Gastrointestinal phytobezoar following bariatric surgery: Systematic review

Tair Ben-Porat, Shiri Sherf Dagan, Ariela Goldenshluger, Jonathan B. Yuval, Ram Elazary

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Bezoars are collections of undigested foreign material that accumulate in the gastrointestinal tract. The most common are phytobezoars, which are formed from plant fibers, especially those related to the ingestion of persimmon. Patients who undergo abdominal surgery, including bariatric surgery for obesity, and particularly gastrectomy, are prone to bezoar formation due to reduced gastric motility, loss of pyloric function, and hypoacidity. Bezoars can form months to years postoperatively. Our objective was to review the published literature regarding phytobezoar formation after bariatric surgery. We investigated the entire scientific literature on phytobezoars as a complication after bariatric surgery using PubMed and Embase searches of all reports published to date. We used the following keywords: “phytobezoars” or “bezoars” and “bariatric surgery” or “laparoscopic adjustable gastric band” or “laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy” or “Roux-en-Y gastric bypass” or “single anastomosis gastric bypass” or “biliopancreatic diversion.” Seventeen eligible articles were included in the study. We provide an overview of the incidence, classification, and manifestations of bezoar formation as a rare, late morbidity of bariatric surgery. Treatment options include chemical enzyme therapy, endoscopic dissolution and removal, or surgery. Nutritional counseling regarding bezoar formation and prevention of recurrence after bariatric surgery should emphasize changing eating habits, including sufficient drinking and chewing and avoiding the overindulgence of foods with high-fiber content, especially citrus pith and persimmons. Clinicians should be aware of this potential rare complication. Additional studies are needed to examine the eating habits and food choices of bariatric patients with bezoar complications and to elucidate more clearly the risk factors for this pathologic condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1747-1754
Number of pages8
JournalSurgery for Obesity and Related Diseases
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Bariatric surgery
  • Bezoars
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Phytobezoars


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