One of the most problematic complications we see after bariatric surgery revolves around patients who do not meet their nutritional requirements. Patients lose weight because of a significantly restricted caloric intake, meaning they will be ingesting and using fewer vitamins and minerals. Levels of specific vitamins and minerals are more affected than others. As such, patients must work with their practice to create a supplementation plan based on the procedure performed and the results of their blood panels taken periodically after surgery.
Vitamin supplementation seems like the easiest part of the postoperative bariatric life because it requires nothing more than remembering to take supplements. However, sadly, some patients do not or cannot comply either because of the cost of supplements or because they don’t fully understand how vital supplementation is. As a result, they may experience significant and sometimes permanent side effects from their nutritional deficiency.
Many of us enjoy a drink occasionally. Whether it’s a way to unwind after a long day or part of a social routine with friends or family, it is often concerning when you’re told that drinking has to be stopped entirely for the first six months after your bariatric procedure and that there are restrictions on drinking habits longer-term too.
Let’s go through what your life will look like with alcohol starting from the day of surgery.
Surgery has grown in popularity, along with the significant rise in morbid obesity in the United States and worldwide. Unfortunately, exercise only works for about 5 to 10% of people who lose a substantial amount of weight (and maintain it) without medical or surgical intervention. Even today, long-term weight loss is not guaranteed with new weight loss medications, for example. As such, we must discuss the five most pressing concepts we want every bariatric surgery patient to understand before surgery. Knowing and living by these things will undoubtedly make your postoperative life more successful.
Hernias are exceptionally common, with upwards of 25% of men developing an inguinal or groin hernia over their lives. Of course, only a fraction of these men get the hernia repaired because, for most, it never materializes with pain or discomfort. Similarly, while very few women experience groin hernias, they are more susceptible to femoral hernias, those that appear as bulges in the upper thigh. Both men and women have a risk of umbilical and incisional hernias in the abdomen as well. Obese patients are at a greater risk of hernias in the diaphragm and generally anywhere in the abdomen.
Body dysmorphia is one of the most common concerns that patients experience after surgery. Patients can’t see their tremendous progress for one reason or another, and they become discouraged, desponded, or flat-out quit. However, it always helps our patients to understand what to expect from their bodies after surgery so that they don’t have any misconceptions and are not frustrated or surprised by certain outcomes or lack thereof. So, without further ado, we will discuss the concepts you need to know after surgery. Understanding these will give you more insight into your bariatric journey and hopefully keep you on track for great results and fewer frustrations.
Calories in calories out are the basis for weight gain and weight loss, but it would be a mistake not to look any deeper and understand what that means. After all, it’s not just how much we eat that counts, but also what we eat, the ingredients we consume, and what we drink. So, let’s understand how you should eat and drink after bariatric surgery.
Before we do, however, let’s talk about tracking. Many apps out there track what you eat, but most, especially those that are free or very low cost, do so only by counting calories. To ensure you are hitting the mark for your bariatric diet, you may wish to invest in a food-tracking app that also tracks the proportion of protein, fats, and carbs you’re consuming. Tracking your hydration status by following your water intake is also an excellent way to understand your full dietary picture.
Vitamin D is one of the most crucial vitamins our bodies need, regardless of whether we’ve had bariatric surgery. It is also a vitamin many if not most, Americans are deficient in. Why? Exposure to ultraviolet radiation (sunlight primarily) allows for the synthesis of Vitamin D. Now, you may spend plenty of time in the sun, but if you use sunscreen/sunblock, your skin will absorb far less UV. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with several possibly problematic issues, including a lack of calcium absorption that can lead to osteoporosis, fatigue, bone pain and more. The benefits of adequate vitamin D levels extend beyond the physical as well. Vitamin D can prevent or help manage anxiety and depression. Continue reading
Let’s say you’ve just had bariatric surgery, or you’re well into recovery. You’ll probably remember the staff at the hospital getting you up and about, walking almost immediately after you woke up post-surgery. There’s a good reason: walking improves circulation, lowering the risk of a blood clot or infection after surgery. It’s also the first representation of the new life you must pursue after surgery. It would be great if the pounds melt off after surgery with diet alone, and to some degree, they do, but every patient must understand their exercise responsibilities after surgery to ensure they optimize their weight loss.
If you are considering the gastric sleeve or have already had one, you may be concerned about whether you can stretch the newly created pouch after your bariatric procedure. You may have even heard of other patients who enjoyed excellent weight loss results only to regain some or all their weight after years or decades, and you may be concerned that you will end up in that same position. First, we should say that you’re asking the right question. You’re concerned about the long-term integrity of your surgery, and this, while boring compared to the excitement of rapid weight loss, is the key to your long-term success and health. Even before we continue, it’s worth mentioning that success is up to you, and whether your sleeve stretches or not is based on your willingness to follow a new, and sometimes rather challenging, postoperative lifestyle.
We’ve covered weight loss medications like Wegovy and diabetes shots like Ozempic and Mounjaro in a previous article. Should you wish to learn more about these drugs currently being used on- and off-label for weight loss, we encourage you to read about them before continuing with this blog. However, if you have done your research and understand a good deal about the weight loss options available to you, this article will explain how we approach weight loss medications and surgery for various BMI levels.