Life after gastric bypass surgery: What to expect

Written by: Mr Ahmed Hamouda
Published:
Edited by: Kate Forristal

Gastric bypass surgery requires significant lifestyle adjustments, starting with a strict fluid-only diet that gradually transitions to solids, while avoiding sweets to prevent complications. Recovery includes a brief hospital stay and a gradual return to activities. Though rare, complications can occur, including nutritional deficiencies. Regular exercise is essential for sustained weight loss, typically noticeable within the first year. In his latest online article, Mr Ahmed Hamouda explores the necessary dietary changes, recovery process, potential complications, and expected outcomes following gastric bypass surgery.

What dietary changes are necessary after gastric bypass surgery?

The postoperative protocol is clear and regimented. A two-week fluid only diet is followed by another 2 weeks of soft blended food before progression to solids is slowly encouraged. Sweets and rich food can cause dumping, so it is recommended to stay away from these food substances. Naturally there is some dietary restriction following a bypass, so small portions and slow eating is essential.

 

How long does the recovery process take after gastric bypass surgery?

Post-procedure the expectation is to spend one to two nights in hospital recovering from any discomfort or nausea. There are no drains or tubes left behind and the venous access is usually removed the day following surgery. I recommend taking two weeks off driving and to avoid heavy lifting for 6 weeks. If working from home, all being well, it is possible to resume doing so in 4-5 days’ time.

 

What are the common complications or side effects following gastric bypass surgery?

All the risks of surgery apply such as bleeding, infection, clots in the legs travelling to lungs and the risk of conversion from keyhole to open surgery. Gastric bypass can cause nutritional deficiency, dumping or internal hernias to form leading to bowel obstruction. However, these risks are rare. It is possible to suffer with some nausea and have vomiting episodes until the individual gets used to the new dietary patterns caused by the restrictive element of the procedure.

 

What exercise or physical activity is recommended post-gastric bypass surgery?

Six weeks following surgery, all being well, the internal and external healing process has completed, and exercise is strongly encouraged. It is best if the individual chooses a physical activity that they enjoy and love but were unable to do in the past, as this helps long term adherence. It is essential that these activities are incorporated into the weekly schedule for life to aid long term weight loss. These procedures are only tools that work if the individual commits to changing their lifestyle and eating behaviours.

 

When can patients expect to see significant weight loss results after gastric bypass surgery?

Weight loss can continue for months to a year following surgery. The final results are really only evident in a years’ time. It is important to remember that weight loss slows down as time goes by and it becomes harder to lose the same amount of weight as lost initially after surgery. It is also important to consider the procedure as a tool in addition to increased activity and healthy eating behaviours without which the chances of success is less. 

 

Mr Ahmed Hamouda is an esteemed upper GI and bariatric surgeon. You can schedule an appointment with Mr Hamouda on his Top Doctors profile.

By Mr Ahmed Hamouda
Surgery

Mr Ahmed Hamouda is a highly respected consultant upper GI and bariatric surgeon based in Kent. He is renowned for his expertise in bariatric surgery, as well as gallbladder and abdominal hernia surgery. He also specialises in reflux surgery and balloon endoscopy procedures.

Mr Hamouda qualified in medicine at Ain Shams University, Egypt in 1992 before pursuing further training within a residency programme in general surgery. He later relocated to the UK to undertake specialty training, including an esteemed year-long laparoscopic biliary fellowship in Glasgow, where he gained invaluable expertise in minimally-invasive cholecystectomy and bile duct exploration procedures. Following the completion of his surgery specialty training, he also completed a six-month advanced bariatric fellowship in a renowned Centre for Excellence in Bariatric Surgery. For over ten years, Mr Hamouda served as an upper GI consultant at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust and is now based at Nuffield Health Tunbridge Wells Hospital, where he is an integral part of the bariatric service, bringing with him his wealth of expertise and experience in endoscopic sleeve, gastric band and gastric bypass procedures, amongst many others. He also sees private patients at the KIMS Hospital in Maidstone, the Benenden Hospital in Cranbrook and Sevenoaks Medical Centre.

Throughout his esteemed career, Mr Hamouda has been involved in the education of medical students and his academic excellence earned him a university lectureship post shortly after graduating in medicine. Additionally, he has published a number of academic papers which appear in peer-reviewed journals. He regularly participates in important meetings within his field and is a member of a number of key professional bodies, including the British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society, the Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons and the European Association of Endoscopic Surgery. He is also director and lead bariatric surgeon at Weight Loss Surgery Kent.

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