4 Reasons You Gain Weight After Gastric Bypass

K. Mathews on 17 Aug 2011 at 9:00am

With a 96% Worth-It Rating, gastric bypass surgery has been a savior for obese patients hoping to look and feel healthier. Though the results may seem miraculous, according to Long Island Bariatric surgeon Dr. Shawn Garber, lost weight is regained in about 20-30% of patients. Here are four reasons why people put back on the pounds after bariatric surgery, and what they can do about it:

1. Unhealthy Habits

Following surgery, patients become complacent with their new trim appearance and don’t work toward actively maintaining their body. In the words of Houston Bariatric surgeon Dr. Ricardo M. Bonnor, “It is important in the immediate post-operative period to develop a good game plan and establish healthy eating habits that will carry you for the rest of your life.”

gastric bypass before and after2. Anatomic Failure

“There are a number of anatomic and physiological conditions that can occur that cause the patient to no longer have adequate hunger or volume control,” says Bariatric surgeon Dr. Lloyd Stegemann of Corpus Christi. Although he says that this is the case for only about 5% of patients who regain weight, it is not altogether uncommon and usually requires a second operation to resolve the issues.

3. Eating High Calorie Foods

It’s true that gastric bypass patients will feel fuller sooner, but that effect means little for people who consume foods with a high calorie to volume ratio, such as protein and milkshakes. Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian warns that digesting these smaller foods that pack in a lot of calories are likely to result in weight gain.

4. Pouch Expansion

If the stomach returns to its former size, obviously it will not help curb consumption. While there are several approaches to readjust the pouch, Long Island Bariatric surgeon Dr. David Buchin recommends “consult[ing] with a bariatric surgeon who is proficient in revisional surgery.”

Photo Credit: Tobyotter on Flickr; Dr. Shawn Garber