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What to expect before and after bariatric surgery


What is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery is a term that encompasses various surgical procedures aimed at reducing severe obesity when other methods such as diet or exercise have not been effective. These procedures alter the digestive tract, leading to reduced food intake and/or absorption. Typical operations include gastric bypass, where a portion of the stomach is bypassed, or sleeve gastrectomy, where a large portion of the stomach is removed. These are profound changes that require a long-term lifestyle adjustment and must be seriously considered. Surgery is a tool – not a magic wand – and discipline in nutrition and lifestyle is required even after the procedure.
Before undergoing bariatric surgery, thorough preparation is necessary. You will have many appointments, first with your general practitioner and then with specialists. These steps ensure that you are ready for the operation. Nutritionists will assist you in changing your eating habits. You may need to lose weight before the operation to make it safer. The mental aspects are also important because you need to understand what awaits you after the surgery. Sometimes, psychological counseling may be necessary as well. Additionally, check which medications you should temporarily discontinue. It is crucial that you take all these steps seriously so that you are well-prepared for the operation and achieve the best results.

Was man vor und nach einer Adipositaschirurgie erwarten kann

The criteria for bariatric surgery

Not everyone can simply decide to undergo bariatric surgery, as there are clear criteria. Generally, the body mass index (BMI) should be at least 40 or 35 if serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure are present. Another point is that one must prove that other weight loss attempts through diet and exercise have been unsuccessful. In addition, a psychological evaluation is recommended to ensure that one is mentally prepared for this life-changing operation. Of course, before going under the knife, one must also undergo a comprehensive health examination to rule out any potential risks. The criteria prioritize your safety and aim to ensure the best results.

Different types of bariatric surgery

There are several methods in bariatric surgery to support weight loss. Two common procedures are gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy. Gastric bypass changes both the stomach and small intestine to limit food intake. On the other hand, sleeve gastrectomy involves removing a part of the stomach so that one can eat less. Both methods are effective against obesity and come with different benefits and risks. Which option is suitable depends on individual factors and the decision made in consultation with the treating physician.

The process: What happens on the day of the operation

On the day of bariatric surgery, it is important to stay calm and follow the instructions of the medical staff closely. First, there will be a final consultation with the surgeon to clarify all details and address any remaining questions. Then, the nursing staff will prepare the patient for the procedure, usually involving changing into hospital attire and washing with a disinfecting solution. The patient is then transferred to the operating room. Here, they will be placed under general anesthesia, meaning they will be asleep and won’t feel anything during the entire operation. The duration of the procedure depends on the type of bariatric surgery but can take several hours. After surgery, the patient is taken to the recovery room where they will wake up under medical supervision. It is normal to feel drowsy and perhaps a bit uncomfortable initially. A team of specialists will ensure that the healing process starts optimally and any pain is well managed.

Follow-up care and recovery immediately after bariatric surgery

The care after bariatric surgery is crucial for success and your health. Directly after the operation, it is particularly important to adhere to the nutrition and exercise plan provided by the treating team. The body needs time to adjust to the new circumstances. In the first few weeks, you should follow a liquid or pureed diet. Gradually, solid foods can be reintroduced. It is also essential to drink plenty of water and ensure adequate nutrient intake – this may require taking vitamins and minerals.
Initially, exercise should be light and focused on increasing mobility. Many patients report feeling tired and need to learn to gauge their new energy levels. Feeling weaker at first is normal, but with time and regular exercise, you will build up your stamina again.
Emotional support is also an important aspect. Conversations with therapists, support groups, or other individuals going through similar experiences can be a great help in processing lifestyle changes and staying motivated. Be patient with yourself and do not expect to get everything right overnight. It is a process that requires time and perseverance.

Long-term expectations and lifestyle changes

After bariatric surgery, lifelong adjustment of lifestyle is essential to maintain the benefits gained and sustain a healthy weight in the long term. This means committing with patience and dedication to dietary changes, regular exercise, and ongoing follow-up care. It starts with nutritional counseling to help identify foods that are both nutritious and filling to ensure a balanced diet. Small, protein-rich meals are recommended. Drinking habits also change; one should sip slowly and avoid drinking during meals. Exercise will play a central role – the goal is to achieve at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. In addition, regular check-ups with the doctor are necessary to monitor health status and progress. Psychological well-being also plays a significant role, so conversations with a therapist or support group can be supportive.
These adjustments take time and effort, but many patients report significantly increased quality of life. It is important to see these changes as long-term investments in one’s health and to stay motivated through the initial adjustment phase.

Possible Risks and Complications

Bariatric surgery is not a walk in the park, and like any surgery, there are risks and potential complications that must be taken seriously. Let’s be clear: While most people undergo the surgery without major problems, complications such as infections, bleeding, or a poor response to anesthesia can occur. Long-term risks may include malnutrition, gastrointestinal issues, and even psychological effects. This is not a reason to panic but worth sober consideration. Careful post-operative care and adherence to medical instructions are crucial to minimize these risks. To put it bluntly, this operation is a powerful tool in the fight against obesity, but one must also be aware of the potential pitfalls.

The psychological effects of bariatric surgery.

The psychological effects of bariatric surgery can be significant and should not be underestimated. While the operation can lead to positive changes in a person’s life, it can also bring about emotional challenges. Some individuals may struggle with adjusting to their new body image, dealing with issues related to food and eating habits, or experiencing feelings of regret or disappointment if the expected weight loss is not achieved as quickly as hoped.
It is important for individuals undergoing bariatric surgery to have a strong support system in place, including access to mental health professionals who can help address any psychological issues that may arise. Counseling, therapy, and support groups can be beneficial in navigating these emotional challenges and ensuring long-term success after surgery.
Overall, being aware of the potential psychological impacts of bariatric surgery and having strategies in place to address them can contribute to a more positive outcome and improved quality of life for individuals undergoing this type of procedure.

The New Life After Bariatric Surgery

After bariatric surgery, many people embark on a whole new chapter in their lives. The body undergoes changes, which also requires a shift in lifestyle habits. You are likely to feel full quicker, as the stomach has a smaller volume post-surgery. Therefore, it is important to focus on smaller portions and a balanced diet. Nutrition should be rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals to optimize body nourishment. Regular exercise is also essential to support weight loss and maintain fitness. Many patients report improved quality of life, increased energy, and boosted self-confidence after the operation. However, discipline is key as only those who permanently change their dietary and lifestyle habits will achieve long-term success. Remember that regular follow-up examinations with the doctor are essential to monitor the success of the surgery and detect possible complications early on.
Please visit our blog page to read our other articles that will help you on your weight loss journey. You may also be interested in the posts we share on our Instagram page.

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