Life After Weight Loss Surgery
Gastric bypass surgery can definitely change a person's life for the better, but there are also some serious risks and profound life changes that go along with the surgery.
The weight loss surgery isn't the last surgery people undergo -
not by a long shot, says Lawrence Reed, MD, a New York City-based plastic
surgeon. "Post-bariatric surgery is a very important part of rehabilitation,"
he tells WebMD.
Reed says he typically does a series of procedures in three
stages after weight loss surgery starting with a lower body lift "that will
improve the tummy, the thighs, buttocks and back."
Then, several months later, "the patient will undergo a breast
lift and complete inner thigh reconstruction because I only get some of it with
lower body lift and then months down the road we do the face, neck and arms,"
he says. "You break it down because it's unsafe to do it all at once."
Follow-up surgeries are typically performed about 12 to 18
months after surgery when a patient has lost all their weight and has adapted
to lifestyle changes, Smith says. Some may opt for nips and tucks when excess
skin that hangs limits their ability to be as active as they like by flopping
all over the place, he says.
Kathy says that "I wasn't that idealistic, but my surgeon said
you will have to have plastic surgery afterward and I said 'I am flabby, baggy
and saggy now - I am not doing this to be a swimsuit model, I am doing this to
get my life back.'"
Elena says she plans to have follow-up surgeries after she
reaches her goal weight and maintains it for a certain amount of months. "I am
thinking, tummy, breast and upper arms," she says.
Reshaped body may not mean reshaped life.
"If you have a crummy marriage before surgery, you will have a
crummy marriage after surgery," Odom says, addressing the issue that many
people assume that re-shaping their body will re-shape their life.
Anita agrees. "I do feel much better, physically and
emotionally, but some of the problems I thought would disappear with the excess
weight have not," she admits. Namely anxiety. "I thought my anxiety was because
of weight and now still have it," she says.
Would Anita do it again?
"If you asked me right after the surgery, I am not sure what I
would have said because my recovery was rough physically and emotionally. I did
a lot of vomiting and was nauseous and knew I did this all to myself," she
says. But now, close to two years later, she feels much better about her
decision and is enjoying her new life and body to the fullest.