How Do I Set Goals For The Best Recovery After Gastric Bypass?

Question Below Submitted By:  

Devon (a patient from St. Louis)

Dear Sir or Madam,

I have decided to get the gastric bypass surgery, but I am just starting out the process of wrapping my head around what this is going to mean for me. I was reading your page about the recovery for gastric bypass and I have a question.

You say the first step for me to is to educate myself and set some goals. I’m doing alright with the education part but I’m struggling with the goal setting part.

I was hoping you might have some tips and/or tricks for me to help me set some goals.

You all rock!

Devon

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Expert Responses to the Question Above

Surgeon Response to "Goals For Best Recovery After Gastric Bypass?"

by: John Rabkin, M.D., Pacific Laparoscopy

Dear Devon,

The goal of anyone considering weight loss surgery (WLS) first and foremost should be an improvement in one's overall health and well being as well as quality of life. This usually (but not absolutely in every case) includes significant weight loss! Many WLS patients, therefore, initially set a specific weight loss goal they seek to achieve following WLS which, I believe, is the question that you're asking.

Ideally, WLS patients should strive to lose enough weight to achieve a normal body mass index (BMI) of less than 25, or, in other words, 100% of their excess weight (EWL). For many patients, however, this is not a realistic goal and potentially could lead to significant frustration. Even after losing all of the actual 'excess' weight, a WLS patient's weight may still result in a BMI > 25 simply due to the weight of the residual excess skin which may still be present in the absence of undergoing reconstructive plastic skin removal surgery.

WLS patients can anticipate different amounts of weight loss following the surgery in part due to which WLS procedure they undergo. For example, statistically more weight is lost on average by patients undergoing the Duodenal Switch (DS) as compared with the weight loss after the Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass (RGB) or the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) which initially (within the first 18 months after surgery) are very similar.

The durability (ie: lack of weight regain over time) of the weight loss also varies significantly between the various available WLS procedures: this may be an even more important consideration or goal for you to consider as opposed to the initial weight you lose after undergoing the WLS procedure.

If you've decided on the RGB for your WLS for yourself, a more 'realistic' weight loss goal may be for you to lose at least 60% of your excess weight and to maintain that EWL for a minimum of five years, and hopefully, indefinitely.

Keep in mind, however, that the additional 'accrued benefits' to your overall health and well being from the WLS such as the reversal of your obesity related medical morbidities including (if present) conditions like diabetes mellitus, obstructive sleep apnea, hypertension, fatty liver disease, etc. may be substantially more important goals to consider than the actual weight loss achieved!

John M. Rabkin, M.D.
Pacific Laparoscopy

(click here for Dr. Rabkin's full bio & contact info)

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the details provided. The above should never replace the advice of your local physicians as they have the ability to evaluate you in person.

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