The risks of the surgery include bleeding, infections, and respiratory problems. Generally, the procedure requires a three- to four-day hospital stay. After you go home, you need to follow strict dietary instructions. For the first few weeks after surgery, it might be difficult to eat anything without feeling uncomfortably full, and your stomach will still be very tender. It will take six to eight weeks before you are able to digest complex carbohydrates and protein (such as chicken, pasta, and dairy products) without vomiting. It will be difficult for you to digest large amounts of fat, alcohol, or sugar. Most patients lose an average of 10 pounds per month, and reach a stable weight 18 months after surgery.
If you weigh 500 pounds or more, your doctor might recommend a low-protein diet or the mouth-wiring procedure for a few months so that you can lose some weight before a gastric bypass can be performed. While your mouth is wired shut, you will lose weight quickly because your food intake, provided in liquid form, is strictly regulated.
Weight loss before gastric bypass surgery might be necessary because the endoscopy equipment is not long enough to accommodate the girth of a patient weighing 500 or more pounds. In addition, most operating tables can hold up to 400 pounds. Other risks, such as reaction to anesthesia, are also increased in patients who weigh more than 500 pounds, so wiring your mouth shut to promote weight loss might be suggested. However, wiring your mouth shut is only a temporary solution, usually only suggested for a few months. Then, the gastric bypass procedure and reducing and monitoring food intake are needed for long-term success.
Before such drastic measures are performed, there are a few qualifying conditions to be considered eligible for either of these procedures. You must be at least 100 pounds over your recommended weight and have exhausted all efforts to lose weight by reducing food intake, changing your eating habits, planning your meals, and exercising.
Keep in mind that there are no miracle weight loss cures. Any type of weight loss or maintenance regimen requires a lifetime commitment to be successful.