Gastric bypass surgery is a type of bariatric surgery used to help people struggling with severe obesity lose weight. This is a major surgery, which will require significant recovery. If you receive surgery you will need to make major lifestyle changes.[1]Before committing yourself to this procedure talk with experts in the field about whether this is a viable option for you. If you are going to have this surgery, take steps to prepare yourself physically and mentally.

Part 1

Consulting the Experts

1.Visit your doctor. If you are interested in gastric bypass surgery, the first thing you will need to do is visit your doctor to find out whether this is a viable option for you. Your doctor will discuss the advantages and risks associated with the surgery, and will assess your need for the surgery.

 

  • You will also have to have testing done to ensure that you are a good candidate for the surgery.
  • Discuss alternatives with your doctor. Committing yourself to a healthy lifestyle is the least invasive and least risky way to lose weight.
  • There are other alternatives to gastric bypass. For example, there is the gastric sleeve, which works in a similar way to gastric bypass, but is a much less-invasive outpatient procedure.
2.Consult a specialist. Ask for a referral to a specialist in bariatric surgery. Your doctor may set up the specialist consultation for you, or you may need to contact them yourself.

 

  • Ask your specialist about what pre- and post-op resources the hospital offers to its bariatric surgery patients. The more support you have, the better.
  • Ask your specialist how experienced they are with the surgery. Just because a surgeon has less experience doesn’t mean they are not a good surgeon. However, more experienced surgeons may know how to deal with complications better.
  • Ask about complication rates. Find out how many of your specialist’s patients ended up dealing with complications after the surgery. The national average for complications related to gastric bypass surgery is 3.6%. Ideally, your specialist’s complication rate will be below that percentage.
  • Ask about your surgeon’s board certification and if their hospital is a Bariatric Center of Excellence.
  • Ask your specialist about the expected weight loss and in what time period. You should also ask about the recovery period more generally.
3.See a nutritional counselor. A big part of getting gastric bypass surgery involves learning how to live your life after the surgery is complete. The size of your stomach will be much different than it was before, and this will mean you have to change how and what you eat. Nutritional counseling will help you learn how to deal with these changes.

 

  • For example, you will learn that, as a result of the surgery, your body will not be able to absorb all the calories from the foods you eat. Thus, you will have to make sure that you are eating the right foods to keep you healthy. You will also learn that your meals will need to be smaller.
  • You might also learn that eating too many carbohydrates and/or sugary foods is likely to make you sick after your surgery.

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