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After Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is life changing event. The procedure will not only change you physically but mentally as well and you should be prepared for these life-altering changes. 

The modifications made to your gastrointestinal tract will require permanent changes in your eating habits that must be adhered to 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.

Gong back to work and living your normal life again may also be challenging event. 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.

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.

It may also be in your best interest to surround yourself with people who have experienced or are experiencing the same changes. 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.

Keep in mind that you will change and it is of utmost importance to learn to benefit from these changes in your body and mind. Take this chance to get to know and understand your body. This, after all, is the new and improved you, so enjoy who are and be proud of who you are. You have a second chance at life in a very real sense. Enjoy yourself. It is the first step to becoming the person you always knew you were!