Healthy Strategies That Help Manage Weight Recovery After Bariatric Surgery

Healthy Strategies That Help Manage Weight Recovery After Bariatric Surgery

According to health experts, bariatric surgery is one of the best treatment options to “control” obesity as it helps patients to lose a significant amount of weight as well as maintain it for a much longer period compared to other weight loss methods like weight loss diets etc., however, Obesity is a chronic medical condition such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, which needs long-term management, so regular follow-up is essential for good long-term results.

Weight recovery is one of the main concerns patients face before undergoing bariatric surgery. Weight loss is associated with improved quality of life, comorbidities, and general confidence, but weight regain, on the other hand, can lead to a reduction in all of the above.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr. Aparna Govil Bhasker, Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgeon at Saifee Hospital, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Namaha and Currae in Mumbai, shared, “Bariatric surgery is currently the most effective method for continuous long-term weight loss. Patients regain a certain degree of weight 2 to 3 years after bariatric surgery. The amount of weight gain is variable and depends on many factors.”

Some of these factors are listed as follows:

1. Hormonal and metabolic factors – Bariatric surgery procedures increase some digestive hormones like GLP-1, PYY, GIP etc. which increases the feeling of satiety and reduces hunger. An appetite hormone called ghrelin also decreases which leads to decreased food intake. However, over time, the effects of these modifications diminish resulting in a certain degree of weight regain.

2. Failure to adhere to dietary guidelines – Obese people are more likely to be overweight compared to people of normal weight. Thus, the quality of the diet after bariatric surgery is very important. It is necessary to follow a healthy, moderate diet and avoid high-calorie foods, snacks, fast foods, sweets, sugary drinks, alcohol, etc. Nutritional counseling and regular follow-up help guide patients to a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical inactivity – Physically active patients tend to maintain their weight loss for a longer period of time. Inadequate activity and a sedentary lifestyle after bariatric surgery can contribute to weight recovery. In some cases, there may be related joint issues or other mobility issues that may lead to insufficient activity levels. These patients are also more likely to regain weight.

4- Mental health conditions – Patients who suffer from psychological problems can also have psychological problems that can slow down weight loss. Lack of motivation, depression, and some antidepressant medications may also contribute to inadequate weight loss and weight regain. Eating disorders such as binge eating can persist or recur after surgery and may be a contributing factor to weight recovery.

5. Factors related to surgery – Body tissues are flexible by nature and can swell over a period of time. This varies from patient to patient. It also depends on the initial size of the stomach pouch, the degree of malabsorption, and the size of the anastomosis in bypass surgery. Rarely, a gastric fistula may be the causative factor for weight regain.

6. Medicines – Certain medications such as antidepressants, oral contraceptives, immunosuppressants, steroids, etc. may be required in some patients and can contribute to weight recovery.

Can we manage weight recovery after bariatric surgery?

Dr. Aparna Govil Bhasker has revealed some strategies that help manage weight recovery after bariatric surgery. These include:

1. Regular follow-up – Semi-annual or annual follow-up is a must after bariatric surgery. It helps keep nutritional deficiencies under control and also helps in maintaining lost weight. Frequent contact with the bariatric team also helps motivate patients to adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle.

2. Attending support group meetings – Most bariatric teams organize regular support group meetings for post-bariatric surgery patients. In these meetings, patients interact with each other which in turn motivates, inspires and increases enthusiasm to start or maintain healthy habits.

3. Self-monitoring of weight – Patients should be encouraged to monitor their weight at home once every 15 days. They should be aware of weight regain and if weight shows an upward trend from base weight achieved, they should contact the bariatric team immediately.

4. Diet and physical activity – For a small degree of weight recovery, diet modification and an increased focus on physical activity may help return to the lowest weight achieved. This should be done under the supervision and assistance of a qualified dietitian and exercise specialist.

5. Weight loss drugs – If diet and lifestyle modification is not working effectively, some medications may be added to help with weight loss. Medications can be recommended by the bariatric team and can help you lose up to 10 to 15 kilograms of weight over a few months. Weight loss medications should always be accompanied by a healthy diet and lifestyle for best results.

6. Endoscopic measures – If there are anatomical problems related to the surgery, endoscopic measures may be used to change the size of the gastric pouch or anastomosis.

7. Revision bariatric surgery – This can be considered for a greater degree of weight recovery and also if there is a re-emergence of co-morbidities such as type 2 diabetes. In revision surgeries, the current bariatric procedure is usually switched to another more effective operation.

Dr. Aparna Jovel Basker highlighted, “Obesity can be effectively controlled but the key thing is to understand that obese people need lifelong support. Bariatric surgery is just one cog in the weight loss wheel. Weight recovery is realistic but can be managed with methods mentioned above which are commonly used in combination with each other. Regular follow-up and good compliance are key to long-term success after bariatric surgery.”

2022-06-06 14:56:03

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