What to Expect After Surgery
Improved Quality of Life
Weight loss varies from patient to patient, but on average you can expect to lose 60–80% of excess body weight following Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass surgery, and 50–80% following sleeve gastrectomy. Substantial weight loss occurs in the first 12 to 24 months after surgery. Typically, weight loss surgery at MetroHealth is performed laparoscopically (minimally invasive surgery). Patients often experience shorter hospital stays, smaller incisions and quicker recovery periods.
In general, patients experience an overall improvement in their quality of life. Many weight loss surgery patients express elation at being able to actively participate in going to the store, playing with their children or grandchildren, getting in and out of a car, riding a roller coaster, shopping for regular sized clothes, improvement in mood and other aspects of psychosocial functioning after surgery.
Post-Surgery Support Group
Medical conditions that may be greatly improved after surgery include:
- Asthma/Respiratory Insufficiency: Most asthmatics find that they have fewer and less severe attacks, or sometimes none, following weight-loss surgery. Improvement of exercise tolerance and breathing ability usually occurs within the first few months. Often, patients who have barely been able to walk find that they are able to participate in family activities and even sports.
- Diabetes: Most Type 2 diabetics obtain excellent results, usually within a few weeks after surgery: normal blood sugar levels, normal Hemoglobin A1C values, and freedom from most of their medications, including insulin injections. Based upon numerous studies of diabetes and the control of its complications, it is likely that the problems associated with diabetes will slow in their progression when blood sugar is maintained at normal values. There is no medical treatment for diabetes that can achieve as complete and profound an effect as surgery, which has led some physicians to suggest that surgery may be the best treatment for diabetes in the seriously obese patient. Abnormal glucose tolerance, or "borderline diabetes," is even more reliably reversed by surgery.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: Relief of all symptoms of reflux usually occurs within a few days of gastric bypass surgery for nearly all patients.
- Heart Disease: Although we can't say definitively that heart disease is reduced, the improvement in problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes certainly suggests that improvement in risk is very likely. In one recent study, the risk of death from cardiovascular disease was profoundly reduced in diabetic patients who are particularly susceptible to this problem.
- High Blood Pressure: At least 70 percent of patients who have high blood pressure and who are taking medications to control it can stop all medications and have a normal blood pressure, usually within two to three months after surgery. When medications are still required, their dosage can often be lowered, with reduction of medication side effects.
- High Cholesterol: Gastric bypass surgery helps lower cholesterol and improves the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL (good) cholesterol.
- Infertility: Weight loss surgery may help infertility in obese women, especially those that are infertile due to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Significant weight loss after surgery can help restore normal menstrual cycles, reduce high androgen levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes… all which plays a role in a woman's fertility. However, it is usually recommended that you wait 18-24 months after surgery to get pregnant.
- Low Back Pain, Degenerative Disk Disease, and Degenerative Joint Disease: Patients usually experience considerable relief of pain and disability from degenerative arthritis and disk disease and from pain in the weight-bearing joints. This relief tends to occur early, usually with the first 25 to 30 pounds lost. If there is nerve irritation or structural damage already present, it may not be reversed by weight loss and some pain may persist.
- Sleep Apnea Syndrome: Dramatic relief of sleep apnea occurs as our patients lose weight. Many report that within a year of surgery their symptoms were completely gone, and they had even stopped snoring altogether - and their spouses agree. Many patients who require an accessory breathing apparatus to treat sleep apnea no longer need it after surgically induced weight loss.
- Stress Urinary Incontinence: This condition responds dramatically to weight loss and usually becomes completely controlled. A person who is still troubled by incontinence can choose to have specific corrective surgery later, with much greater chance of a successful outcome with a reduced body weight.