Now that you have entered the final stage of your bariatric journey, it is only common to feel pain and make certain adjustments in your diet and lifestyle. Bariatric surgery has been a privilege to give yourself a new “you.” But in every hardship and endeavor, there are corresponding responsibilities and consequences to face. Since the body will have to make some adjustments, the precautions during pre-operation should have been taken into consideration thoroughly.
Bariatric surgery is not a simple procedure that is taken as an outpatient method; it is a major operation even if the procedure has been conducted through a minimally invasive method. The recovery time for your bariatric surgery may depend on which procedure you choose.
The expected duration of post-surgery can be from the same day (operation) to 3 weeks, inclusive of rest time before returning to work. Pain at this time could be from mild discomfort to manageable given with complete medication. Diet transition will be slowly elevated from clear liquids to solid foods until the new stomach has adapted to the new situation; the same with exercise and normal activities.
What can be expected from bariatric surgery?
As much as 80 percent of the stomach will be removed from bariatric surgery. Generally, it can give the following results:
- Less hunger
- Feel full sooner
- Decrease obesity-related diseases
- Lose weight up to 75 percent of excess weight
After bariatric surgery, your bariatric surgeon will discuss how your body is going to adjust to the changes. Obviously, while changes will occur in the whole digestive system, the digestive process will be hampered of its natural course. Hence, your body will experience deficiency in vitamins and nutrients. Your health professional will work out the best options with you the food choices and required vitamins so that your body can cope with the new system. Further, post-bariatric surgery, dumping syndrome may be experienced.
Also called rapid gastric emptying, dumping syndrome is a condition when food moves from your stomach quickly into the duodenum. This happens after your bariatric surgery when the food or sugar goes down quickly since it will “bypass” a major part of your stomach. Abdominal cramps and pains are the common symptoms of dumping syndrome.
The food you eat which that is high in sugar, such as soda drinks and fruit juices, will rush through the stomach and cause sudden weakness, nausea, and vomiting. To avoid this, it is better to deviate from sugary food after bariatric surgery and start eating by small amounts until the stomach gets used to it.
To overcome dumping syndrome, changes in the diet should be significantly considered immediately. After surgery, your bariatric surgeon will warn you of two forms of dumping syndrome. The first type is early dumping syndrome, which occurs just after 10 to 30 minutes after a meal. Late dumping syndrome occurs 2 to 3 hours after a meal.
Other side effects of bariatric surgery
In any procedure concerning the body, there are corresponding side effects. These side effects are expected to be good or bad so it better to be ready and let your body adapt as early as possible to the signs. If ignored, these can lead to more serious complications. Dumping syndrome is one of the common side effects of bariatric surgery; the rest are listed down below:
- Buildup of gallstones
- Intolerance to foods
- Dental problems
- Sag skin due to sudden weight loss
- Possible weight regain
- Leakage on the sites conjoining the stomach and intestine
- Stricture in the intestine opening
- Dizziness, bloating, sweating, and vitamin, minerals, and nutrient deficiency
Although very minimal, you will be at risk of a serious complication, such as blood clots in the legs or deep vein thrombosis, which can lead to pulmonary embolism in the first few weeks post-surgery. To keep the blood flowing, surgical stockings are worn to allow faster blood flow when the legs are compressed. Helping the patient walk after recovery will prevent blood clotting.
Hernias after bariatric surgery may also happen. They are not serious side effects though, but may require surgery to repair them. Hernias occur when there is complication in the wounds after being strained from body weight. If the bariatric surgery is done through laparoscopic procedure, which is minimally invasive, the risk of hernia is minimal. But for open surgery, the risk is higher. With modern techniques, bariatric surgeries are done using laparoscopic techniques.
Another complication might be the occurrence of bowel obstruction. Scar tissues that form from the two ends of an incision that are sewn together can result to bowel obstruction. It is important that your bariatric surgeon will explain to you this occurrence.
The good in return: Benefits of bariatric surgery
Going back to one of the causes of major health problems, morbid obesity seemed to have no solution until bariatric surgery came into light. Obesity has been blamed for underlying causes of serious health conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases. According to a report in 1991 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), people with morbid obesity should lose weight and combine this measure with lifestyle modification. The NIH believed that in order to lose excess weight, this combination is the most reliable solution against obesity but can be achieved in a long-term process. Additionally, three societies, the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the Obesity Society recommend bariatric surgery as the last resort to fight obesity. It was included in their guideline that an experienced bariatric surgeon and only qualified patients are eligible to undergo bariatric surgery.
Towards bariatric surgery, serious health conditions resulting from obesity will be alleviated.
- Weight loss will help fight diabetes. Since the procedure involved limiting the amount of food, the amount of sweets is lower, and medication is possibly not necessary.
- People with hypertension and that have resorted to bariatric surgery might be able to discontinue or reduce medication due to normal blood pressure. Your physician will monitor your status if you are eligible to change your medication.
- Significant weight loss due to bariatric surgery can reverse infertility and menstrual-related problems. However, immediate pregnancy after bariatric surgery is not recommended as the body still has to cope with nutritional deficiencies brought about by the surgery.
- Relief from heart and breathing-related problems are another major benefit from bariatric weight loss. Patients feel better after the surgery.
- Bariatric weight loss surgery will alleviate joint and lower back pains. Due to overbearing of weight, obese individuals could not engage in an active lifestyle then. But everything changes since pounds lost gave significant relief to the body.
Commitment to good life
Bariatric surgery offers a lifetime benefit. Though the ultimate results may be for a long term, most people who made an informed decision to accept bariatric surgery as their last resort do not end their quest there. Given the consequences, good and bad, of bariatric surgery, these people who committed to keep the weight off are decided to combine good diet and active lifestyle to avoid complications and prevent themselves from returning to old habits.
Bariatric surgery is one of the best methods for weight loss and health management, and it is not magic. The concept of losing weight normally after the surgery would be easy for you to defeat obesity. Without the effort and commitment, bariatric surgery will not be an effective health intervention after all. Choose a top bariatric surgeon, and ask him all the necessary points regarding your decision on bariatric surgery. Your bariatric surgeon will guide you through so you will be able to cope with nutritional deficiencies thereafter, and follow-up care is required. Ask your bariatric surgeon about it and he will lay down the best options and methods fit for you.