Weight loss surgery has been around for well over fifty years now and, while there are of course risks the majority of patients are very happy with the results and enjoy a an enormously improved standard of living. However, there is a price to pay and you will have to lead a very different lifestyle following surgery which may be very hard unless you are prepared for the change.
Some of the post-surgical changes are obvious as the principle behind weight loss surgery is to drastically reduce the size of your stomach and physically restrict the quantity of food that you can eat. This simply means that those days of sitting down to a big meal are gone forever.
However some of the other consequences of surgery are less obvious.
For instance, even in small quantities the days of eating foods that are high in fat or sugar are also over. The results of eating foods of this nature can be extremely unpleasant as their rapid absorption in your newly shortened digestive tract can produce very disagreeable feelings of faintness.
You will also discover that the change in your eating pattern leaves you very short of water so that you need to get used to drinking small amounts of water during the day in order to avoid becoming dehydrated.
This is all very well but just what can you expect from obesity surgery when it comes to weight loss?
Results will of course vary from one person to the next but it is important to begin by looking at just how post-surgical weight loss is measured.
Here you have to begin by calculating how much excess weight you are carrying and this is done by working out your ideal weight. Working in pounds, for a man this will be 106 plus 6 times your height in inches minus 60. For example, for a man who is 5ft 10ins tall the ideal weight will be (106 + [6 x (70 – 60)]) which works out at 166 pounds. For a woman the principle is the same but here a women’s ideal weight is calculated as 100 plus 5 times her height measured in inches minus 60.
Thus, if we take the example of the man above and give him a weight of 366 pounds then he is carrying 200 pounds in excess weight. Weight loss is then measured in terms of the percentage of excess weight lost over time. So, if at the end of 6 months he has dropped 100 pounds then his weight loss will be 50 percent.
In the majority of cases you could expect to lose around 50 percent of your excess weight within the 6 months following surgery climbing to approximately 70 percent one year after surgery and to perhaps 80 percent at the end of 2 years. For the majority of patients however weight loss will stop after 2 years and some long-term weight gain will be evident. Long-term weight gain is typically around 10 to 15 percent of your excess weight.
Once again, as a general rule, if you are very overweight you will shed a greater percentage of your excess weight (possibly as much as 90 to 95 percent) while if you are not so heavily overweight you may shed as little as 60 percent within 2 years of surgery.
You will almost certainly not shed 100 percent of your excess weight and are not going to reach your ideal weight as a result of surgery. As a consequence, it is occasionally said that gastric bypass surgery is not a completely successful. Nevertheless the overwhelming majority of patients would not agree with this statement and will tell you that the improvement in their quality of life is simply unimaginable.