Life After Bariatric Surgery: The Weight Loss Surgery Lifestyle

Diet After Bariatric Surgery
Going Back to Work After Bariatric Surgery
Birth Control and Pregnancy
Long-Term Follow-Up
Weight Loss Surgery Support Groups
Plastic Surgery Procedures After Weight Loss

Life after Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery is not a quick fix. It's an ongoing journey toward weight loss through lifestyle changes. After surgery, the difference in your body makes it physically easier to adjust your eating and lifestyle habits. Fortunately, you will not have to go through the process alone. A team of professionals will be there to support your efforts. Positive changes in your body, your weight, and your health will occur, but you will need to be patient through the recovery process.

Diet After Bariatric Surgery
The changes made to your gastrointestinal tract will require permanent changes in your eating habits that must be followed for successful weight loss in your new life after bariatric surgery. Postsurgery dietary guidelines will vary by bariatric surgeon. You may hear about postsurgery guidelines different from the ones you receive. It is important to remember that these guidelines will be different depending on the surgeon and type of procedure. What is most important is that you follow your surgeon's guidelines. The following are some of the generally accepted dietary guidelines for a healthy diet after bariatric surgery:

  • When you start eating solid food, it is important to chew your food thoroughly and eat very slowly. It is important to wait two to three minutes after swallowing before putting the next bite of food in your mouth. You will not be able to digest steaks or other chunks of meat if they are not ground or chewed thoroughly.
  • Don't drink fluids while eating. They will make you feel full before you have eaten enough food. Fluids consumed with meals can cause vomiting and dumping syndrome, and can lead to feeling hungry sooner after a meal.
  • Don't eat desserts and other items with sugar if they have more than 3 to 5 grams per serving size.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks, high-calorie nutritional supplements, milk shakes, foods high in fat, and foods that have no nutritional value.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Limit snacking between meals. Eating after bariatric surgery will be much different than before!

Going Back to Work After Bariatric Surgery
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. Most patients return to work and are able to exercise within one to three weeks after their laparoscopic gastric bypass. Patients who have had an open procedure do so about six weeks after surgery.

Birth Control and Pregnancy
It is strongly advised that women of childbearing age use the most effective forms of birth control during the first 16 to 24 months after weight loss surgery. The added demands pregnancy places on your body and the potential for fetal damage make this a most important requirement.

Long-Term Follow-Up after Bariatric Surgery
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, and can depend on your diet after bariatric surgery. 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 be conducted at least yearly and more often as indicated.

Life After Bariatric Surgery; Support Groups
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. Our surgeons have support groups in place to assist you with short-term and long-term questions and needs, including the most effective exercise and diets after bariatric surgery. 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 in their life after bariatric surgery.

See a video clip about the importance of support groups for successful life after bariatric surgery:

Plastic Surgery Procedures After Weight Loss
Most patients who undergo gastric bypass, or some form of gastric banding procedure, do lose weight. Many lose a lot of weight. But this massive weight loss brings problems of its own.

Typically patients are left with large folds of excess skin, along with loose muscles and sometimes localized pockets of unsightly fat tissue. In such cases, bariatric plastic surgery procedures, or lipoplasty (liposuction), can help to reshape the normal structures of the body in order to improve appearance and self-esteem.

Plastic surgery is not an easy option. Mostly, it involves exchanging one cosmetic problem (eg. loose skin) for another (scars). As always, seek advice from your doctor before making a decision.

Plastic Surgery Procedures to Remove Loose Skin and Fat
For patients suffering from morbid or malignant obesity, choosing bariatric surgery to reduce calorie intake may offer them a passport to a healthy life. But even if such surgery causes them to lose substantial amounts of weight, they may face new problems which may necessitate further operations.

Plastic Surgery to Remove Loose Skin
When bariatric surgery (eg. gastric bypass) leads to dramatic weight loss, excessive amounts of skin can accumulate and hang in various areas, including face, neck, breasts, upper and lower abdomen, flanks, armpit, back, buttocks, arms, forearms, thighs, legs, and calves. This surplus skin can cause considerable hygienic problems, skin irritation, skin breakdown, pain and infection.

Plastic Surgery Procedures to Remove Excess Residual Fat
In addition, even though the patient might have experienced massive weight reduction, this weight loss may not be evenly spread around the body. This also depends on the patient's type of obesity condition (whether gynoid or android). Bariatric plastic surgery procedures can help to reduce these fat deposits, either by surgical excision or lipoplasty.

Cost of Plastic Surgery Procedures
The price of bariatric-related plastic surgery procedures can vary significantly, depending on several factors.

  • Patient's condition
  • Complicating factors
  • The plastic surgeon
  • The hospital chosen
  • The type of anesthesia
  • Complications arising

Patient's Needs
The full cost of your plastic surgery procedure is unlikely to become clear until after you have been examined by your surgeon, and your individual requirements and needs ascertained. Even then, you may need follow-up procedures after your plastic surgery.

Principal Costs of Plastic Surgery Procedures
The main elements in the total price of your plastic surgery procedures include:

  • Surgeon's Fee
  • Anesthesiologist's Fee
  • Operating Room Fee
  • Hospital Costs

Average Fees of Plastic Surgeons
The US national average for surgeon-fees for selected plastic surgery procedures are:

  • Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) $4,827
  • Arm Lift (brachioplasty) $3,299
  • Body lift (Circumferential Panniculectomy) $7,874
  • Breast Lift (Mastopexy) $3,965
  • Breast Reduction (Women) $5,351
  • Buttock Lift $4,793
  • Face Lift $5,966
  • Forehead Lift $3,065
  • Male Breast Reduction (Gynecomastia) $3,124
  • Liposuction (Lipoplasty) $2,578
  • Thigh lift (Thighplasty) $4,308

(Source: American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery)

Health Insurance Cover for Plastic Surgery Procedures
Reconstructive plastic surgery procedures are typically covered by health insurance if performed for medical reasons. Cosmetic plastic procedures - operations performed for "cosmetic" reasons - typically are not covered.