Ask the Bariatric (weight loss) surgery Guy.

First off, this is my first post. My wife, Rez, is on this board sometimes and told me that she started a thread about the surgery on the temp board (sorry for everyones temp. loss). She said that everyone was very positive with their posts so I figured I’d come on here and answer anyone’s questions.

I recently had gastric bypass surgery (march 20th), and I’m completely happy with and proud of my decision to do so. Everything has gone wonderfully and I have already lost 18 pounds. I can already tell the little sacrifices that I have to give up are nothing compared to the benefits of the surgery. Already, I have seen my energy go up (just ask the wife;) :D) and the 2nd chin is almost completely gone already. So far the biggest changes have been to my face, arms & legs, although I will need to get out some of my older pants soon.

I am open to any questions you may have and I will answer them to the best of my ability. I can tell you all this; if you are thinking about it, DO IT!

By the way, I am about 5’9" and was 275 at the time of the surgery. My highest recorded weight was 305. I am currently at 257lbs.

If anyone wants, I will post my progress pics (if I can post em). I will take them every month. So just tell me if you want to see.

Oops, I thought you were someone who performed surgery - perhaps liposuction. I only dropped in to ask if you moonlighted as a soap-maker.

Welcome, FunLvnCriminal and good health to ya!

I have a few qs if that’s OK.

  1. Is it permanent (the bypass/staple?) or once slimmer do you get it unstapled?

  2. How exactly does it work - do you actually get less hungry? (If so how does that work?) Or do you just get ill if you do eat too much?

  3. How much can you eat, and what?

  4. Do you have to take any health supplements/vitamin drinks now to supplement your much smaller food intake?

Thanks, and congrats on the op and good luck in future weight loss and health!

Heresiarch: thanks for the warm welcome, and someone might be watching too much fight club?


  1. Yes it is permanent. That way, once you get the weight off, you are able to keep it off.

  2. In my case, Laproscopic RnY, They stapled off a very small section of my stomach to make about a 1-oz. pouch. Then they devoid my small intestine and attach it to the small pouch. Right now my stomach is about the size of a newborn child’s. Over time this pouch will expand to about 8 or 9 oz. I have yet to feel hungry since I had the surgery, I know it sounds funny, but I am starting to forget what it feels like to be hungry. The only way I know I need to eat is by looking at the clock. (Yeah! Food no longer runs my life) I have not overeaten yet. I have come close but that’s it. It was slightly uncomfortable. From what I hear, If you overeat it is painful and it is often accompanied by vomiting because the food has nowhere to go.

  3. I do have to be more careful about what I eat. Mainly I just have to stay away from things that don’t digest well like seeds and skins. Right now I can usually eat about 2-3 oz. or about 1/3 a can of ravioli. Then I am full. I have not overeaten yet. I have come close but that’s it. It was slightly uncomfortable. From what I hear, If you overeat it is painful and it is often accompanied by vomiting because the food has nowhere to go. I also have to stay away from carbonated drinks for a while. And any bread I eat has to be toasted. This is because the new exit route opening into my intestines is smaller then before. Where yours is about the size of a quarter, mine is about the size of a dime. So far nothing I have eaten has disagreed with me. I can eat fruit (peeled), yogurt & pudding, pasta, chicken & fish. Basically the only thing I really can’t have is red meat. But that will change in about 2-3 more weeks.

  4. Yes, I have to take vitamins now, but then again we all should, I just have to now. Food stays in my system less time now so I need more vitamins to make up for that. I also need a b12 supplement.

Hope this answers your questions.

Why did you do it? Did you try other ways to lose weight? It seems like such a final, drastic step. How did you and the doctors determine that this was the way to go? Once you are down to your goal weight, will you have surgery to remove “excess” skin? Is there ever the possibility that you will regain all the weight you lose? Are you doing any sort of mental therapy to help your mind adjust to the “new you?” (Boy, I have a lot of questions!)

How long from your decision to surgery? Do you like your doctor? Did you have to see a psychiatrist before the surgery? How often are you seeing the doctor now?

Oh, and welcome to the boards. I remember the temp thread your wife started, I’m glad you’re feeling good after the surgery.

peedin: Yes, I have been trying for years to lose the weight. I have been over 200 lb. since I was 15. I have tried about every diet known to man with some working better then others. Problem is that without fail, the weight always came back, and it always brought company.

There are very specific guidelines that the Dr. goes by. The short answer is that I have tried to diet for years and it didn’t work. I tried Dr. supervised diets, both regular and prescription. A Body Mass index of 40 or above is considered morbidly obese. Mine was 43.

I had been thinking about the surgery for about 2 years. The thing that made me finally go for it was the fact that I was about to lose my job for being over weight. (Yes they can do that, OSHA safety regulations “safe weight limit for working aloft”) I did it for myself and my family in many ways. It was worth the risk.

As far as the skin, Yes a lot of people have that done. I am hoping that being as young as I am and not too far overweight, that I will be able to work out enough to avoid this. But If I can’t then I will have it done if it is needed. I would be lying to you if I told you this was not about looking better, because some of it is, but it is mostly about getting healthy so I can be around for important events in my families lives.

I do plan on going from time to time to the support group they have set up for post-ops. And I will also attempt to visit a shrink later on as things start to change for me. It will all depend on how I feel and what is going on in my life.

And finally, sure there is a chance that I could one day regain all the weight I lost. This surgery is a tool to help me get where I want to be. I control how I do. My mother had the surgery about 15 years ago and is still doing well. She now has to fight with losing 10 pounds instead of trying to lose 50+ pounds.

Jane D’oh: (love the name) Thanks for the welcome. As far as the time frame for mine, I was lucky and unusual. With the problem at work, they sped me through. From the time I decided to have the surgery to the time of recovery, I think it was about 45 days =/- 5.

My Dr. was amazing. He looks like he is in his mid 20’s which freaked my wife and mother out completely, but I was totally at ease with him. He really cared and he was the main reason that I got into surgery so fast. Hell, I didn’t even have to call the insurance company to find out if I was approved (this can sometimes be a 2-3 month ordeal), the Dr. called me 4 days after my consult visit.

No, I didn’t have to see a shrink before surgery. The doc decided I had everything in order up there and there was no need. Boy did I have him fooled :stuck_out_tongue: . I went for my 1 week checkup 6 days ago and I was doing so well (i.e. he did such a good job) that I won’t have to go back to see him until 3 months. Then I think I have a 6-month checkup and a 1-year checkup. After that, its once a year for the rest of my life.

Just wanted to say that I think it is wonderful that you went for it! I was scheduled for a similar surgery on april 9th, but i got word today that is has been moved to the 10th. What’s one more day of being nervous and waiting right?!?!

This has been a big decision for me…and one that has taken a long time to make. It was a year and a half of research…and lot and lots of thinking! I think my greatest concern was people finding out that i had it done, and thinking that i was weak for not being able to ‘do it on my own’. Then, through doing my homework…i’ve discovered that by no means is this an easy way out of a weight problem. It is a complete lifestyle change, and the surgery is only the boost that some people need to make the change. The results are quicker…which is always a bonus!

Anyways…I wish you the best…and a speedy recovery! I will be in the hospital for a week, and when i get back home, i’ll fill you in on how it went!

Raini, Congrats. I am so happy to hear that you made the choice. It is the best thing yhou could do for yourself. Good luck.

By the way, I had my first (non-family) “Wow, you have really lost weight” today. :smiley:

Welcome to the SDMB!

In the past year, I lost 100 pounds. For me, the answer was correcting a metabolic imbalance (hyperinsulimia) through meds and then diet and exercise rather than surgery, but I strongly believe that different things work for different people, so good luck to you.

I was interested in your comment about perhaps seeing a shrink at some point, especially since I am one. :slight_smile: I expected more emotional upheaval than I had in losing weight. I assume that you have heard the same stories I have about people being freaked out by weight loss and psychologically “needing” to be overweight and therefore regaining the weight. IMNSHO, that is a load of crap. In the bad old days, we blamed schizophrenia on “bad mothering.” I think that blaming weight gain on psychological reasons is a similar thing; we don’t fully understand the physical process, so we assume it is psychological.

All of this is a long-winded way to say that I doubt you will have any trauma worth a shrink’s time over this. Certainly, I hope your experience is as positive as mine has been.

I think it’s great that it’s working for you and you feel so good about it.

I don’t think it’s so great that you are recommending it to everyone.

The surgery is extreme, long term health problems are still unknown, short term health problems are many, a fair number of people gain the weight back, and surgery itself can be deadly.

No one should make such a choice lightly.


Are you saying that “it’s not what you’re eating, it’s what’s eating you” is also a load of crap?

I have never felt like my eating was in any way, shape, form, or fashion a “psychological” problem. I think it has solely to do with the fact that I have a 250 pound appetite on a 5’2" frame. I think if the world would stop laughing at us long enough to do some meaningful research, it would find out that it’s a chemical imbalance, a hormonal defect, etc etc and has nothing to do with emotions, willpower, etc.


Since “hunger” has never been the reason I’m fat (since I don’t stop eating long enough to get hungry), it would seem this surgery would be too dangerous for me. I can’t “turn off” my appetite, and since appetite does not originate in the stomach, how does this address the compulsive component of overeating, or does it?

You betcha. Ok, for some (and I bet it is a minority) being obese is psychological, but I think for the rest of us, it is medical–hormonal, genetic, something we don’t understand yet. For the years of my life from 13-39, any MD would have said there was no medical reason for my weight. Then a few years ago I read about hyperinsulimia, got tested for it and lo and behold, a medical reason for my weight was born. It existed all that time, of course, but medical science didn’t know about it.

It is far too easy to blame things on psychological factors when we do not know the answers. I think it is a “blame the victim” mentality and it pisses me off. (Not that you can tell, eh?)

On a side note: Re: your appetite. Hmmmm…that is a characteristic of hyperinsulimia. Email me if you want to know more.

hello and welcome to the boards!

I’m currently 350.

I’ve now officially done everything to lose the weight, and while somethings have worked well, others have not, and I, like you, have always regained the weight.

I’m pretty much down to surgery myself, in fact, my sister just had it and is doing well.

I’ve found a new physician who seems to be willing to work with me, and I’m giving the diet/exercise thing one more shot.
I hope I can make a go of the diet/exercise because I’m a little scared about surgery, but whatever the case, good luck to you and keep us posted.


Brynda: I am not worried about needing to be overweight or anything like that. In fact I’m not really worried about anything. But I want to be open to seeing a shrink if there was a need to. Just an example that I can think of now, as I lose more and more weight, I may start to get more positive attention from the ladies. I will be a big change from what I am used to and I’ve got to be sure I can understand and deal with it. If this makes any since to you, good, If not, oh well :slight_smile:


Yes true, the surgery is extreme. But in my opinion, well worth it. Sure, many of the long-term health problems, if any, are not known yet. But I think EVERYONE knows what the long-term effects of being obese are. As for gaining the weight back, well, ultimately that is the responsibility of the individual. All I know is that the method that has been used on me (lap RnY), has the highest success rate. That’s 94%-96%. And not to make light of the surgery being deadly, but so can driving a car & eating food. But we still do it every day. The surgery I had has less then a 1% death rate. That includes the people that have the surgery that are in the HIGH-RISK category (over 500 pounds heart problems and so on).

lorinada: I can’t answer you completely on that because I really don’t know your situation, but one thing to think about is this; If you could only eat 2 oz every time you snacked right now, would you be overweight? As for me, yes, I still snack, but all I can eat is about 5-8 cheese puffs at a time, which is less then, half a serving on the bag. I have found that I want to snack less. But I can’t really say if it would be for you or not.

Billy Rubin: Good luck with your new Dr. I hope it works out for you. And congrats to your sister as well. I spent about 5 years on diets 2 of those years were on medically supervised diets.

I am not saying that people should not diet. But here is a line from The Surgical Weight Loss Program Handbook at Medical Center East in Alabama. “In 1992, a National Institute of Health (NIH) study revealed that medically supervised weight loss programs failed 96 to 98 percent of the time over a five-year period.”

Also, here is a great place for info about Doctors, surgery options, support groups & Doctors all over the US that do the surgery and what patients have thought about them. Good luck.

By the way, I am now two weeks out and I am down to 255. Thats 20 pounds already. This is the lowest weight I’ve seen in about 3 years. I am wearing a shirt RIGHT NOW that I have not been able to put on in about 2 years. :smiley: :cool: :smiley: :cool: :smiley:

Do you feel like it was your only option?

How many calories do you take in daily now?

Philster: No, It was not my only option. I could have struggled with my weight for the rest of my life. Always being on a diet. Lose my job because I was over the weight limit (my job has a 3 strikes rule about that). And I could probably die early of problems from being overweight. See my family history has about everything you can imagin bad in it. And a 22, I “HAD” high blood pressure which was not a good sign.

For me it was a simple decision. I had no worries going into the surgery. Not one. I was ready for it, and it is what I wanted for my life. I wanted to be normal again. Does a Normal person watch what they eat? Yes! Is a normal person on a diet all the time? No! And thats what I want for me.

2 1/2 wek update: I have lost 25 pounds so far and had to throw away a pair ao pants because They fell off while I was walking. Yep, right around my ankles. I was inside my house when it happend, but I can say that I would have been just as happy about it if it happend in front of alot of people.

Do you have any info as to whether women lose the weight after surgery as quickly as you seem to be losing? I mean, men always seem to drop weight quicker than women on any diet (ex. my sister and brother-in-law started Weight Watchers together a few months ago…he has dropped 44 lbs, she has lost 20). Does this surgery equalise that difference?

How much did it cost? How long before you could go back to work?