Written By: Emma Squillace
When patients are thinking about bariatric surgery, they often have questions about their post-surgery time. Today we’re going to cover 5 of the frequently asked questions we get about life after bariatric surgery. From drinking alcohol to getting pregnant, we’ve got the answers to your questions.
Will I have extra skin that needs to be removed?
When someone loses weight rapidly – like after bariatric surgery – there is the potential for developing loose skin. This can happen in the arms, neck, midsection, or any area of the body. While this skin is generally not a medical concern, and sometimes corrects itself, some patients are interested in having this skin removed. There are cosmetic procedures available to remove excess skin. Skin elasticity is better when we are younger, and genetics plays a role as well. If you do want to have skin removed after you’ve lost weight, insurance will generally not cover the procedure if it is cosmetic in nature. However, if the extra skin is causing repeated rashes or wounds, there are cases in which it may be covered by insurance.
Do some people lose their hair after surgery?
When you have a bariatric procedure like the gastric sleeve or gastric bypass, your body will be absorbing fewer nutrients than before. This is why we will have you on a plan that includes vitamins and supplements. As your body adjusts to your new calorie and nutrient intake, you may notice hair loss. This most commonly happens 3 to 6 months after surgery. The hair-thinning due to bariatric surgery is almost always temporary.
Will I be able to get pregnant after bariatric surgery?
In many cases women have an easier time getting pregnant after bariatric surgery, because a higher BMI is tied to more trouble with fertility. You should speak with us specifically about timing your pregnancy if that is something you’re hoping for. In general we recommend waiting 1 – 1.5 years after surgery before you try to get pregnant, but that will depend on several factors. Pregnancy after weight loss tends to have fewer complications than pregnancy in someone who is obese. Additionally, studies have shown that children born to mothers who have had bariatric surgery are less likely to inherit tendencies to be obese.
Can I drink alcohol after surgery?
Alcohol in moderation is acceptable after bariatric surgery for most people. It’s important to know that your body can absorb alcohol differently after your procedure, which means you should stick to 1 drink until you see how alcohol affects you. Remember you’ll also be eating much smaller meals so a small amount of alcohol will affect you more than when you ate larger meals. All alcohol drinks have calories, so it’s best to consider those beverages an occasional treat, instead of a daily part of dinner.
What if I don’t want to tell people I had weight loss surgery?
Whether you choose to tell everyone you had weight loss surgery, or you want to keep that a secret, is completely your choice. If you’re like most people who have weight loss surgery, you will lose weight fairly quickly and after a month or two, people will be asking you “how are you doing it??” If you’d rather not talk about the surgery, simply tell them you’ve committed to eating healthier food, in smaller portions, and are getting exercise in. And that will all be true! Just because you’ve had bariatric surgery – a tool that helps you lose weight – doesn’t mean you should get any less credit for your hard work.
At West Medical, we specialize in bariatric surgery because we love saving lives and improving the quality of life for our patients. If you’re considering one of these procedures but have more questions, we are happy to speak with you and answer any other questions you have. We want you to feel educated and confident in your decision to lose weight. You can speak to our weight loss experts about bariatric surgery, or our non-surgical procedures, by calling 855-690-0565.