In general, the metric for bariatric weight loss surgery success is achieving a 50 percent reduction in excess body weight after the procedure is performed and maintaining that level for a minimum of 5 years.
Clinical studies indicate that most patients lose weight rapidly after surgery and continue to do so for 18-24 months after the surgery. Patients lose 30-50 percent of excess body weight during the first six months after surgery, and 77 percent as soon as 12 months after the surgery.
Another study indicated patients could maintain 50 to 60 percent loss of excess weight 10 to 14 years after surgery. Patients who started with a higher BMI tended to lose more weight. Type 2 Diabetics tend to lose less excess weight overall than patients without diabetes.
What are the Risks of Gastric Bypass Surgery?
Some gastric bypass patients may discover that some foods they previously enjoyed now taste bitter to them. They may also have an unappealing consistency or have an unappetizing smell.
Hormonal changes can lead to some gastric bypass patients experiencing “dumping syndrome,” or gastric dumping. This condition causes food to travel to the small bowel too quickly after eating meals rich in carbohydrates or sugar.
This can lead to a variety of symptoms, which may include:
- Mood Shifts
- Abdominal Cramps
If you experience any of these symptoms, you will most likely learn quickly what foods you can and cannot tolerate and adjust your diet accordingly. You can also use the way you feel after eating to help you determine what to eat and how much.
What are the Benefits of Gastric Bypass Surgery?
Gastric bypass procedures encourage weight loss by limiting the amount of food your stomach can hold as well as altering the way your stomach and small intestine absorb nutrients and calories from the food you eat.
Medical studies have indicated that gastric bypass surgery can trigger brain and hormone changes which affect your feelings of hunger and how full you feel when you eat.
This can cause you to feel full most of the time, leading to eating less. It can also help you to feel less susceptible to emotional and external eating triggers.
Other gastric bypass patients have also reported alterations to their dietary preferences, including:
- Lower tolerance for some foods and beverages such as meat, dairy, sugary snacks, or carbohydrates
- Reduced preferences for sugary foods and carbohydrates
- Less craving for foods high in fat or sugar
Because of these changes, you may find it easier to eat less and to eat healthier than you did before gastric bypass. This can help you lose more weight more quickly.
What are the Long-Term Side Effects of Bariatric Surgery?
As with any major surgery, gastric bypass and other bariatric surgeries can involve potential health risks in the short term and long term. Some of the side effect risks include:
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- Dumping Syndrome, which can cause nausea, diarrhea or vomiting
- Bowel Obstruction
Is it Possible to Regain Weight After Bariatric Surgery?
It is possible to regain weight after bariatric surgery if you return to unhealthy eating habits. While you may experience dumping syndrome after eating unhealthy foods at first when you get bariatric surgery, sometimes it subsides after a while.
This leads to being able to eat these unhealthy foods again without discomfort, which can make it tempting to do so. It is vital that you continue eating a healthy and balanced diet, even if you can eat unhealthy foods without any immediate discomfort.
To help yourself stay on track after bariatric surgery, experts recommend seeing a dietitian every 4-6 weeks and following their dietary advice. This way, you have some accountability and expert advice to help you lose weight more effectively and keep it off for the long term.
Weight Loss Surgery Could Change Your Life for the Better
If you have been losing the battle with obesity, choosing the right bariatric procedure could change your life and help you lose weight and improve your health. If you have further questions about the pros and cons of bariatric surgery or would like to know which bariatric procedure would best serve your needs, we would be happy to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!