Talk to me About Bariatric Surgery

I’d like to hear from those who have had it and wouldn’t mind sharing their thoughts.

Which type of surgery did you have? How much weight have you lost? Are you happy that you had the surgery? Regrets? What would you change?

Feel free to add any thoughts or opinions please and thanks :smiley:

I have not had bariatric surgery, but my sister has. She had a lap band, and I think I can say pretty confidently that she regrets not having a gastric bypass. She has not had good weight loss results with the lap band and has had all sorts of problems.

I went with the gastric bypass because I was pretty sure I’d find a way to defeat the lap band. That whole migrating band issue didn’t sit well either.

I’ve got no regrets-- losing 180 lbs gave me my life and made me feel like a human being for the first time.

I do wish I’d been more active before surgery, it would have made recovery a little easier to have had some actual muscle to help move around. At first I was frustrated at how little I could eat-- I was used to eating huge amounts and felt very deprived.

Eventually I figured out I could still have the foods I liked, just in smaller amounts. It seems like such a simple concept, but for someone who never ate a reasonable portion, my brain was worried I’d starve.

Now a days I have to make an effort to keep from picking all day, so self-control is still needed. A change in my meds has made me want to eat all the time and I could end up where I started, a half cup of food at a time.

After a couple of years, there aren’t any foods I can’t eat, though proteins and carbs like rice and bread fill me up super fast. Alcohol is one thing I have to watch. It’s absorbed very quickly and I can get tipsy before I know it. And forget Nyquil-- alcohol plus sugar makes you feel worse than the cold you’re treating.

If you have a choice, a surgeon who specializes in gastric bypasses is the way to go. It was reassuring to know every step, before and after, would be handled properly. They should have hundreds of these surgeries under their belt, with a nearly non-existent mortality rate.

Good luck!

Your post just jogged my memory - a previous thread:

Here at work we get a good number of conversions from band to bypass. Bypasses just seem to be more effective.

Percent excess body weight lost:

At one year, 30.5% from band, 62.4% from GBP. At 2 years, 37.7 from band, 68.1 from GBP. But after that, GBP patients start gaining weight again, while band patients tend to level off.

My husband is about to have a RNY bypass in a little over one week.

I can’t imagine having one done by a non-specialist. The surgeon he’s seeing does probably a dozen or more a week, and has recently started using the DaVinci surgical robot to assist, so he’s definitely keeping up on new techniques.

There is definitely a huge psychological component to the process. You will no longer be able to let food play such a large role in your life as it does now - no more “comfort” eating, for example. We know someone who apparently fibbed her way through the psych evaluations, and ON THE WAY HOME FROM THE HOSPITAL wanted (and got) fried chicken. The next day, she was back in the hospital with bits of fried chicken wandering around inside her belly. Now, some years later, her procedure was an utter failure and she’s bigger than ever.

I hesitate to weigh-in, because mine was not exactly bariatric surgery.

In 2003 I had surgery to correct what was thought to be a hiatal hernia. The surgery went bad and due to a perforated stomach in 2005, I had what has been described as a modified Roux-en-Y bypass.

The difference for me is, in a standard Roux-en-Y a small pouch is left, but for me they did a true by-pass, the stomach is no longer in the pipe-line; the esophagus goes straight into the small intestine.

While I have lost weight, most of it was either due to recovery or actively trying to do so. I will tell you truthfully that if I wished, I can gain weight by eating poorly. No, let me state it more precisely: If I do not practice discipline I gain weight. When I return to my old eating habits, I gain weight.

When you sign up, they will make you lose 10% of your body weight (or so I am told) to show that you are serious. IMO, if you can do that, why would you maim yourself? Why not continue to show this kind of discipline?

I can rarely enjoy a normal meal with friends. I have to graze all day in order to eat enough. If I don’t graze on the *right *foods, if I eat the kinds of foods that made me fat to begin with, I gain weight.

I was once over 300 pounds. I am now less than 200.

When I left the hospital in 2005 (after the bypass) I weighed 207 pounds. I was, at one time after that, 264 pounds.

If I had not had the surgery, I cannot tell you for sure that I would ever have made myself lose the weight that I have. I think I would. I lost 40 pounds in 2012. I did that by eating correctly and walking daily.

I am full in just a few bites. And then I am hungry again in 20 minutes. I do not enjoy living this way. At my new job, upon seeing my desk stocked with tuna fish and protein bars and the kinds of things I graze on, the director once announced in front of everyone: I see Khadaji really likes to eat. Yeah, this is fun.

I am now tired all the time. We check my blood regularly and I take potassium, magnesium, calcium, B12 and iron (and a few other things) because I don’t absorb them well. The average bariatric surgery patient will likely not have problems with all of these things, but may have with many.

I can no longer drink like I used to. One or two beers gets me buzzed, but then I sober up quickly too. (Although I miss drinking, this is probably a net gain. :slight_smile: )

Chemicals seem to impact me hard. I get confused quickly on most cold meds.

Opinion aside: My surgery for the by-pass was severe, but I did have laproscopic surgery for one of my earlier surgeries and the by-pass surgery should be able to be done laproscopically. Likely you will be up and around that day or the very next and likely you will go home the next day. Pain is minimal and I was off the pain meds within 10 days. If you have it, I expect you will not find the surgery itself to be traumatic. Of all my surgeries, the laproscopic ones were relatively gentle and if I needed to have one again I would do so without fear.

I’ve known three people who have had it. One it turned out great. The other two are dying slowly and painfully of the complications.

I found your entire post very informative but I am most interested in hearing about your time machine :wink:

:smiley: Too funny. It is late (for me.)

What complications if you know? Did they have the gastric bypass?

Thank you all for sharing, I meant to get back on here yesterday and had a sick kid to deal with.

I’m actually thinking of getting the gastric sleeve though the band and the bypass is not off the table. There is still a lot of information I have to plow through and I still have to sit in the seminar in January. I’m going to 2 hospitals seminars and then will choose between them I think. I’m about 90% decided to have the surgery and these holidays are pushing me closer to 100%!

Gastric bypass & lap band surgeries are both tools, not fixes. Both require the patient to follow a dietary regimen and there are people for whom this is not possible even with the surgery. Although gastric bypass sometimes gives better weight loss it can lead to some pretty awful long term vitamin deficiencies, especially if the patient doesn’t take suppliments consistently and as prescribed. I’ve known people who’ve had the lap band reversed because they decided they’d rather be fat than follow the lifestyle/dietary changes. Both can have surgical complications.

I do know that where I work, which does a lot of lap bands & gastric bypasses, every nurse I know who’s gone through weight loss procedure (at least 5 over the past few years) has done the lap band. I don’t know if this is due to good investigation before they opt for a surgery or because they’ve seen a few really bad gastric bypass results.

I’ll reiterate and reinforce what Ballardfam said above. I had RNY, and thought it was a ‘fix’. My relationship with food and my eating habits were still terrible, and after the surgery, all they did was cause me pain, which made me comfort-eat more. I lost nothing, and, in fact, after a few years, started to gain again.
The upside is that I’m losing now again. In the past 8 weeks I’ve lost 30 pounds by modifying my caloric intake and sticking with the numbers. I think if I’d been able to do this a decade ago, I wouldn’t have even had the surgery. I know others mileage may vary.
Outside of the actual surgery itself, the only two things ‘left’ from it are an enormous scar on my abdomen, and an inability to eat anything with large amounts of processed sugar in it (I get what is known as ‘dumping syndrome’, which is really unpleasant, though it has nothing to do with… Y’know… Dumping.)

I had a Duodenal Switch. It has many benefits over the RNY gastric bypass. For one thing, the functionality of the stomach remains the same–there is no stoma and the pyloric valve is still doing its job. For another thing, they remove part of the stomach, but what they leave is still larger than the RNY pouch. Yet another thing, with an RNY, if you stretch out your pouch, the weight comes back. With the DS, the stomach is expected to stretch back to normal size after a couple of years, so you’re back to eating normal (if on the small side) meals for the rest of your life, not tiny pouch-sized meals. There are also no food restrictions like there are with gastric bypass. But what sealed it for me is that the rate of people who maintain their weight loss is far, far, far higher than with gastric bypass. A frighteningly large percentage of RNY patients end up fat again. Very, very few DS patients ever do. You’d have to make an effort.

You can learn more at the site I linked to. Their diagram isn’t totally accurate as not every surgeon removes the gall bladder (mine didn’t).

My procedure was laporoscopic and I lost about 120-125 lbs in less than a year. I now weigh about 118lbs (5’2") ten years after my surgery.

My mom had bypass surgery almost 3 years ago. I believe it was a j-pouch procedure, though I may be mis-remembering. She lost 160 pounds over about a year, which was half of her body weight. In the past year or so, she looks to have gained back about 20, though I’m certainly not going to ask her about it.

It’s a pretty major undertaking–she now has to take acid reducers, multivitamins, B-12 supplements, iron supplements, calcium supplements, and fiber pills (that I can think off the top of my head), even a bite or two more than she ought to eat puts her in serious pain, and she horked what seemed like all the goddamn time the first several months after surgery plus intermittent but prolonged bouts for the year or so after that.

But it also gave her her life back. Before the surgery, the arthritis in her hips, knees, and ankles was just completely unmanageable. She had stopped playing golf, or bowling, or working in the garden, or pretty much anything that didn’t involve sitting in a chair because of the pain. Now that the weight is off, she can do the things she loves again, with only enough pain to take some ibuprofen once in a while.

If it makes you feel better, a 10-20lb “bounce back” is extremely common. In most cases the patient loses weight down to point X and then regains the 10-20lbs and reaches their stable maintenance weight at that point (X+10 or X+20)

When I lost my weight I went down to 113, then bounced up to 130 or so and stayed there for many, many years, without much more than my monthly 5lb fluctuation for my monthly cycle. I’ve recently lost 10-15 lbs and seem to be staying between 115 and 120 for the last several months. I’m not sure it’s permanent or not, though. The only time I went significantly over the 130 maintenance weight was when I was put on a drug called Zyprexa by my psychiatrist, who didn’t tell me that weight gain was a side effect. I put on like 20lbs in a month and a half or so. I immediately demanded to be put taken off the drug! It took about 8 months to get that weight off, which was very annoying. But that was a special circumstance. For the most part, the DS procedure leads to very sustainable and consistent weight loss with an extremely low rate of weight regain. Much lower than with all the other surgeries (at least that’s what I remember from when I researched it–but that was 10 years ago so my info may be outdated.)

The only problem with the DS is that there aren’t a lot of doctors who do it, because it’s a much more complicated surgery. It’s common to have to travel to a different city to have the surgery. I was fortunate that there was one in my area (DC suburbs of VA) who did it so I didn’t need to travel (though I did travel–to Brazil–for my plastics after I lost my weight and had skin issues.) If your insurance doesn’t cover it there are some very reputable surgeons in Spain and a few other countries where you can have the surgery done MUCH cheaper than in the US if you have to self-pay. Even with the cost of travel it comes out much cheaper. There is a forum at the website I mentioned before where you can ask people about their surgeons.

(bolding mine)

Don’t EVER let her forget to take these, ever. I was witness to a close relative who did for a week or less and subsequently developed a bleeding ulcer which caused so much blood loss in such a short time that it triggered a heart attack. After being hospitalized for this, the person lost so much blood that they almost died while in the hospital. It took them 6 months to recover their strength due to the blood loss.

This may sound selfish on my part but I have to mention what it did to my life. Do you know what it’s like to sit next to this person for 7 days in the hospital and watch all of this happen? It all happened two years ago and I’m just getting straightened back out again from the anxiety and stress that it caused me as a bystander. It was terrifying to watch and feel so helpless.

This is such a serious surgery and you can’t let any of the little details slip years later because you never know what the ramifications might be. (This was approx 8 years after GB was performed.)

Yes, it could save your life, but in this case it almost took it away again, too.

Thank you. I did not know much about this one at all so will be reading up on it now.

If you have any questions about it feel free to PM or email me. After researching all the options, the DS came out so far above the others as to be laughable. My life now is pretty normal (food wise)… no restrictions on types of food, and I can eat quantities that don’t make people ask questions. Also, the vast majority keep their weight off, which isn’t the case with many of the other surgeries. My doctor in VA was Dr. Elariny. He was excellent. If I didn’t live local to one, I’d have traveled to get this surgery over one of the other ones. In terms of quality of life afterward I say it wins hands down.