After Weight Loss

What Is After Weight Loss Surgery?

Obese people often suffer serious health problems and have higher rates of strokes, heart attacks, cancer and diabetes. For severely obese people who cannot lose weight any other way, this kind of surgery can quite literally be lifesaving. On average, people lose 61% of excess weight after gastric bypass surgery.

But weight loss surgery is no quick fix. To be successful, surgery must be followed by lifelong changes in behavior and eating. It’s an ongoing journey toward weight loss through lifestyle changes. The difference in your body, after surgery, makes it physically easier to adjust your lifestyle habits and eating.

Most gastric bypass surgery is laparoscopic. The small incisions from laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery make recovery time shorter. If the surgery must be open (a laparotomy, requiring a large incision), healing time will take longer.

Excess skin, sagging body areas or loose muscles may need to be improved after rapid weight loss. This requires additional surgery such as a facelift, breast augmentation, breast lift, abdominoplasty or liposuction.

After the surgery, your stomach will be smaller. You will feel full with less food.

Who Is a Good Candidate for After Weight Loss Surgery?

Unless they have tried and failed to lose weight through traditional forms of treatment people seeking gastric bypass are not considered candidates.

Candidates are typically between the ages of 18 and 65.

Good candidates for gastric bypass are often considered people at high risk for disease or who have a life-threatening condition, including those with a disabling condition from obesity. People with a genetic condition that causes obesity are candidates as well the one with an extremely high body mass index and obesity that exists for five or more years with no history of alcohol or drug abuse and no untreated psychiatric disorder.

How Should You Prepare for After Weight Loss Surgery?

Everything you need to know to prepare for bariatric surgery will be discussed during an initial consultation with your surgeon. The surgeon will assess your health and discuss a few options that may be available. The safety and the most-likely outcome of the procedure will also be discussed. Once you decide to go ahead with the procedure, the surgeon will give you specific instructions that must be followed in the weeks leading up to date of the operation.

Consult with your surgeon about any regular vitamins and minerals you are taking. Aspirin can lead to increased levels of bleeding. Different vitamins and mineral can affect your surgery in different ways. Estrogen hormone medications such as birth control pills can increase the risk of blood clots. Other vitamins could increase the effects of anesthetics and increase the recovery period post operation.

How Is After Weight Loss Surgery Performed?

Gastric bypass usually takes two to four hours to perform. Patients are given general anesthetic before the procedure to be asleep and pain-free.

There are two steps during this surgery:

  1. The first step makes your stomach smaller. During the procedure, the surgeon divides your stomach into a larger bottom section and a small upper section. The top section of your stomach, about the size of a walnut, called the pouch, is where the food you eat will go and. It holds only about one ounce of food.
  2. The second step is the bypass. Your surgeon will connect a small part of your small intestine, the jejunum, to a small hole in your pouch. The food you eat will now travel from the pouch into this new opening into your small intestine. Because of this, your body will absorb fewer calories.

Gastric bypass can be done in two ways:

  • With open surgery, surgeon will make a large surgical cut to open up your belly. Your surgeon will do the bypass by working on your stomach, small intestine, and other organs.
  • Another way to do this surgery is to use a tiny camera, called a laparoscope. This camera is placed in your belly. The surgery is called laparoscopy. Using this minimally invasive approach, patients heal faster and are able to return to their normal activities more quickly. They also have much less pain, infections, hernias, and overall complications.


What Is Recovery Like After Weight Loss Surgery?

Weight loss surgery can change just about every aspect of your life. Your health will improve, you’ll look different, and you’ll probably feel better.

The amount of time it takes to resume pre-surgery levels of activity after gastric bypass surgery will vary based on the type of gastric procedure performed, a patient’s physical condition and nature of the activity. Many patients recover within six to eight weeks of their operation, while it may only be a few weeks for patients who had a less invasive procedure.

Following gastric bypass surgery, you will not be able to eat everything right away. The recovery diet will progress from liquids to pureed foods to soft foods over the first three months before you start eating solid foods. The slow food progression is necessary for proper healing after surgery and to allow your body to get used to new ways of eating. Your doctor will monitor your recovery and let you know when your body is ready to progress to soft foods.

Will the Results of After Weight Loss Surgery Be Permanent?

Gastric bypass surgeries can provide long-term weight loss. The amount of weight you lose depends on type of gastric bypass surgery and your change in lifestyle habits. It may be possible to lose more than half of your excess weight within two years.

In addition to weight loss, gastric bypass surgery may resolve or improve conditions often related to being overweight, including: heart disease, high blood pressure, gastroesophageal reflux disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and severe sleep apnea.

Gastric bypass surgery can also improve your ability to perform daily routine activities, which could help improve your quality of life.

Are There Any Possible Complications From This Procedure?

Most people experience no serious problems after weight loss surgery though 10% do have minor complications. Less than 5% experience serious complications.

Wound infections can happen up to three weeks after surgery with symptoms like redness or thick drainage from the surgical wound. Constipation is common after weight loss surgery. Liquid like mineral oil can help. Avoid granular fiber (psyllium or Metamucil), which can cause obstructions. Gallstones commonly occur with rapid weight loss. Up to 50% of people will develop gallstones after gastric bypass surgery and these are usually harmless. Black stools or bleeding in stool can be serious. Blood clots to the lungs, called pulmonary emboli, occur less than 1% of the time. Blood clots can usually be prevented with blood thinning medicines and frequent activity.