Life After Surgery
Frequently Asked Questions
- How much will my “new stomach” be able to hold?
- Will I ever be able to eat regular foods again?
- Will I be getting proper nutrients even though I won’t be eating as much?
- Will I lose my hair?
- How will my diet change after surgery?
- When can I go back to work?
- Do I need to use birth control after my surgery?
- Do I have to come in for long-term, follow-up care after my procedure?
- Do you offer support groups?
A: Approximately two ounces (similar to a baby’s stomach). This is why it is important to eat small meals frequently throughout the day (just like a baby).
A: After following the blended diet for four weeks, your diet will be advanced to solid foods. Eventually, you will be able to enjoy most foods again. You may find that certain foods will not agree with you; this is highly individual and varies from person to person.
You will need to avoid sugars, choose low-fat foods and eat much smaller portions. Other than these items, however, you should be able to eat a wide variety of "regular" foods.
A: Your new diet should be varied enough that it includes foods from all the different food groups. However, by eating much smaller portions, having a smaller stomach capacity and having a reconstructed intestinal area, it will become difficult to get adequate amounts of all nutrients in your diet.
It will be very important to take a multivitamin with minerals, a B12 vitamin, calcium and iron supplements on a daily basis for the rest of your life.
A: Some patients complain of hair loss following surgery. Usually this is due to a lack of protein and/or vitamins in your diet and also as a stress response from surgery. Generally, when it does occur, it is only temporary and the hair does grow back.
In order to prevent it from happening in the first place, it is very important to focus on getting adequate nutrition on a daily basis by following the guidelines for each specific food group.
A: The changes made to your gastrointestinal tract will require permanent changes in your eating habits that must be followed for successful weight loss. Post-surgery dietary guidelines will vary by surgeon.
You may hear of other patients who are given different guidelines following their weight loss surgery. It is important to remember that every surgeon does not perform the exact same weight loss surgery procedure and that the dietary guidelines will be different for each surgeon and each type of procedure. What is most important is that you adhere strictly to your surgeon's recommended guidelines.
The following are some of the generally accepted dietary guidelines a weight loss surgery patient may encounter:
- When you start eating solid food it is essential that you chew thoroughly.
- You will not be able to eat steaks or other chunks of meat if they are not ground or chewed thoroughly.
- Don't drink fluids while eating. They will make you feel full before you have consumed enough food.
- Don't eat desserts and other items with sugar listed as one of the first three ingredients.
- Don't drink carbonated drinks, high-calorie nutritional supplements, milk shakes, high-fat foods and foods with high fiber content.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Limit snacking between meals.
Q: When can I go back to work?
A: Your ability to resume pre-surgery levels of activity will vary according to your physical condition, the nature of the activity and the type of weight loss surgery you had.
Many patients return to full pre-surgery levels of activity within six weeks of their procedure. Patients who have had a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure may be able to return to these activities within a few weeks.
A: It is strongly advised that women of childbearing age use the most effective forms of birth control during the first 16 to 24 months after weight loss surgery. The added demands pregnancy places on your body and the potential for fetal damage make this a most important requirement.
A: Although the short-term effects of weight loss surgery are well understood, there are still questions to be answered about the long-term effects on nutrition and body systems. Nutritional deficiencies that occur over the course of many years will need to be studied.
Over time, you will need periodic checks for anemia (low red blood cell count) and Vitamin B12, folate and iron levels. Follow-up tests will initially be conducted every three to six months or as needed, and then every one to two years.
A: Yes, we offer support groups. View our support groups
The widespread use of support groups has provided weight loss surgery patients an excellent opportunity to discuss their various personal and professional issues. Most learn, for example, that weight loss surgery will not immediately resolve existing emotional issues or heal the years of damage that morbid obesity might have inflicted on their emotional well-being.
Most surgeons have support groups in place to assist you with short-term and long-term questions and needs. Most bariatric surgeons who frequently perform weight loss surgery will tell you that ongoing post-surgical support helps produce the greatest level of success for their patients.
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