Bariatric Surgery: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between laparoscopic and the open procedure?
Laparoscopic surgery involves access into the abdomen through four trocar incisions rather than a large incision. The actual procedure inside the abdomen is the same. This means the benefit of the surgical weight loss is the same by the open or laparoscopic approach. Because of the smaller incisions there is less pain and faster recovery with the laparoscopic approach. Currently 99.9% of our patients have the procedure done laparoscopically.
Is laparoscopic surgery safe?
Laparoscopy has been around for several decades. With development of new instruments and techniques, laparoscopy has become safer and has taken a more prominent role in surgery.
Laparoscopic gastric bypass was first performed in the early 1990s and is now fast becoming the standard of care for morbid obesity. When performed by a well trained surgeon, laparoscopic surgery is just as safe as the open procedure. At Crown Bariatric , we bring the patients the expertise of a fellowship trained laparoscopic surgeon who can perform laparoscopic gastric bypass effectively and safely.
What is "Dumping Syndrome"?
This is when the new pouch created after gastric bypass allows sugar containing foods to enter the intestine quickly.
As a result patients may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Rapid heart rate
- Sweating or clammy feeling
- Faint feeling or light headedness
- Abdominal pain or cramping
Can I ever lose too much weight?
With the possible exception of the rare patient who develops obstruction of the stomach outlet, it is unlikely that you will ever lose too much weight. Assuming you strictly adhere to the protocol - eat right and exercise, you may come within 5 to 10 lbs of your ideal weight.
On the other hand, snacking and eating foods or drinking liquids high in sugar, carbohydrate or fat will readily increase weight gain.
Will my skin sag?
Most patients experience sagging skin as a result of weight loss. We found regular exercise results in significantly less excess skin. However, excess skin depends on the person's age and preoperative weight. Younger patients and patients who weigh less than 300 lbs will have less excess skin.
What happens to the unused part of the stomach?
It remains in place and its ability to function remains intact. The muscles lose some of their contractile power but each cell is still there and capable of functioning in the the unlikely event that it should be called upon.
Can the stomach be hooked up again?
It is possible, but not recommended. If a reversal is a consideration then a bypass should be avoided. Rehooking the stomach would result in regaining most or all of the lost weight.
We have never been asked to reverse the operation.
Why do some people suffer from gas more than others?
Some people tend to swallow more air during eating or drinking than others. Nitrogen, which constitutes 80% of the air swallowed must travel through the intestinal tract to the rectum. Others may have "irritable bowel syndrome" causing cramps, constipation and/or diarrhea.
Gas can be reduced by walking as much as possible, hence the reason you are asked to walk while in the hospital. If gas is persistent or severe GasX or GasCon is recommended (to be taken as directed on the bottle).
Is there a chance to regain the weight?
Some patients may come to feel frustrated and discouraged after weight loss slows down as the body plateaus or as patients regress to eating habits that existed prior to surgery. It is important to remember that weight loss can continue after plateaus once a patient has had the gastric bypass.
First and foremost, the patient has to realize responsibility lies with them and in order to sustain or maintain weight loss, behavioral and lifestyle changes have to be continued. This means patients should maintain an exercise program and if exercise was discontinued, it should be resumed.
Secondly, the patient has to reevaluate what foods and/or liquids are in the diet. Foods high in sugar, fats and carbohydrates have to be eliminated from the diet to ensure success. Carefully read labels and if necessary return to measuring food.
Regular attendance of support group meetings will assist in reviewing and revisiting those behaviors that made weight loss possible.
Finally, consult the surgeon to evaluate pouch outlet size, staple line integrity etc.
How much will I be able to eat?
If we are successful, we will teach you to forget this question.