Frequently Asked Questions after Bariatric Surgery
Yes, this is a temporary problem and is more of a thinning process. Whenever your body goes through a rapid weight loss, you can expect to experience hair loss. It usually occurs from the third through the eleventh month post surgery, the period of rapid weight loss. It then returns to normal. However, some patients don't experience this at all.
We recommend multivitamins daily because they contain the best formula of vitamins and minerals as well as iron, calcium, and B12 for the post gastric bypass patient. Although, any adult multivitamin in chewable or liquid form taken twice daily, as well as calcium and sublingual B12 is acceptable. It is important to take daily vitamins because your intake of food is reduced after surgery and parts of your stomach and small intestine for absorbing some of these vitamins have been bypassed.
You may acquire vitamin deficiencies. These may include neurological alterations and other metabolic abnormalities. These are difficult to diagnosis and may take time to correct. It is easier to prevent any of these complications than it is diagnosis and treat them. Vitamins, iron, and calcium need to be taken daily for life.
Bypass patients on average lose 60 to 80 percent of their excess weight the first 6 to 9 months after surgery. Weight loss will continue until about 18 months after surgery.
Lap-Band patients on average lose 1-2 pounds per week. Recent studies report that excess weight loss from Lap-Band gastric banding surgery is typically in the 50-60% range 3-5 years.
With the exception of the rare patient, it is improbable you will ever lose too much weight. However, snacking and drinking high calorie liquids will put on weight readily.
Women do have babies after surgery. It is recommended that you wait two years before becoming pregnant. At this point your weight loss should be finished. Once you do become pregnant, you will need to carefully watch your dietary program to make sure that both you and your baby are well nourished and healthy.
Possibly, because there is a large amount of fat between your skin and the rest of your body, your skin may sag as fat is removed. Since weight loss is so rapid in the first 6 months, your skin cannot keep up and sagging may occur. At the same time, however, elasticity of the skin is improving and the skin is also slowly shrinking. This process will continue over the next 18 to 24 months, sagging being the worst in the first 6 months and improving gradually thereafter.
Exercise can help you by not losing excess lean body mass (muscle tone) under your skin, thus providing your body with more definition. Drinking water and staying well hydrated may help the skin maintain its elasticity. However, if you lose an excessive amount of weight, you will more than likely have some hanging skin.
It all depends on how much weight you lose, the elasticity of your skin, your age, amount of exercise you do after surgery, and how long you have been overweight.
Dumping syndrome is caused by eating sugars and sweets, or other foods that very rapidly empty out of the stomach into the jejunum through the small pouch. Sweets produce a high osmotic load, which means it has a high concentration of particles in solution. One of the functions of a normal stomach is to act as a reservoir where food can be held until the food particles can be diluted with water. But, because your pouch is so small the food particles are dumped into the jejunum before this absorption can take place. The jejunum reacts by sending off chemical signals to stop the intake of such foods on such a rapid basis. The chemical signals cause a very unpleasant feeling; you may break out in a cold clammy sweat, turn pale white, cause nausea, dizziness, faintness, or just an awful feeling. This may be followed by cramps, and diarrhea. This can last for 30 to 60 minutes or longer, and can be quite uncomfortable. Some people have to lie down until the symptoms subside. This syndrome can be avoided by not eating these foods. The avoidance of sweets on gastric bypass patients accounts for a significant part of the weight loss process.
Milk contains a sugar called lactose, which in some people is not well digested after gastric bypass. This sugar passes through undigested, until bacteria in the lower bowel act on it, producing irritating byproducts, as well as gas. Individual tolerances vary from patient to patient, experiencing cramps, gas, and diarrhea. This can be resolved by using soy milk or lactose free milk.
The rules for success are simple and straightforward:
- Eat 1 to 3 meals per day. Protein should be eaten first, and comprise half the meal eaten.
- Never eat between meals. NO SNACKING and NO JUNK FOOD.
- Drink 64 - 120 oz of water per day.
- Exercise 30 minutes a day.
- Attend support group meetings regularly.
Remember that you are not on a diet but rather on a lifestyle change that you can easily achieve, with the end results equaling rapid weight loss followed by weight maintenance.
The worst thing you can do to your weight loss process is snacking. Snacking or grazing on foods, usually high calorie high fat foods, will add hundreds of calories a day to your caloric intake. Snacking will without question impede your weight loss, and lead to weight regain later.
Water fills your stomach and helps prolong your sense of satisfaction with food. With rapid weight loss there is a heavy load of waste products produced by your body and excreted mostly in your urine. Some of these byproducts may lead to kidney stones. Maintaining a high water intake will help protect your body to rid itself of waste products and better long term weight loss.
After gastric bypass, your weight loss is the result of your body operating on fewer calories than your body is able to consume. It will make up the difference by burning up its reserves, or unused tissues. The body will burn up any unused muscle first before it burns fat. Simply put, if you exercise your muscles your body will burn fat first and not muscle. When you exercise daily, you will lose most of your excess fat, and retain and build your muscle mass, resulting in a slender and healthy person with renewed energy.
Yes, you will always have a tendency to regain weight after the surgery. While responsibility to continue and maintain weight loss lies with you, we will always be available to help you. Patients sometimes become frustrated and discouraged after their weight levels off or they reach a plateau. This cannot go uncorrected. You need to view us as your coach and friend and seek our support when needed.
Support groups meet the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at Little Company of Mary Hospital in the Lower Level Meeting Rooms in the hospital's North Pavilion Link, Room N1703 across from Cafe 95.
All patients regardless of when you had your surgery and guests are invited to attend these meetings. We feature guest speakers and a variety of topics at every meeting. Click here to find dates, times, and other information about upcoming seminars and support groups.
Specialized post-bariatric surgery body contouring services available include:
- Tummy Tuck
- Breast Enlargement/Lift
- Upper Arm Lift
- Thigh-Buttock Lift
- Male Breast Reduction