Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will I have problems after surgery?
A: Most people do not experience serious problems after weight loss surgery. About 10 percent of patients may have some sort of minor complication with less than 5 percent turning into a life-threatening situation.
Q: How long will it take me to recover from surgery?
A: Although it varies from patient to patient, recovery from weight loss surgery usually takes between two and three weeks. However, it is not unusual for many patients to feel weak and tired for six weeks after the surgery because they are eating much less than before. Most people feel good enough to return to work within three to four weeks after their weight loss surgery.
Q: Why is activity so important after surgery?
A: We ask patients to get out of bed and begin moving around as soon as possible after surgery to reduce the risk of complications such as blood clots and pneumonia—the two most serious possible side effects.
Q: If I have constipation after surgery, what should I do?
A: The best remedy for constipation is to drink plenty of fluids. If you need to, you can also take a liquid stool softener until the problem is relieved.
Q: Will I feel sick after surgery?
A: Some patients will feel nauseated after surgery. Again, this varies from person to person. Patients are given a prescription for medicine to help with nausea if they should need it at home.
Q: Can I drink alcohol after surgery?
A: We discourage drinking alcoholic beverages for at least a year after weight loss surgery because alcohol can irritate the pouch. Alcohol also has a high sugar content that can spark “dumping syndrome,” which occurs after eating high-sugar meals following weight loss surgery. The sugary food rushes through the stomach and can cause nausea, vomiting and weakness. For this reason, we also suggest you do not drink soda or fruit juices.
Q: Can I smoke after surgery?
A: No. Smoking results in a less oxygen in the bloodstream and can lead to stomach ulcers.
Q: What should I do if I can’t keep anything down, including water?
A: You need to call the office and let the doctor or nurse know or be evaluated in the emergency room. If vomiting is associated with severe abdominal pain, call the Oregon Bariatric Center or go to the nearest emergency room.
Q: How much weight will I lose after surgery?
A: This varies from patient to patient, but in general, you can expect to shed between 50 percent and 75 percent of your excess body weight over the course of 12 to 18 months.
Q: Does weight loss surgery affect a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant?
A: Usually this is not a problem. We recommend that women who have had weight loss surgery wait to have children for at least one to two years after surgery in order to maximize weight loss. Patients must remember to take the recommended vitamin supplements when considering pregnancy and work closely with an obstetrician and dietician.
Q: I’ve heard some people experience hair loss after surgery. Will this happen to me?
A: Hair loss is related to weight loss and not everyone experiences it. However, if you notice that you are losing hair, we recommend that you increase your protein intake.