Bariatric surgery is an incredibly effective way for obese patients to lose a significant amount of weight in a short period of time. It reduces potential health issues due to type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), hypertension (high blood pressure), and sleep apnea.
However, the surgery itself is only the first step. Bariatric surgeons know that the key to a successful weight loss surgery is keeping up with post op follow up care. These things include making sure that the patient is following the diet and meeting protein goals, addressing potential complications after surgery, measuring and monitoring a patient’s activity levels, and helping them with the mental shifts of losing a large amount of weight rapidly.
Why is follow up care so important for bariatric surgery to be successful? Here’s why.
Why Is Follow Up Care Important After Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery works by changing aspects of the patient’s digestive system so that it becomes more difficult to eat large quantities of food. This could include shrinking the size of the stomach, or removing parts of the stomach that produce ghrelin, the hormone that signals hunger. Some surgeries also address macronutrient absorption, making it so that the body digests fewer calories.
With all that said, a surgical intervention only addresses the physical aspects of metabolism, digestion, and overeating behaviors that lead to obesity. There are still large mental and habitual components to eating behaviors that need to be addressed.
Follow up care is also important in ensuring that the patient has a safe and speedy recovery. Bariatric surgery is a procedure that takes some time to fully recover from, and it’s in the best interest of the patient to get back to normal activities as soon as possible.
Post Op Bariatric Surgery Recovery & Aftercare
Follow up care is an important aspect of bariatric surgery & recovery. Recovering from bariatric surgery takes time, and there are many precautions that the patient must take. For example, the patient must avoid a long list of foods. During the post-op diet, patients go from a liquid fast, to eating only pureed foods, to eating soft textured foods. Then, the patient has to slowly reintroduce normal foods back into the diet while continuing to avoid foods that are fried, spicy, or full of roughage and seeds.
Making sure the patient is staying on the post-op diet is important for making sure that the patient doesn’t experience any complications after the surgery.
Patients’ activity levels are also monitored to make sure that they’re not straining themselves or overworking themselves after surgery.
Following Up to Prevent Weight Gain
There’s one reality that cannot be ignored when dealing with weight loss surgery: no weight loss interventions can work without the patient actively making a lifestyle change. Bariatric surgery is great for helping the patient lose weight rapidly and institute dietary changes. However, in order to keep that weight off, the patient must stick to those dietary changes and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The doctor’s job is to help reintroduce the patient to exercise and continue to consult with the patient on dietary matters. Doctors are also tasked with helping the patient deal with the mental struggles of losing weight so quickly since rapid weight loss can lead to hormonal changes. The doctor may also refer the patient to a mental health professional.
Preventing weight gain is ultimately the job of the patient, but a doctor performing adequate follow up care will help make the surgery and the lifestyle changes successful.