The First Year After Weight Loss Surgery

Week Three And Onward (After Your First Followup Visit)
After the first 3 weeks, you will slowly start to resume a more normal diet. It is important to meet with our bariatric nutritionist one or more times to discuss how your diet will change. Once you are about 3 weeks out from your operation, it is alright to go back to all normal activities, including exercising, swimming, etc. Most people are back at work by 3 to 4 weeks after their operation.

During the first month or 2 after surgery you may notice rapid weight loss, up to a pound a day or even more! It is especially important that you take your nutritional supplements (vitamins, iron, calcium and/or protein shakes, as recommended by your team) during this time.

Because of the rapid weight loss that occurs during the first year after surgery, it is particularly important to see your surgeon for the regularly scheduled follow-up visits at 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months after your operation. LAP-BAND® patients will need to be seen every 4 weeks in order to have their band adjusted. At these visits you will have the opportunity to discuss with the weight loss team how things are going, and to ask any questions you may have. Additionally, a comprehensive set of blood tests will be drawn to check your electrolytes, blood count, vitamin, mineral, and hormone levels. If there are any abnormalities you may need to change the amount of vitamins or supplements you are taking.

You are strongly encouraged to participate in the support groups that we have set up for postoperative patients! Most people find that these are an excellent opportunity to improve life after weight loss surgery and make new friends! These meetings occur on a monthly basis here at the Mount Sinai Program for Surgical Weight Loss. For your convenience, a schedule of these meetings for the current year is maintained here on the SurgicallySlim website!

Many patients notice changes in their mind and body during this period of rapid loss. Some patients find that they lose their appetite for certain foods they used to like. Some patients notice some hair loss during the first year. (Don't worry -- your hair should grow back once your weight stabilizes). Some patients notice dryness in their skin, and start using moisturizer cream.

FAQ Q. Is it OK if I become pregnant after weight loss surgery?

A. If you are female, it is critically important that you avoid becoming pregnant during the first year after weight loss surgery. Because your body is in "starvation mode" during this time, your fetus may not develop normally. It is imperative to use an effective means of birth control during this period or to abstain from sexual intercourse. If you do become pregnant during this time you should contact your surgeon immediately!

For more information about pregnancy and weight loss surgery, click here.

Special Instructions for the BPD-DS (Duodenal Switch)
With the BPD-DS operation, the changes in your body are substantially more profound. Your bowel movements will be softer and more frequent than before surgery. You will pass more gas from below. Your body odor may change. You may notice a change in the way your breath smells. These changes are unique to the BPD-DS and are not expected to happen with the gastric bypass or lap band.

Follow Up With Your Surgeon AND Your Primary Care Doctor is Essential!
During the first year after surgery, follow-up with your surgeon and primary care doctor is essential! If you are diabetic, there is a good chance that your diabetes will improve substantially; you will almost certainly need to change the dosage of your diabetes medication. If you suffer from sleep apnea, your condition may improve to the point where you no longer require CPAP or BiPAP. If you have high blood pressure, you may find that you need a lower dose of your blood pressure medication. Some patients come off their blood pressure medication entirely! In any case, it is important that your primary care doctor and your surgeon work closely with you in order to adjust your medications as needed.


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