Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency after bariatric surgery

Joshua Y. Kwon, Alfred Nelson, Ahmed Salih, Jose Valery, Dana M. Harris, Fernando Stancampiano, Yan Bi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is a known complication of upper gastrointestinal surgery and has recently been associated with bariatric surgery. Our objectives were to determine the incidence of EPI in patients who underwent bariatric surgery and to identify the type of bariatric procedure most associated with EPI. Methods: This retrospective cohort analysis included patients age ≥18 years who underwent bariatric surgery at Mayo Clinic between 2010 and 2020. Patients with a history of other gastrointestinal or hepatobiliary resection, revision of bariatric surgery, EPI prior to surgery, and surgery greater than >10 years earlier were excluded from the study. Characteristics were compared between two groups based on type of bariatric surgery including Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) or gastric sleeve (GS). Characteristics were also analyzed between patients with RYGB who developed post-operative steatorrhea and those who did not. Results: Of 150 patients, 126 underwent RYGB while 24 patients had GS. Thirty-one (20.6%) patients developed post-operative steatorrhea and 14 (9.3%) were diagnosed with EPI. Mean pancreatic elastase level was 287 ± 156 mcg/g and fecal fat level 31 ± 22 g/d. There was a significantly higher proportion of post-operative steatorrhea in patients who underwent RYGB compared to gastric sleeve surgery (p = 0.029). Conclusion: The incidence of EPI after bariatric surgery in our cohort was 9.3%. Overall, patients who underwent RYGB had higher rates of EPI (10.3%) than those who had GS (4.2%). Clinicians should be aware of EPI as a cause for steatorrhea in patients who underwent bariatric surgery and consider treatment with enzyme replacement therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1041-1045
Number of pages5
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Bariatric surgery
  • Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
  • Gastric sleeve
  • Roux-en-Y
  • Steatorrhea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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