What Should You Expect Following Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Obesity surgery has been around for more than fifty years now and, while there are of course risks the majority of patients are very satisfied with the outcome and enjoy a a dramatically improved standard of living. There is however a price to pay and you will need to lead a very different lifestyle after surgery which could be very hard unless you are prepared for the change.

Some of the post-surgical changes are obvious as the basic principle behind weight loss surgery is to markedly reduce the size of your stomach and restrict the quantity of food that you can eat. This simply means that your days of enjoying a big meal are over.

However some of the other consequences of obesity surgery are less obvious.

As an example, your days of eating foods which are high in sugar or fat even in small quantities are also over. The results of eating such foods can be most unpleasant as their rapid absorption in your newly shortened digestive tract can produce very nasty feelings of faintness.

You will also discover that the change in your pattern of eating leaves you very short of water so that you must adjust to drinking small amounts of water throughout the day if you are to avoid dehydration.

This is all very well but just what should you expect from gastric bypass surgery in terms of weight loss?

Weight loss will of course vary from one person to the next but it is important to start by looking at just how post-operative weight loss is measured.

Here you need to begin by assessing how much excess weight you are carrying and this means working out your ideal weight. Measured in pounds, for a man this is 106 plus 6 times your height in inches less 60. For instance, for a man 5ft 10ins tall the ideal weight will be 106 + 6 x (70 – 60) which works out at 166 pounds. For women the principle is exactly the same but this time a women's ideal weight is calculated as 100 plus 5 times her height measured in inches less 60.

Therefore, if we take the example of our man and give him a weight of 366 pounds before surgery then he is carrying 200 pounds in excess weight. Weight loss is then measured in terms of the percentage of excess weight lost over time. Thus, if after 6 months he has lost 100 pounds then his weight loss will be 50 percent.

As a general guide you can expect to lose about 50 percent of your excess weight within 6 months of surgery climbing to about 70 percent after one year and to perhaps 80 percent after 2 years. For most patients weight loss will not continue beyond 2 years and some long-term weight gain will be seen. Longer term weight gain is usually about 10 to 15 percent of your excess weight.

Once more, in general, if you are grossly overweight you will shed a greater percentage of your excess weight (perhaps as much as 90 to 95 percent) while if you are not so heavily overweight you may shed as little as 60 percent in the 2 years following surgery.

You will almost certainly not lose 100 percent of your excess weight and are not going to get to your ideal weight as a result of surgery. As a consequence, it is sometimes said that weight loss surgery is not a complete success. Despite this the vast majority of patients would not agree with this statement and will tell you that the change in their quality of life is simply indescribable. Something that is clearly evident to anyone who has seen the many gastric bypass pictures posted online these days.