Frequently Asked Questions About Weight Loss Surgery
What Are Typical Risks After Weight Loss Surgery? continued...
Rare but serious complications include:
- Bleeding in the stool, or black stools
- Leaks in new connections made by weight loss surgery; these usually occur within five days of surgery.
- Blood clots in the lungs, called pulmonary emboli, occur less than 1% of the time; they are the most common cause of death after weight loss surgery. Blood clots can be prevented with blood thinning medicines and frequent activity.
- Blood clots in the legs, called deep vein thrombosis, or DVT
How Much Weight Will I Lose After Surgery?
After gastric bypass surgery, people generally lose 61% of excess weight. One long-term follow-up study found that 25% of the excess weight remained off 10 years later.
After gastric banding, people lose on average 47% of their excess weight. About 13% of it remained off 10 years later, according to the long-term study.
How Does Weight Loss Surgery Affect Overall Health?
Obesity-related medical problems will generally improve after weight loss surgery. These include:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Type 2 diabetes
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- High cholesterol
- Degenerative joint disease or orthopedic problems
- High blood pressure
- Urinary incontinence
How Does Weight Loss Surgery Affect Nutrition?
After weight loss surgery, the body has difficulty absorbing certain important nutrients, including:
- Vitamin B-12
- Vitamin D
However, taking a daily multivitamin, plus other supplements, can prevent or reduce these deficiencies.
What Lifestyle Changes Are Necessary After Weight Loss Surgery?
Over time, some people regain weight despite bariatric surgery. Some eat high-calorie or high-fat foods instead of healthy foods -- and eat them too often. Some people rely on "soft meals" such as ice cream and milk shakes.
The body itself may change over time, too, leading to weight gain. The digestive tract might begin absorbing more calories. Even the size of your surgical stomach can expand gradually over time.
To keep the weight off, you need to work at it. Here are some tips:
Eat very small meals. Adapting to small meals is challenging but necessary. Eat small amounts of food slowly, chew well, and eat lots of protein.
Make nutrition a priority. You must make the foods you eat count. Good nutrition is critically important. You must also take the right supplements, as recommended by your health care provider, because serious malnutrition occurs easily following weight loss surgery. A dietitian can create a diet and nutrition plan designed to meet your needs.
Exercise regularly. Many obese people aren't used to exercise, but it's very important to prevent weight regain. The good news: Once you start losing weight, exercise will get easier.