Our multidisciplinary team will follow you after bariatric surgery and be here to provide any follow-up care you may need, including information to help you be successful with healthy weight loss.
We’re Here for You
For the first few years after surgery, it is very important to come to one of our bariatric centers for your follow-up visits. Because the majority of weight loss and possible complications occur within the first year, seeing us and following our recommendations is crucial to long-term success.
We partner with your primary care doctor in managing many of your medical problems and medications as they change with weight loss. After the first few years, the majority of routine issues can be managed by your primary care doctor, but we are always available to help both you and your primary doctor if needed.
We also host annual group classes to share the latest information and recommendations. And, we are always ready to see you individually if you require specialized care.
Routine Follow-Up Visits Schedules
Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass and Sleeve Gastrectomy
- 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months after surgery
- Once a year (annually) for the rest of your life
Adjustable Gastric or Lap Banding Surgery
- Follow-up visits for the lap band can be variable, and depend on the frequency of adjustments. Adjustments involve an injection through the abdominal wall and into the port, adding or removing saline fluid to either tighten or loosen the balloon around the stomach. This process requires calibrated adjustments and can involve several visits throughout the year for the rest of your life. Band adjustments can only be done at one of our bariatric centers by a trained bariatric practitioner.
What to Expect During Follow-Up Visits
- Check your wounds for healing and signs of infection
- Review your weight loss goals together
- Talk about continued lifestyle changes
- Have our registered dietitian (RD) talk to you about your food plan
- Recommend lab tests to check your vitamin levels and nutritional status
- Work with your primary care doctor about changes in medications
Life After Weight Loss Surgery
Vitamins & Minerals
After weight loss surgery, your body is not able to absorb enough nutrients from the food you eat. You need vitamin and mineral supplements, which you must take for the rest of your life to avoid serious disorders like osteoporosis and dementia.
You should always consult with your doctor about your specific needs, but we recommend taking
- A multivitamin which can prevent health issues, like bleeding, neurological and vision problems.
- Vitamin B12 to help prevent brain and nerve damage and low blood count or anemia.
- Vitamin B1 which can help prevent brain and nerve damage. A B1 deficiency can occur quickly after weight loss surgery.
- Vitamin D to help prevent bone disease (osteoporosis), muscle loss, and fatigue after surgery.
- Iron to help prevent anemia, which can lead to serious health problems.
- Calcium citrate plus D to add calcium to your bones, which helps against osteoporosis and muscle cramps.
A New Way to Eat
After surgery, you must eat significantly smaller meals than the meals you ate before surgery. We recommend eating between 400 to 900 calories a day, including around 70 to 80 grams of protein.
If you eat more than your small stomach pouch can handle, you may feel sick or nauseated, vomit, or experience pain.
For about 6 months after surgery, you learn which foods you can tolerate. You might find that foods you could eat before surgery now make you sick or what you can tolerate changes from day to day.
It is very important to follow the meal plan we give you after surgery and continue this restrictive meal plan for the rest of your life.
Other lifestyle changes to help you succeed include:
- Read food labels to meet daily protein and calorie requirements.
- Weigh and measure all food before eating, especially protein.
- Eat protein first at each meal to get enough nutrients and feel full faster.
- Eat 3 meals each day, and do not skip a meal.
- Avoid foods high in fat and sugar.
- Chew your food at least 30 times each bite. This helps avoid overeating and prevents food from blocking your smaller stomach.
- Break bad eating habits, such as eating in front of the TV or ‘grazing.’
- Avoid caffeine and carbonated drinks, such as soda
- Be mindful of your eating every time you eat: Why are you eating? What are you eating? Why did you choose this food? Is this a healthy food? How will this food affect your body?
Drink More Water
Drink at least 64 ounces of water each day. Because your stomach is smaller, try to drink small amounts of water throughout the day.
Avoid drinking any kind of fluid when you eat, or you will fill up on fluid and not get the nutrients you need from food. Combining fluid with food may also empty your stomach faster, making it easier to eat more than you should.
After weight loss surgery, you must exercise regularly and move your body each day. You risk regaining weight if you fail to exercise. Remember, weight loss surgery only works well when you continue to make the effort to lose weight and keep it off.
We expect you to begin exercising before surgery to make it easier to continue after surgery. If your current size makes exercising difficult, begin by sitting in a chair or doing chair aerobics. Start slowly and build up gradually.
Choose the kinds of exercise that you enjoy, such as walking, swimming, weightlifting, yoga, dance, or joining an exercise class. Any type of movement, including chores, can count as exercise if you remember to measure it using an activity monitor.
Join a Support Group
A weight loss surgery support group can provide you with a place to discuss issues, struggles, or challenges you might have before and after surgery, and may help you achieve your weight loss goals. You will be able to learn how others are adopting lifestyle changes and dealing with common issues.
Common Issues after Surgery
Certain side effects are common after weight loss surgery.
- Nausea and vomiting is caused by eating too much too quickly.
- Sweating and diarrhea can occur after eating foods high in sugar. This is also called ‘dumping syndrome’.
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) may occur 1 to 4 hours after eating a meal low in protein and high in starches, sugar, or fat. Treatment involves modifying your diet to avoid foods that trigger this.
- Constipation is very common and occurs from eating a low-fiber, high-protein diet and not drinking enough water. It can also be worsened by iron and calcium supplements. Treatment involves drinking more water, using stool softeners, and taking fiber supplements.
- Gas and bloating may be caused by eating foods that produce gas, swallowing air while eating following sipping from a straw, or drinking carbonated drinks
- Abdominal pain, is usually due to constipation and gas, but sometimes can indicate a more serious problem such as ulcer, hernia, bowel obstruction, or a leak in the new stomach or intestinal pouch. These problems require evaluation by your doctor.
- Hair loss may worsen if you have low iron or are not eating enough protein. You can expect your hair to grow back after your weight loss stabilizes.
- Changes or sensitivity in your sense of taste and smell frequently occur. Use the opportunity to explore new and interesting foods.
- Low blood pressure may make you feel lightheaded when you stand up. Treatment involves getting up slowly, increasing fluid intake, and reducing blood pressure medications.
- Rash under loose skin (intertrigo) is very common and due to a yeast infection called Candida.
- Loose skin after weight loss may leave you with hanging skin on your arms, face, breasts, stomach, buttocks, and thighs.