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ACS: Obesity Surgery Linked to Internal Hernia

Patients who lose more than the recommended amount of weight may have an increased risk

THURSDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who experience excessive and rapid weight loss after undergoing bariatric surgery for obesity may have an increased risk of developing an internal hernia, according to research presented at the 2008 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons, held Oct. 12 to 16 in San Francisco.

Eric S. Bour, M.D., of Hillcrest Memorial Hospital in Simpsonville, S.C., and colleagues studied 786 patients who underwent laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery between 2002 and 2007.

Of the 24 patients who developed internal hernia, the researchers found that 19 of them lost more than 125 percent of the recommended amount of weight at three, six, nine or 12 months. Expected loss of excess weight at these time points is 40 percent, 60 percent, 75 percent and 85 percent, respectively.

"Surgeons who perform this kind of procedure should be aware that patients who are rapidly losing weight may be at higher risk for internal hernia, and they should monitor them for signs of the condition," Bour said in a statement. "This is also the case for general surgeons who see patients in an emergency department. It's our job to educate general surgeons who see patients who have abdominal pain and have lost a tremendous amount of weight in a quicker than expected period of time to be on the lookout for internal hernia as a possible cause of the symptoms."

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