What to Expect After Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery can affect so many different aspects of daily life. Learn how it can improve your weight, quality of life and overall health.
Weight Loss in the Weeks and Months After Surgery
Physicians typically consider weight loss surgery to be successful when patients lose more than half of their excess body weight after the procedure. More importantly, surgery is successful when most or all medical issues improve or even completely resolve afterward.
Weight loss varies from patient to patient. It also depends on the type of bariatric surgery you have. But on average, you can expect to lose 60% to 80% of your excess body weight. In most cases, people keep at least half of their excess body weight off for the long term. The amount of weight you lose within the first year of the procedure and the amount you keep off for good depend largely on how well you follow a healthy diet and activity recommendations.
A Happier, More Active Life
Imagine being able to play with your children or grandchildren, get in and out of a car without help, ride a roller coaster, shop for smaller clothes and engage in activities you couldn’t do before losing weight.
“All of these improvements contribute to a higher quality of life for our patients,” said Sergio Bardaro, MD, surgical director of the MetroHealth Weight Loss Surgery and Weight Management Center. “Participating in the lives of loved ones is especially important.”
Treating Weight-Related Health Problems
“We work closely with patients in the year after surgery to adjust medication doses for conditions such as diabetes and blood pressure, if necessary,” said Eileen Seeholzer, MD, medical director of the Weight Loss Surgery and Weight Management Center. “We want to ensure those diseases are controlled, given a patient’s current weight and diet status.”
Medical conditions that may be greatly improved, cured or prevented after losing weight with bariatric surgery include:
- Sleep apnea, asthma and other respiratory disorders: Obesity can reduce lung capacity. This makes you more susceptible to respiratory infections and disorders such as asthma and sleep apnea. People with obesity are three to four times as likely to have asthma. More than half of people with obesity have obstructive sleep apnea.
- Bone and joint disorders: Obesity can contribute to many bone and joint issues, such as osteoarthritis, gout, herniated discs, spinal disorders and back pain.
- Diabetes: Obesity is the most common cause of Type 2 diabetes. Bariatric surgery has been shown to improve Type 2 diabetes in almost 90% of patients, with 78% going into complete remission. Bariatric surgery has also been shown to help prevent the development of diabetes in people who have been diagnosed with prediabetes.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Obesity is associated with a higher risk of GERD, which can cause heartburn, indigestion, vomiting, coughing and other symptoms. Gastric bypass surgery in particular can relieve symptoms within just a few days.
- Heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol: Approximately 75% of high blood pressure cases are linked to obesity. High blood pressure can increase your risk of coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, stroke and kidney disease. Gastric bypass surgery has been shown to lower cholesterol and improve HDL (good) cholesterol levels. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes all contribute to heart disease.
- Infertility: Obesity can negatively affect your fertility. Weight loss before and after bariatric surgery can significantly improve fertility in women. Be sure to speak with your physician if you plan to get pregnant after bariatric surgery.
- Stress urinary incontinence: Incontinence is a life-limiting, embarrassing condition that dramatically improves after weight loss surgery.