Long Term Effects

on 11/13/11 6:14 am - MN
I had my surgery on September 7th and so far I am doing really well with my weight loss of over 40 pounds since pre-op.  I am putting it out there to all of you hoping that you will respond because I would really love to hear your take on this.  I would like to know if any of you, especially those of you who are long term, read or heard about any long-term effects of this surgery.  I know that different variables will come into play, such as age, general health, comorbidities, etc.  I do not regret the surgery, I just would like to know how this is going to affect me say 15 or 20 years down the road.  Thanks and I look forward to hearing your responses.  Having as much information as possible only helps me to know how to keep myself that much healthier as I continue my life time journey of health and wellness.
on 11/13/11 6:32 am - Parkton, MD
I'm not sure how many 15-20 year post ops you're going to get.  I have a friend that is 10 years post op and she doesn't have any negative affects to date from a health standpoint.  She has to still take her vitamens, get her protein in, etc.  But she doesn't have any other issues surgery related.
HW 357 SW 341   
on 11/13/11 6:47 am - MN
 Thanks much for replying.  Oh, I seriously doubt there is anyone on here who is 15 or 20 years out.  I'm just wondering what people have read about it, long-term studies, etc.  That's encouraging to hear that your friend 10 years out and doing well.  These are the types of encouraging things I like to hear about.
on 11/13/11 6:46 am - OH
The main things that come to my mind are nutritional deficiencies and reactive hypoglycemia.  I think everyone ends up with deficiencies at some point after this surgery.  If we get labs done regularly, though, and adjust our supplements accordingly and take the right things, they are not usually hard to manage.  Not everyone gets reactive hypoglycemia but it seems to be pretty common after two or three years.

View more of my photos at ObesityHelp.com          Kelly

Please note: I AM NOT A DOCTOR.  If you want medical advice, talk to your doctor.  Whatever I post, there is probably some surgeon or other health care provider somewhere that disagrees with me.  If you want to know what your surgeon thinks, then ask him or her.    Check out my blog.


on 11/13/11 6:50 am - MN
 Thanks Kelly, you make sense as usual :).  I read about a control group of obese individuals that at the end of the study showed the mortality rate was higher for those in the same group without surgery, versus those who'd had the surgery.  People who had the surgery died not from long-term surgery complications, but from other things unrelated to weight loss surgery.
on 11/13/11 7:09 am - OH
That doesn't surprise me.  I mean, one reason we want to have surgery is so we can live longer, right?  I think we also need to consider quality of life.  Even if I lived to be 80, if I weighed 270 pounds (or more, I bet I would have kept gaining over the years), I know I'd be miserable..

View more of my photos at ObesityHelp.com          Kelly

Please note: I AM NOT A DOCTOR.  If you want medical advice, talk to your doctor.  Whatever I post, there is probably some surgeon or other health care provider somewhere that disagrees with me.  If you want to know what your surgeon thinks, then ask him or her.    Check out my blog.


Cicerogirl, The PhD

on 11/13/11 8:50 am - OH
The people I know who are the furthest out from surgery are only 10-13 years out.  Both of them have struggled with some nutritional deficiencies that were easily corrected (although one of them got lax about having labs done and did not know about a couple of the issues until they were pretty significant) and some regain (a couple of clothing sizes), but neither of them have had any serious complications from the RNY.

When I was doing research before deciding to have this surgery, one of the things I was VERY concerned about is the fact that as we get older, our bodies naturally become less able to absorb nutrients (so I was very concerned about what would happen when I get to be 70 or 80 and have the lack of nutrient absorbtion from the RNY on top of the natural decline).  I was unable to find anything about this and my surgeon was not aware of anything.

I have, however, seen a number of medical articles/studies on general mortality statistics between WLS patients and non-WLS. ALL of them acknowledged some type of study limitation... usually related to not being able to provide a true control group since individual medical histories/conditions are involved (and uncontrollable outside of whom they accept for a study) and the limitations of being able to identify with any certainty what factors contributed to the cause of death. 

The bottom line in the things I read was that -- in general -- you are statistically much better off having surgery than remaining obese, but those who have had WLS still may die "significantly" earlier than someone who has never been obese (which was usually attributed to various irreversible or contributory types of damage to the body from the years of obesity rather than to complications from the surgery itself).


10 years out; 190 pounds lost, 165 pound loss maintained

You don't drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there.

on 11/13/11 12:50 pm - MN
Thanks Lora for your info and personal insight on this all important issue.  Your findings have been similar to mine when I was researching this surgery.  My conclusion is, we just don't know for sure and I would be very interested if someone is working on doing a longitudinal study with a good sample of individuals within good control groups.  My concerns are the same as yours with respect to aging and absorption issues.
on 11/13/11 6:58 pm
The most common long term effect is metabolic bone desease due to malabsorption of calcium. This strikes many people with any malabsorptive weight loss surgery.
 Also some people have issues with a type of anemia stemming from inability to absorb vitamin B12. This is absorbed in the part of the intestine bypassed during RNY.
Also iron poor anemia can be a problem. Vitamin D is another, which you need D to use the calcium.
Many people take a regimen of calcium, high dose of D, extra iron, and sublingual B12, in addition to several other vits. Contact Vita-Lady on here and get better advice than I can give.
There are many lab tests that must be done at least once a year, and more often if there is any deficencies.
If you have issues with constipation with the iron, you may have to add more fat into your diet.
Best wishes.
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