Is Surgical Weight Loss Right for Me?
For those who are morbidly obese, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends weight loss surgery. At Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, we perform the following surgical weight loss procedures:
- Roux-en-Y gastric bypass
- Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy
- Adjustable gastric banding
- Revisions of previous weight loss surgeries
For a detailed look at surgical weight loss options and to determine if this is right for you, watch our informational video, featuring Paul Ross, MD.
Health Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery
If you qualify for weight loss surgery, the following conditions or diseases are considered co-morbidities that can accompany obesity. After surgical weight loss, on average, research reveals that patients experienced the following improvements:
- Pseudotumor cerebri (unexplained pressure inside the skull): 96 percent resolved
- High cholesterol: 63 percent resolved
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: 90 percent improved buildup of fat in liver cells, 37 percent resolved inflammation
- Depression: 55 percent resolved
- Obstructive sleep apnea: 74 to 98 percent resolved
- Asthma: 82 percent improved or resolved
- Cardiovascular disease: 82 percent risk reduction
- Hypertension: 52 to 92 percent resolved
- Metabolic syndrome: 80 percent resolved
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): 72 to 98 percent resolved
- Type 2 diabetes: 83 percent resolved
- Stress urinary incontinence: 44 to 88 percent resolved
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome: 79 percent resolution of male pattern hair growth in women, 100 percent resolution of menstrual dysfunction
- Degenerative joint disease: 41 to 76 percent resolved
- Venous stasis disease: 95 percent resolved
- Gout: 77 percent resolved
In addition to these improvements, surgical weight loss has been found to improve quality of life in 95 percent of patients and reduce their risk of death within ten years by 30-40 percent.
Recovery time will vary depending the type of surgery you had and the complexity of your case. Average recovery times include:
- Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy: You can expect to stay in the hospital for two nights and resume your normal daily activities in two to four weeks.
- Adjustable gastric banding surgery: You can expect to stay in the hospital overnight and return to normal activities within one to two weeks.
- Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery: You can expect to stay in the hospital for two nights and return to normal activities within two to four weeks.
Diet after Weight Loss Surgery
After weight loss surgery, you will need to adjust your eating habits in order to heal from surgery, maintain your weight loss and make health improvements, such as lowering your cholesterol or blood pressure. Behavior changes typically include:
- Eating three to four small, regular meals and planned snacks each day
- Focusing on lean protein, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and a small amount of healthy fats
- Avoiding added sugars, concentrated sweets like fruit juice (whole fruits are usually okay), and fried or greasy foods
- Consuming sufficient protein to maintain muscle mass that promotes wound healing and immune function. Depending on your individual needs, this may average 60 to 100 grams per day.
- Taking vitamins and supplements as directed by your physician
Risks of an Unhealthy Diet after Weight Loss Surgery
Resuming poor eating habits can result in:
- Lack of initial weight loss
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Weight gain
- Modifying your behavior is important, because your body will tolerate food differently after surgery. For example, after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, high-fat foods may cause nausea, diarrhea and/or vomiting. Additionally, with any of the weight loss surgeries you may have pain or discomfort when consuming sticky, starchy foods, such as white rice or doughy bread.
Appetite after Weight Loss Surgery
Your appetite will likely change after you undergo weight loss surgery. Many gastric bypass patients have to remind themselves to eat on a regularly basis. If you have an adjustable gastric band, your appetite and the amount of food you are able to eat comfortably will be depend on how "tight" the band is.
Support After Weight Loss Surgery
After weight loss surgery, our team is here to support you. We offer:
- Support groups
- Individual counseling
Frequently Asked Questions
I don't think I can walk for 30 minutes a day the first week after surgery. What should I do?
- We recommend patients walk for 30 minutes a day starting the week after surgery so they decrease their risk of pain and blood clots. Initially, some patients are unable to walk for the recommended 30 minutes per day. However, it is important you try to walk as much as you can. Walk for five to 10 minutes a few times a day to reach this goal. Aim to walk more than you did the day before.
Is nausea common after the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy operation?
- Eating too much, too fast or failing to chew your food properly can lead to nausea. Be patient during your recovery, chew slowly, watch your portion sizes and drink plenty of fluids.
How much pain should I expect after the surgery?
- It varies from person to person. It is common to have pain at the incision site for the first few weeks after surgery. The incisions typically take four to six weeks to heal. During this time, avoid straining your abdominal area or doing any heavy lifting.
Will I be able to eat normally again?
- You will need to modify your eating habits after surgery.
When can I drive again?
- You won’t be cleared to drive until you have stopped taking your pain medications. Talk to your surgeon at your first postoperative visit about when you can start driving again.
What should I do if I experience constipation?
- Call our office at 864-560-7070 and ask the nurse for medication recommendations or other treatment options based on your individual needs.
Will I experience diarrhea?
- Diarrhea is common after gastric bypass once you add high-fiber foods back to your diet, such as leafy greens. High-fat foods can also trigger more frequent bowel movements. As you begin to eat more solid foods, make a note of what you ate that might have caused the diarrhea. If you experience blood in your stool or persistent diarrhea, contact our office.
When do I begin taking my other medications?
- Your surgeon will discuss your medications before you are discharged from the hospital. Please remember to discuss your medications with him during your follow-up visits as well. If you have Type 2 diabetes, you may be able to stop taking your diabetes medications soon after surgery. Again, talk with your doctor about your individual needs.
Will the staples used in surgery interfere with special tests I may need later?
- The short answer is no. The staples are very small and often cannot be seen on a regular X-ray. The small pieces of metal are non-reactive and typically get imbedded in scar tissue. Tests like CAT scans, MRIs, upper gastrointestinal (GI) series and ultrasounds are generally not a problem.