Gastric bypass surgery is the latest medical technique in the field of controlling obesity and obesity related diseases. Weight loss procedures are either restrictive which reduce the size of your stomach or malabsorptive which lessen the flow of food from stomach to the intestine thus reducing the absorption of fat and other essential vitamins and minerals. These techniques are used in combination in gastric bypass surgery which creates a small pouch in your stomach making a larger area of your stomach not participate in retaining the food. Also, a bypass is created in the small intestine which allows partial absorption of food leading to weight reduction.
Laparoscopic procedures are used to create small incisions through which instruments and a camera is inserted into the body which enables the surgeon to perform the surgery which is done under general anesthesia.
The more pertinent question is of the recovery after the operation. The good news is though it is an operation taking several hours and a lot of precision, the recovery is relatively fast. The patient is discharged from the hospital within two to seven days depending upon individual condition. Doctors generally allow discharge once you are able to eat liquid or pureed food without vomiting, walk without major discomfort and are not taking injections for pain. This implies that the main discomforting symptoms are over by the first week. The vomiting results because the patient is not in-sync with the amount of food his newly created smaller stomach would be able to take and also because the new system created within the body takes a little time to assume smooth activity.
The overall recovery however takes several weeks and it’s suggested to strictly follow the guidelines and resume normal activity gradually. Doctors send patients home encouraging them to do small chores around the house. Stairs and normal bath routine is resumed only after a few days. You may need pain killers at home as well. It’s important to keep a track of fever, pain which should not escalate and proper healing of the wounds. There small incisions should not feel warm or look red and swollen and there should not be any fluids leaking from the cuts. Any such symptoms should be immediately reported.
Another serious condition during first two months of recovery can be “dumping syndrome” the indications of which are nausea, vomiting, sweating and fatigue. These conditions however would not appear if the diet guidelines are being followed carefully. Most importantly, you would have to be prepared for frequent doctor visits at least in the first whole year to keep a check on your diet, lifestyle, proper healing of the incisions, general recovery and progress and if there are any further surgical requirements.
With the recovery, it’s important to know the risks as well. There may be infections, nutrient deficiencies like B12 and iron leading to anemia, calcium deficiencies creating possibilities for early osteoporosis and inflammation of stomach lining called gastritis. The more serious issues can be hernia, blood clots in lungs, gallstones due to immediate loss of a lot of weight and ulcers. These are generally well explained before an individual agrees for gastric bypass procedures. Also, they are not frequently reported and there are various success stories that favor the procedure. It needs to be realized that risks run with almost all surgeries in medicine. Gastric bypass is meant for people generally crossing the BMI of 40 or a BMI of 35 with diseases like type 2 diabetes or heart diseases which have been controlled with weight loss in many cases.
So, what should be the general expectations of a person considering Gastric Bypass Surgery? The expectations should be good overall. On health front, you lose about sixty to eighty percent of excess weight with this operation. A person after this operation loses ten pounds a month on an average, the loss being higher in the initial months when liquid diets are part of the health maintenance and recovery regime. Your body reaches a stable weight within eighteen to twenty four months. Another good news is diseases like sleeping apnea, heart diseases, diabetes, pains in the lower back, knees and other joints reduces significantly and may even disappear with the weight loss. The good news however comes with various changes in lifestyle and food habits.
Thus, on nutritional front, utmost care needs to be taken to prevent any deficiencies and maintain the weight loss. The diet guidelines in this care are strict and should be necessarily adhered to. Post-operation you need to gradually shift from liquid to pureed and then small quantities of soft and further normal solid food. This is because your stomach is initially very small and expands with time thus increasing its capability to take in solids and larger amounts of food. Protein should be your major calorie provider accounting for about 70-75% of the total 800 calories that you should be consuming approximately. Carbohydrates should amount to 10-15% and fats about 5-15% in your diet. Sugar intake should be avoided or reduced especially in the initial months as it can cause dumping syndrome explained earlier. This is because a smaller stomach and reduces absorption makes it difficult to digest sugar thus causing convulsions and other symptoms. Vitamin B12, calcium, iron and other nutritional supplements would become a part of your life depending upon the doctor’s evaluation of your personal needs.
On physical front, you would look good with the weight loss but there may be issues of skin sagging due to sudden weight loss. At relatively younger ages, skin can recover and get back to adjust with the new weight but at later ages further surgery for correction may have to be considered. These include face lifts, tummy tuck, breast reduction, eye lid corrections, neck lifts and more.
On general well being after the operation, you should expect and be prepared for lifestyle changes which would require incorporating regular exercise and food constraints which would mean eating cautiously the amounts that your stomach can accommodate giving you the best nutrition and energy with it. Also, regular check ups for mental and physical health are suggested to make sure you get optimum benefits from the surgery.
Overall, it can prove to be a blessing for an excessively overweight person who would benefit from weight loss, reduced chances of diseases associated with weight gain and a surge in confidence.