Bariatric surgery results in significant weight loss for many patients, but there are many factors that affect gastric bypass success. It is extremely important for patients considering this surgery to talk to their doctors at length about their weight problems and the recovery process, because how well the patient adheres to the doctor's advice following the procedure is the single largest factor that plays a role in gastric bypass success. Other factors that affect the ultimate outcome of the surgery are how good of a candidate for the surgery the patient is and whether there are complications during or after surgery.
Following a healthy exercise plan after surgery is critical to gastric bypass success. Patients who undergo the procedure are physically able to eat much less than they could prior to surgery, but consuming unhealthy foods high in calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol will hinder weight loss. Certain foods swell in the stomach and may cause discomfort or stretch the pouch after a gastric bypass. Patients should avoid eating too much bread and pasta, as well as large quantities of raw vegetables, meat, or sticky foods. Gastric bypass patients often need to take vitamins or supplements for the first few months after the procedure to reduce the risk of nutritional deficiencies, which can hinder weight loss and cause other health problems.
Making and following an exercise plan after surgery can increase gastric bypass success. Exercise helps gastric bypass patients lose more weight and change their lifestyle habits to avoid gaining the weight back after their stomachs adjust to the smaller size. Patients may be advised to avoid strenuous exercise for the first few weeks after surgery, but most can start an exercise plan that includes low-impact activities, such as walking or cycling, by the second month after surgery.
A patient considering gastric bypass should consult with his surgeon extensively before the procedure to make sure he is a good candidate. Gastric bypass can be a risky procedure, and patients with certain pre-existing medical conditions, such as heart disease or lung problems, may not be able to have the surgery due to potential anesthesia risks. Weight loss surgery is most effective for patients who need to lose weight because it is impacting their health and who are psychologically prepared for the commitment the surgery requires in terms of changing their eating habits.
As with any surgery, weight loss surgery carries risks both during and after the procedure that can affect gastric bypass success. Patients may experience bleeding or an allergic reaction to anesthesia that could alter the benefits of the surgery and be extremely dangerous to the patient's health. Other risks include vomiting, diarrhea, gallstones, kidney stones, and problems with the incision site. Gastric bypass patients who have severe complications after the procedure may lose weight more slowly or have to undergo a reversal of the surgery.