Gastric bypass surgery is a method that can help an individual to lose weight by means of changing how the stomach and small intestine deal with the food consumed. After surgery, the stomach is much smaller than before. In addition, the food eaten will no longer pass into some regions of the stomach and small intestine that absorb food. Thus, a person who has undergone gastric bypass surgery feels dull with less food afterwards. His or her body will not also get adequate nutrition and calories from food.
Like any other major surgeries, gastric bypass also has short or long term accompanying risks. Some of the risks include:
- Profuse bleeding
- Anesthesia sensitivity
- Blood clots
- Breathing difficulties
- Gastrointestinal leaking
- Death – in rare cases
After a Gastric Bypass Surgery
After having a gastric bypass surgery, as well as other weight loss procedures, the patient is not permitted to eat for one to two days. This post-operation procedure allows the digestive system like the stomach time to heal. The recovery time depends on the size of the cut made. For people who had a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery, they may stay in the hospital for two to three days, while in an open surgery, where a bigger incision was made, hospital stay and recovery will last longer. Most patients stay in the hospital for two to four days after surgery.
While in the hospital, the patient will be asked to sit on the bed and try to walk a little on the same day of the surgery. Doing so helps remove any gas that is left from the insufflation – the method used to enlarge the abdomen and provide room for the operation. At least three times a day of walking will be advised while the patient is in the hospital. A catheter (tube) that goes through the nose and into the stomach is placed to help drain fluids from the intestine. The catheter will remain for one to two days. A catheter may also be inserted to remove the urine. Another tube may be placed to the larger portion of the stomach that was bypassed. This tube will come out at the side of the abdomen and will drain fluids.
Special compressive stockings may be recommended to patients. They may wear it on their legs to prevent the formation of blood clots. Pain medicine may also be given since the area/s where the incision/s was made will be sore after surgery. It can be taken orally or be administered through an IV.
The patient is ready for discharge if the patient is able to eat liquid or pureed food without experiencing vomiting, can move around without experiencing severe pain, and does not need a pain medicine (oral tablet or via IV). The surgical team must also ensure that the wounds are properly healing, that there are no leaks in the staple line, and the patient is able to pass gas that indicates that the digestive system is properly working.
A specific diet will be followed for about 12 weeks. This special diet starts with liquids only and then will progress to soft or ground foods. At the last stage of the diet, regular foods will then be eaten. Limits or restrictions on the type of foods and drinks, as well as their quantity, may also apply.
Frequent medical checkups are needed to monitor the general health of the patient during the first several months after gastric bypass surgery. Blood workups, laboratory tests, and various exams may be done.
During the first three to six months, the patient can experience changes as the body reacts to the quick weight loss after gastric bypass surgery or other weight loss procedures. Changes can include:
- Feeling tired like in the case of having a flu
- Dry skin
- Mood changes
- Body aches
- Feeling cold
- Hair loss
- Hair thinning
Results for Gastric Bypass Surgery
Long term weight loss is the main result of gastric bypass surgery and other weight loss procedures. It is possible that within two years after the patient's surgery, half of his/her original body weight or even more of the excess weight will be lost.
After gastric bypass, seventy percent of the excess body weight is expected to be lost within two years. The weight loss is more rapid during the first year where sixty percent of the excess body weight is to be lost. It will then slow down during the second year with just an additional of ten percent weight loss.
Aside from weight loss, health conditions related to obesity or overweight may be improved or resolved after gastric bypass surgery. They include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Sleep apnea
- High blood pressure
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
People who had gastric bypass surgery also experience an improved ability to do routine activities that could also help improve their quality of life.
Excess Skin After Gastric Bypass Surgery
Loose or extra skin is very common after weight loss surgeries such as gastric bypass. The amount of excess skin will depend on the following factors:
- The more weight a patient loses after gastric bypass, the more likely the patient will have excess skin. The skin is stretched when a person becomes obese. The stretch is usually beyond the skin’s elastic limit. Once the skin’s elasticity is compromised, it will not be able to go back to its normal tightness.
- How fast a patient's weight is lost can also determine the amount of excess skin. The faster the weight loss, the higher is the likelihood for loose skin. Patients who have undergone gastric bypass surgery may experience more volumes of excess skin due to the dramatic weight loss during the first few months after their surgery.
Although gastric bypass surgery can successfully eliminate the fat in the body, it cannot, however, cause the skin to go back to its pre-obesity firmness and tightness. Thus, an obese individual for many years can be left with excess rolls and folds of the skin, especially around the breasts, limbs, tummy, and hips. These rolls and folds become most noticeable twelve to eighteen months post surgery. They may appear ugly and can be difficult to keep clean, thus, the person can become vulnerable to have infections and rashes.
To remove the excess skin, cosmetic surgery can be used, although, it is not a medical necessity. However, many patients who have undergone weight loss surgeries opt to undergo cosmetic surgeries such as body contouring. A body contouring procedure involves removing most of the excess skin and then tightens the remaining skin.
Cosmetic surgery is still a surgical procedure. Therefore, there are possible risks that can develop during or after the procedure. Patients must be able to fully understand the advantages and disadvantages of cosmetic surgery.
No Weight Loss After Gastric Bypass
It is possible for some weight-loss surgeries to fail. There are some cases wherein problems after of within the procedure are encountered, such as a defective adjustable band. If you notice that you are not losing weight, or have stopped losing weight, consult your doctor right away to avoid developing other health conditions. You must maintain follow-up checkups with your doctor after your gastric bypass surgery. Your health care provider can assess and monitor your progress in your weight loss journey.
- Most patients stay in the hospital for two to four days after gastric bypass surgery.
- During the first three to six months after surgery, the patient can experience changes in the body.
- After gastric bypass, seventy percent of the excess body weight is expected to be lost within two years.