Why Might Weight Loss Surgery Not Work
Written By: Emma Squillace
You likely know that weight loss surgery can be an incredibly safe and effective tool for helping people lose weight. Many of our patients went years or decades, unable to lose a substantial amount of weight, no matter what diet or exercise they tried. These same patients are often able to lose 50 – 100 pounds, or even more, after bariatric surgery.
Operations like the gastric sleeve and gastric bypass help people lose weight in a variety of ways. Both of these operations physically make the stomach smaller, so eating a much smaller meal than before can make you feel full. Patients who have had both operations also say they go longer between meals before they are hungry. The sleeve, in addition, seems to lessen the amount of ghrelin in the body. Ghrelin is a hormone that makes you feel hunger. The bypass allows your body to skip part of your digestive tract, so that not all of the calories you eat, get absorbed.
Understanding these facts, it may be hard to imagine how someone could NOT lose weight after bariatric surgery. While it is a rare occurrence, it can happen. Here are some reasons we see for lack of significant weight loss after surgery.
The Wrong Surgery
There is no single bariatric surgery that is perfect for all patients. So it is possible that a patient may have had surgery at a practice where they were not as experienced at helping that patient pick the best operation for their situation. For example, some patients come to West Medical because they had Lap Band surgery, which relies heavily on patients making active lifestyle changes. While they thought they would be able to lose weight, some were not. In some cases, our surgeons are often able to offer the patient the chance to have another operation, which allows them to have a surgery that may better fit their lifestyle, health, and weight loss goals.
Sometimes, no matter what surgery someone has, their eating habits outweigh the positive changes that come from the surgery. One of the most frequent places we see this is with liquid calories. Even after bariatric surgery, if someone drinks large milkshakes each day, they are likely not going to lose a significant amount of weight. How you eat after surgery makes a big difference in your weightloss journey. That’s why our team is here to not only make sure your surgery is successful, but also that you know how to eat afterwards, to find the most success.
Enlargement of the Stomach Pouch
Sometimes people lose weight initially with bariatric surgery, but find they are then regaining weight. This may happen in the case that the stomach pouch stretches out. Remember that the sleeve and bypass both create much smaller stomachs. However, over time, the smaller stomach can stretch out, especially if larger portions are being eaten. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce a pouch that is too large, and for many patients this can restart a good path of weight loss again.
Not Following the Post-Op Diet
Bariatric surgery is an incredible tool for helping with weight loss, but it cannot do the work on its own. It is essential that you follow the dietary instructions our team gives you, in order to stay healthy and optimize your weight loss. For instance, if someone does not take in enough protein – a common challenge after bariatric surgery – this can lower their ability to lose weight. Additionally, not staying hydrated and not keeping up with your vitamins can impede both your health and your weight loss. If you are unsure about what you should eat after your surgery, make sure to ask our team for a reminder.
The majority of people who have bariatric surgery, lose a substantial amount of weight after the operation. However, there are rare cases where people do not lose weight. If you are in this situation, the best thing you can do is to ask for help. Please do not feel ashamed about not losing weight, or gaining weight back. Our team may be able to help you. Reach out to us at 855-690-0565 to speak to our supportive experts.