Below are some common questions about other health considerations based on the hundreds of people we have treated. If you have any further questions, please arrange a free, no obligation consultation below.
Will I need to take special medication after surgery?
We recommend that all patients undergoing bariatric surgery take vitamins and supplements for the rest of their lives. This includes three monthly vitamin B12 injections in those undergoing a sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass. All medications and supplements that need to be taken will be clearly described in your discharge document which is sent to your GP (who will be responsible for prescribing these).
Will I need blood tests after surgery?
If you are undergoing a gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy, you will need blood tests twice in the first year, and then annually after that. This ensures that you remain healthy and that further supplementation can be provided if required. On your discharge from hospital, the timing of blood tests will be provided to your GP practice who will be responsible for undertaken these investigations.
Will my hair fall out?
Many patients suffer some hair loss particularly around 3 to 6 months after surgery. This is entirely normal and is a normal response by the body to the stress of surgery and rapid weight loss. As weight loss stabilises and nutritional levels improve, hair loss will stop and begin to grow back.
Whilst most people will suffer some hair loss, approaches to minimise this include
- Ensuring post-operative daily protein targets are achieved
- Taking your vitamins
- Maintaining healthy iron levels
- Maintaining healthy zinc levels
Will I have loose skin after surgery?
Most people will have some loose skin as a result of significant weight loss. It is important to understand that the skin has already become stretched and loose as a result of weight gain and is not caused by weight loss per se. It is difficult to predict how much of an issue this will be for each person as everyone is different. However, we know that some factors which might affect how much of an issue this becomes includes:
- Age – as we get older, skin becomes less elastic
- Amount of weight loss – the more weight you lose, the more likely you will suffer from loose skin
- Skin complexion and lifetime exposure to sun
Loose skin can be corrected by plastic surgeons who specialise in this field. This is rarely carried out through the NHS and for most is privately funded. Our advise is that plastic surgery should only be considered once weight loss has been maximised (ideally BMI less than 30-35) and has stabilised for 6 months. This usually occurs by around 18 to 24 months following bariatric surgery. Other important factors when being considered for this type of surgery is having normal levels of nutrition and being a non smoker.
Will I develop gallstones after surgery?
Gallstones occur when bile, which is usually liquid, forms tiny crystals and over time grows into stones which sit in the gallbladder. Any process which results in rapid weight loss increases your chance of developing gallstones. Current research suggests that approximately 1 in 5 people will develop gallstones after bariatric surgery. Gallstones can cause symptoms such as pain and infections which would be an indication for you to undergo further to remove the gallbladder.
Can I safely plan a pregnancy after surgery?
For many, improving fertility is an important motivating factor in pursuing weight loss surgery. We recommend waiting at least 12 months after surgery before planning a family to ensure that weight loss has plateaued and that all your blood tests are within the normal range. Assuming you are otherwise healthy, there is no reason why people who have had bariatric surgery cannot have healthy pregnancies.
Will I need to change my contraception approach after surgery?
Following surgery, the absorption of some medications, including the oral contraceptive pill can be altered. We therefore advise you to consider alternative methods of contraception such as implants, barrier methods (such as condoms) or intra-uterine devices.
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