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Gastric Bypass Expectations PDF Print E-mail

Many bariatric surgeons tell their patients that gastric bypass is "tool" to help them lose weight. It's not automatic, and the patient's behavior after surgery plays a very large part in her/his outcome.

Gastric bypass works in part by making the stomach much smaller so that one feels full sooner. It also probably works to curb the amount one eats because the food goes quickly into the small intestine, and chemical messages are sent to the brain telling the satiety center(s) that food is present.

What Gastric Bypass Can Do

  • Feel full on smaller meal
  • Improve sense of self-control
  • Help many avoid sugary food

What You Must Do

  • Avoid snacks
  • Choose healthy foods
  • Be active and exercise
  • Make psychological adjustments

Weight Loss Expectations

Most studies suggest that patients lose about 2/3 to 3/4 of their excess weight over the first two years. Longer term studies have shown that on average patients keep off at least 1/2 of the excess over 5 to 15 years. Thus there is often some weight regain after the first two years, but patients are much less obese even long after surgery. The weight change for a large group of patients from Dr. Callery's practice are shown on the outcomes graph.

Improvement of Weight Associated Medical Conditions (Comorbidities)

Many cormorbid problems such as diabetes, sleep apnea, or hypertension will improve dramatically with significant weight reduction. Response varies from person to person. Improvement depends on how much weight is lost, the nature of the particular problem, and on whether permanent damage has already been done.

For instance, adult onset diabetes and sleep apnea syndrome tend to improve dramatically and often disappear after significant weight loss. Hypertension improves in most patients and resolves in half. A patient who has severe degenerative arthritis of the knee will find that weight loss will make the degenerative changes easier to live with. However some permanent changes may have already occurred and these of course will not be reversed.

Have more questions about what to expect after gastric bypass surgery?

We've built an online community where you can chat with your peers about what to expect from gastric bypass surgery. Feel free to post a question and get feedback from others who have gone through the process. 


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