restore the intestines to healthy working order. Depending on how severe the efferent loop syndrome has become, the surgery may have to repair lesions, fix a hernia, close any anatomical defects, repair the intestine. It can possibly make changes or repairs to the gastric surgery itself.
Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you have any symptoms of efferent loop syndrome any time after your weight-loss surgery.
In efferent loop syndrome, a portion or "limb" of the small intestine becomes blocked. Efferent loop syndrome is quite rare.
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