What to Expect After Surgery

Bariatric surgery changes your life forever. Here’s what you can expect after surgery.

  • Psychosocial impact
    Surgery is likely to bring dramatic changes (both positive and negative) to your lifestyle, affecting your personal relationships and your relationship with food. The social and psychological impact is significant. To help you during this adjustment period, we encourage you to participate in our support group.
  • Medical impact
    The average person loses 75 to 80 percent of excess weight after surgery. About half of this weight loss occurs during the first three months following surgery and continues more gradually over the following 12 to 15 months.

The weight loss generated by surgery has a significant, mostly positive impact on various medical conditions associated with obesity.

  • Most likely to improve 
    Congestive heart failure (CHF), hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, urinary incontinence, menstrual irregularity, infertility, back pain, hirsutism (women), infertility (women) and pseudotumor cerebri
  • Very likely to improve or resolve 
    Diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), obstructive sleep apnea, Pickwickian syndrome (obesity hypoventilation syndrome), GERD and knee pain
  • Unlikely to improve 
    Depression, vascular disease and arthritis
  • Rate of weight loss 
    Many post-operative patients are anxious to know if they’re losing weight at an appropriate rate. The answer is almost always, yes, as there is a broad range of acceptable weight loss. In general, the weight loss occurs rapidly in the first three months, continues steadily for six months and usually stabilizes at 12 months.

Please note that weight loss is not always steady, and that plateaus (when your weight remains fixed for up to two weeks) commonly occur.

If your weight loss stops during the first three to six months post-surgery, or if you begin to regain significant amounts of weight at any point after surgery, consult your surgeon for an evaluation. However, a plateau or weight regain is typically the result of a behavioral issue, not a surgical one.

If you have gastric bypass and gain more than five pounds, contact your surgeon. Studies suggest that such weight gain should be addressed immediately and that a surgeon should put corrective measures in place.

Side Effects

Weight loss surgery carries certain side effects, including excess skin due to rapid weight loss, hair loss, gallstones, lactose intolerance, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Your physician will discuss potential side effects with you before your surgery.

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