Health Problems After Weight Loss Surgery continued...
Also, the stomach pouch will "give" a little over time, so people can eat a little more several years after surgery -- especially if they're pushing the limit anyway. "Even if they get a fullness sensation pretty quickly, they must learn to tune into it and stop eating," she says.
Another problem: Over time, the body adapts to the surgical changes -- so there is less malabsorption. At that point, lifestyle to maintain your weight loss is key, Courcoulas says.
Madan says there can also be mechanical problems:
- Food may be going into the old stomach, rather than to transitioning through to the intestine. This indicates that the stomach pouch and the stomach have somehow reconnected themselves -- what's known as a fistula. Surgery can correct this problem.
- The connection from the stomach pouch to the small bowel may be too large. This can be corrected in an outpatient procedure. Patients who are two years after surgery -- and have lost feeling of satiety after eating -- may be candidates for that procedure.
Gastric Banding Surgery Problems
Regaining weight -- or not losing weight -- also happens with gastric banding surgery. It's likely because of liquid calories (sodas, juices) or easily digestible snack foods.
"The band only restricts portion size, it doesn't affect calories. If you eat chicken, fish, fruits and vegetables at three meals a day, you will be successful with the band," says Courcoulas. "If you're drinking too much soda or juices or snacking on soft snack foods, you won't lose weight."
"After surgery, overeating can cause aggressive vomiting -- which can affect the surgery," says Madan. "It can cause the band to slip. If it slips, another operation is required to fix it."
He outlines other mechanical problems that can occur:
- Chronic overeating will stretch the stomach pouch (part of the stomach above the band). That may cause a stomach stitch to become torn and the band to slip. Surgery can correct this problem.
- If the band is too tight, it can erode. "When it erodes, it goes into the stomach layers and becomes infected and needs to be removed," says Madan. "The patient may have to undergo another bariatric surgery or will most likely gain the weight back."