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FAQs: Gastric Bypass

  • Will I be able to eat normally after the gastric bypass?

    Are there strict dietary regimens and rules I will have to follow in order to stop regaining weight?

    Is exercise important?

    How long is the hospital stay?

    What happens to the bypassed stomach?

    What are the expected weight loss results?

    Will I need plastic surgery after the procedure?

    What complications can occur after weight loss surgery?


    Will I be able to eat normally after the gastric bypass?

    You will certainly eat differently. You may experience the following:

    • Less hunger. This is most significant right after the operation, and it changes over time
    • Feel full after eating small amounts of food

    You can eat regular food (with the exception of sweets), and many of your previous food cravings will vanish.

    In the first several months after the operation you need to adapt to your new eating style. There is a lot of trial and error in food selection. Within a few months, eating is much easier.

    Are there strict dietary regimens and rules I will have to follow in order to stop regaining weight?

    There is no rigid diet to adhere to after surgery.

    But you will need to pay attention to portion control. You'll need to get used to eating smaller amounts of food that can be digested safely in your smaller stomach. It may be difficult for your digestive system to tolerate foods that are high in fat or added sugars.

    Our philosophy is to form a partnership with you, through education and good patient support, so that you can create good eating habits to reach and maintain your weight control goal.

    Is exercise important?

    Being physically active, more than exercise, is important for maintaining the lost weight.

    Regular exercise is helpful in losing weight and improving your health. Becoming more active as the weight is lost will help you realize the benefits of a healthier weight and increase your long-term success.

    Look at increased activity as one of the rewards for being successful with weight control. Being able to walk upstairs without your knees and back hurting, and without getting severely short of breath, is a wonderful thing - enjoy it.

    How long is the hospital stay?

    Most patients leave the hospital after spending one night. The rest typically leave after spending two nights in the hospital.

    What happens to the bypassed stomach?

    It stays in your body. It still has a blood supply and produces important enzymes and hormones.

    What are the expected weight loss results?

    On average, after a gastric bypass, our patients lose about 70 to 80 percent of their excess weight during a two-year period. Weight loss is extremely rapid after the first six months and then tapers off.

    Some patients will regain five to ten percent of their excess weight during the two- to five-year mark.

    Long-term studies have documented persistent weight loss over a 10- to 20-year follow-up. Gastric bypass is one of the best-studied operations for long-term weight loss.

    Will I need plastic surgery after the procedure?

    Patients who lose significant weight may want to have excess skin removed. There is not much you can do to prevent this excess skin from becoming a cosmetic problem.

    We recommend waiting 18 to 24 months before considering cosmetic surgery. We can recommend plastic surgeons that specialize in this type of treatment.

    What complications can occur after weight loss surgery?

    As with any operation, there are potential complications associated with gastric bypass surgery. These include:

    Leakage

    • Intestinal fluid spills out from where the stomach and intestines are connected. This can result in peritonitis. Leaks can be managed by a number of methods, including a re-operation.

    Bleeding

    • May require a blood transfusion or re-operation.

    Nausea

    • Nausea that lasts for more than several days is uncommon, and it usually resolves in a short period of time.

    Iron deficiency anemia

    • A common late complication after a gastric bypass. Menstruating women will need to take an iron supplement. All other patients can take a multivitamin with iron.

    Osteoporosis

    • May occur at a higher frequency in gastric bypass patients, therefore calcium supplements are recommended to help with the condition.

    Hernias

    • Ocassionally happen long after a gastric bypass and may require operative interventions.

    Strictures

    • In the first several months after a gastric bypass, about two percent of patients may develop strictures, or scarring between the stomach and the intestine. People notice that liquids "go down" easily, but solids tend to stick. This complication can be easily remedied by an endoscopy performed by the gastroenterologist in the office.

    Ulcers

    • Ulcers occur in some patients - especially smokers and patients that take NSAIDS (Motrin®, Aleve®, Advil®, Naproxen, etc.) Ulcers can cause bleeding or pain. Medications often help ulcers heal. If you smoke, stop now.

    Death

    • As with any major operation, there is the risk of death. The most common cause of death is a pulmonary embolism (PE). PEs can occur after any general anesthesia and major operation. Early mobilization and the use of blood thinners can decrease the likelihood of this serious complication.
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