Bariatric surgery is used by thousands of Americans to lose large amounts of weight very quickly with the intent of keeping it off for good. Surgery has shown to be more effective than diet and exercise alone in helping obese patients lose weight.
If you’re like some patients, you want to know how much weight you can lose with gastric bypass surgery. In this article, you’ll learn about the expected weight loss after gastric bypass and why some people plateau after surgery.
How Gastric Bypass Works
Gastric bypass surgery, otherwise known as roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), is a surgery developed in the mid 20th century by doctors looking for a cure for obesity. What they discovered, although not a cure, was an effective surgical treatment for chronic obesity if the patient sticks to instructions.
The way gastric bypass surgery works is by taking a part of the stomach and creating a small pouch with it, which limits the amount of food that a patient can consume in one sitting. Then, the surgeon connects the stomach to a lower part of the small intestine, reducing the amount of food that can be digested and absorbed by the body. In total, the patient is less able to consume large amounts of foods and they end up getting fewer calories from the food they do consume. As a result, patients consume much fewer calories than they burn, causing rapid weight loss.
Expected Weight Loss After Gastric Bypass
Gastric bypass patients can expect to lose between 50% and 60% of their excess weight in one year after surgery. Your excess weight is calculated by subtracting your goal weight from your current weight. A patient who weighs 400 pounds and has a goal weight of 200 pounds can expect to lose between 100 and 120 pounds in the first year.
How much weight you lose the first month after gastric bypass will depend on the weight you started at, but the first month is where patients see the most weight loss. Weight loss then slows down and is expected to stop between 18 and 36 months after getting surgery.
Some patients see weight loss plateaus even earlier. But why do they plateau, or worse, see weight gain?
Why Some People See Weight Loss Plateaus
Old Habits Die Hard
Obese patients seeking bariatric surgery are likely to be dealing with food addiction. Or, they engage in other maladaptive eating behaviors such as binge eating. These behaviors, when done frequently over time, can turn into habits and these habits die hard.
Patients are advised to seek mental health counseling before and after surgery to make sure that they’re prepared to handle getting rid of harmful eating behaviors altogether, with the help of bariatric surgery.
Lack of exercise
Many patients look at the surgery and see it as a way to lose weight without having to exercise. Although patients don’t have to exercise to lose weight with gastric bypass surgery, exercise has been shown to help bariatric surgery patients lose more weight.
Exercising not only can help a patient lose more weight, but it can serve as an excellent replacement behavior for some maladaptive eating behaviors. It’s also excellent for adding additional muscle mass, which can help the patient lose more fat and fill in loose skin.
Some patients need revision surgery
Although many patients plateau because they fall into old, unhealthy behaviors, some patients end up dissatisfied with the efficacy of the surgery. This is because some patients need bariatric revision surgery.
There are many reasons why a patient might need revision surgery. However, if you think you need revision surgery, it’s advised to consult a bariatric surgeon and see what they think should be done. Learn more about laparoscopic bariatric procedures in this article here!
If you’re looking for weight loss surgery in Maryland, Maryland Bariatrics at Saint Agnes Medical Center can help. Procedures include sleeve gastrectomy, adjustable gastric band, duodenal switch, and Roux en Y in Maryland.