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After Bariatric Surgery

At UPMC Bariatric Services, our relationship with you doesn't end after bariatric surgery. Our commitment to your health and weight loss success lasts a lifetime.

We're with you every step of the way.

First Year After Bariatric Surgery Guidelines

After bariatric surgery, you must totally change how you eat and approach food. It's also important to incorporate exercise in to your daily routine.

To assist you in these lifestyle changes and successful weight loss during the first year after gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, or laparoscopic band surgery, we will:

Everyone is Unique: What to Expect After Bariatric Surgery

While many people shed 50 percent of their body weight after their operation, everyone is unique. Some people burn fat faster than others. There's no set expectation for how much weight you will lose in the first, second, or third year following surgery.

Weight loss surgery should not be thought of as a quick fix. Following a diet and exercise plan maximizes the results.

Stay motivated by setting clear goals and realistic expectations. And, don't forget to celebrate the non-scale victories.

Ultimately, weight loss is more than just a numbers game. Limiting your perception of success to what you see on the scale can prevent you from realizing how far you have truly come.

There are many other micro-achievements that can be just as rewarding. If your waist size is dropping or you're getting closer to fitting into those jeans you never thought you would wear again, this means your post-weight loss surgery lifestyle is working as it should.

After Bariatric Surgery Problems

With all procedures, complications can occur post-surgery. Consult with your bariatric surgeon prior to surgery to make sure you understand all of the potential risks and complications for your weight loss procedure.

After bariatric surgery, it's not uncommon to experience side effects or other issues.

At UPMC Bariatric Services, we can help you with the following post-surgery problems.

Feeling isolated or depressed after surgery

Experiencing a mild degree of depression after having bariatric surgery is common. You need some time to adjust in the months following the procedure.

Weight loss surgery takes an emotional toll, so talk to your doctor if you're feeling depressed. UPMC offers monthly post-bariatric-surgery support groups to help you with any psychological or emotional issues that you might be having.

Loss of appetite: food doesn't taste as good

Most people experience a lack of appetite after their operation. Some even lose interest in foods they once craved or found appealing. This is caused by the production of ketone bodies resulting from metabolized fat.

Ketone bodies are biochemicals produced during a period of lower food intake by the liver and used by the body for energy instead of glucose.

Appetite loss after bariatric surgery is common and should subside in a few days. We recommend eating what feels comfortable and progressing slowly back to a regular diet.

Smell of cooking food makes you sick

Just as your appetite for certain foods, or food in general, may decrease after weight loss surgery due to ketone bodies, the smell of food often causes people to experience mild nausea. This and other side effects are short-lived.

Be sure to speak with your doctor if these or other changes last more than one month. You may be suffering from a mineral deficiency. Zinc deficiency is common in bariatric surgery patients. Your doctor can prescribe a supplement to help.

Post-op weight gain

The most common causes of post-op weight gain are unhealthy eating habits and a lack of exercise. Keep your post-surgery weight off by committing yourself to a healthy diet and exercise plan.

Take a look at UPMC’s stabilization diet for tips to maintaining a healthy weight for life.

Excess skin after losing weight

One side effect of successful weight loss is excess skin. After massive weight loss, your skin may hang loosely from your body, making you feel uncomfortable or self-conscious.

UPMC's Life After Weight Loss Program performs surgical and nonsurgical body contouring techniques to help you look and feel better after bariatric surgery.

Exercise after bariatric surgery

You should consult with your care team before resuming or beginning an exercise regimen post-surgery. Most patients can begin working out about six weeks after their procedure, but you should begin walking a few minutes each day as soon as you return home.

Drinking alcohol after bariatric surgery

Alcohol consumption is not recommended for people who have undergone bariatric surgery. Most alcoholic beverages contain little nutrients and excessive calories, which can work against your weight loss goals.

Alcohol may also be absorbed into the body more quickly following gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery.

Dumping syndrome and bariatric surgery

Dumping Syndrome occurs when large amounts of food quickly pass into the small intestine. This condition causes symptoms including:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea

Dumping Syndrome sometimes occurs after stomach surgery. 

Long-Term Support for Weight Loss Success Post Bariatric Surgery

While follow-up appointments with your bariatric surgeon and nonsurgical team become less frequent after one year, staying in touch with us is key to your long-term weight loss success.

Plus, we enjoy seeing the most obvious change in our patients’ appearance — the smiles on their faces.