Gastric Bypass Surgery- Harmful or Helpful?

  1. Hi again,

    I have been a perpetual yo yo dieter my whole life. Before I was pregnant with my son, I had lost (on a very low carb diet) about 70 lbs.

    Since he has been born ( over 3 1/2 years now), I have managed to put all the weight back and more.
    I am probably at least 75-95 (gulp)pounds over my ideal weight. I am 5"3 and should be around 110-140.

    A co-worker of mine had gastric bypass surgery a number of years ago and had lost over 100 pounds. So has Carnie Wilson... I have seen a lot of commericals lately from hospitals(Plantation General in FL)advocating this treatment.

    Any thoughts, experiences, advise? I seem to be stuck at this weight no matter what I eat or don't eat. I have also taken to aerobic exercise and weight training. But the weight stays on. (I am also on 40 mgs Celexa and don't know if that contributes to weight gain.)

    Sorry for such a long post. But I am really leaning towards this surgery as a permanant solution. My husband is adamantly against it.

    Thanks so much!

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  3. by   shygirl
    I think it's sweet that your husband is against it. It shows he loves you no matter what you think of yourself. I work with a woman who had it done 6 months ago. She is ,yes, thinner; but she looks so tired and washed out. She is also cranky.

    Do you exercise at all?
  4. by   Jas honey
    I had this surgery on 4/9/2002 and to date have lost ~75 lbs. I have about 100 more to go too!!! It has been good for me, in many ways, I feel much better overall than I did prior to surgery. It is a good thing for most people who have it, but it is also true that your life changes in SO many ways that your personality can change too, and not always for the better. Luckily, all the people I know are positive and happy LOL I had my husband's full support, and he remains that way now. Why is your husband so dead-set against it? Change is hard all the way around, but it is important to examine your own reasons for wanting and doing the surgery and decide from there. Go to for a GREAt weight-loss surgery site. You can PM me too if you want.
    Best wishes!!
  5. by   shanaRN
    I think you sould do whatever it is that will make you happiest. But, I did my senior research paper in nursing school over GBP surgery. There are benefits, and risks. Some risks I found were septicemia, coma, sever malnutrition, mood, personality changes. Some of these (and I didn't list them all) are of course more extreme than others. But, the thing I found was that if you have a doctor that works with you on all levels, spiritual, physical, emotional, that you will fare much better. A doctor that only gets you thru surgery will not benefit you. You have to go thru behavior mod to be a successful candidate. You have to learn to change the way you eat and exercise and live. Thinking that the surgery alone will cause you to lose gobs of weight will get you into more trouble. Realizing, however, that it, in conjunction with lifestyle changes can really get you the resulsts you so desire. Let me know if you have any questions!
  6. by   Ted
    My wife recently had gastric bypass surgery. I've posted on this subject a number of times. In a nut-shell, like any surgery, gastric bypass has its risks and benefits. In the long run, the surgery has benefited my wife and a very nice way. However, she did experience post-op problems including a nicked liver (and 1 liter blood loss during surgery) and post-op incisional infection.

    I'm going to give you a PM (private message) and attach my wife's email address. She will be more than willing to answer your questions should you decide to write to her. My wife's name is Amy.

    Good luck to you!


  7. by   hoolahan
    I have been changing my opinion about this surgery, seems it has been improved a lot in more recent years.

    But... I have a lovely woman who had this surgery, and was doing great, only to find out a year later she had breats cancer. She had a radical mastectomy, and now is faced with chemo & rad, and now she has no reserve. This has raised a new concern for me. Once you shrink that tummy down so far, how can you possible keep well-nourished when having to fave situations such as these? I have heard there is a banding procedure that can be undone, but it is also riskier. Just thought I'd add that food for thought.
  8. by   Jamesdotter
    I'm under the impression that you have to be at least 100 lbs overweight to qualify for either surgery (I once heard of a woman who deliberately gained weight to be over 100 lbs so that they would do the surgery!!)

    Have you had an opportunity to try a support group such as TOPS or Overeater's Anon? I joined the former in March and have so far lost about 20 lbs or about 1-2 lbs a week. (well, one week I was up 1 and another week I neither gained nor lost but......)
    I find the support to be a big help, and since I don't want to disappoint the others I use all the tricks they teach (food diaries, etc) and so far have done pretty well. Of course, I'm only about 1/4 way to my goal, so we'll see how it goes on.
  9. by   researchrabbit
    A very close friend of mine had the surgery almost two years ago. He has lost 150+ lbs. He's also had several complications...

    First it was a massive infection. Had to open him back up when it didn't respond to meds.

    Then he developed a hernia in the chest wall (boy, did THAT look weird!). You guessed it, they had to open him back up, put in some mesh.

    Since then, he's done well. He STILL manages to carry about 50 extra pounds (but when you consider where he was, he is svelte). He's been LARGE since he was a child, too, and had tried everything prior to the surgery. When he was huge, he played racquet ball most days, rode his bike 40+ miles per week, was very fit. I have no idea how he managed to keep all that weight on!

    There are a lot of foods he can't eat now, or he can eat only a bite. Pills are difficult, too. But...he wouldn't have it any other way because nothing else worked.

    If you haven't exhausted all your other avenues, though, go for those first -- surgery is awfully final.

    PS We've seen some weight gain with cellexa with a few people; since it's relatively new (and most trials don't last long) it might be awhile before they determine whether or not it causes weight gain. I believe wellbutrin has either gotten an indication for weight loss or is in the process of doing so (it's another type of antidepressant, might ask your doc).
  10. by   patsue53
    I'm responding to your post from the point of view of a GI certified nurse. We have had many patients come in for scopes who are extremely overweight and in reading their history I find that they've had gastric bypass several years back. So the responder that said you must still find a way to change your eating habits and lifestyles is right on. You can still get the weight back on if you stretch your stomach with overeating.

    I once worked with a nurse who lost a great deal of weight after having gastric bypass. She then had surgery to remove the excess skin under her arms and on her stomach. She then went on to develop an autoimmune disorder which she says (I've never researched this...only going by her word) is a fairly rare side effect of the surgery. She had the surgery reversed and gained back all the weight she'd lost.

    Another horror story is one I personally witnessed. I assisted with a gastroscopy on a woman who had had the surgery years back. Upon scoping her we found that part of the surgery had come undone and she had a small pocket opening into the part of her stomach which had been closed off. After her scope she was in excrutiating pain and her stomach was very hard. It turned out that air was trapped in the divided off part of her stomach. Upon CT scan it was found that there was a large malignant tumor in that part of her stomach...which wasn't able to be visualized during the scope.

    Now...having said all this let me also say that we only see a very small portion of the population who have had bypass surgery. I'm sure there's a large number of people who have had good results and my bias comes from viewing the population who have gastric problems. But there are downsides to the surgery.

    I wish you well whatever you decide. Being 70 lbs overweight I certainly understand your interest in a permanent fix.
  11. by   melissa24

    i have two weight loss stories for can take whatever advice you want from them. a friend of mine had gastric bypass surgery last october. since then she has lost just over 100 pounds. she is 5'2", and i believe she now weighs between 155 and 160. (a side note: it is my understanding that you must be above a certain bmi to have this surgery done, and i am not sure you would qualify.) the surgery went well for her. she did hit a plateau, and has lost a bit more since then. she would like to lose more, but says she would be happy at the weight she is at. a couple of negatives...i do know she has had some bad experiences with eating the wrong types of foods. there are some foods she will never be able to eat again, and it has been a sort of trial and error learning experience with what she can eat and how much. some of these bad experiences have left her feeling miserable for over 24 hours. i can only imagine how that feels. another downside is she still has problems with excess skin, and she is undecided whether or not to undergo another surgery to remove it.

    now my story...i am 5'4" and weighed 176 for about 3 years, then finally decided to do something about it. i joined weight watchers and am down to 148, but i am still going. now, i am not going to preach long and hard about may have already tried it...i know many have succeeded and many more have failed. but i am a strong believer in the program and i believe that if one is truly ready to take it on, it will work! i am, by the way, a cheater and a slow loser, but, hey, at least i have lost and i feel a lot better about myself. i do the online program and it is much less expensive.

    please feel free to pm me if you have any questions for me. best of luck to you in whatever you decide to do.

    p.s. why is your husband so against the gastric bypass surgery?
  12. by   JUSTYSMOM
    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for the advise! In answer to some of the questions posed to me...My husband is against the surgery becasue he doesn't want me to risk any complications that may occur. In addition, since I have lost 70 lbs in the past, he KNOWS I can do it again (sigh)...

    I guess my inquiry about gastric bypass surgery is because I am so tired of yo-yo dieting. I was impressed with so many drastic changes that I have seen with the surgery.

    I haven't thought about things unseen things that may happen in the future (someone brought up breast cancer- My mom is currently battling for her life with metastic breast cancer).

    I need to do A LOT of research, preayer and thought before I do anything undergoing the knife.

    Thanks again- fondly,
  13. by   nursedawn67
    Originally posted by efiebke
    My wife recently had gastric bypass surgery. I've posted on this subject a number of times. In a nut-shell, like any surgery, gastric bypass has its risks and benefits. In the long run, the surgery has benefited my wife and a very nice way. However, she did experience post-op problems including a nicked liver (and 1 liter blood loss during surgery) and post-op incisional infection.

    I'm going to give you a PM (private message) and attach my wife's email address. She will be more than willing to answer your questions should you decide to write to her. My wife's name is Amy.

    Good luck to you!



    Yes Ted's wife is very nice and helpful with info and her experience with the gastric bypass. i encourage those seriously thinking to PM him and talk with his wife.
  14. by   nursejws
    I, too, have been researching WLS since March 2001, and HOPEFULLY my hubby and I will have surgery by the end of this year. FINALLY! I have a new job, with new insurance, etc, etc.

    With that said, I know a lot about this surgery, and you probably wouldn't qualify because you are not 100 lbs overweight, which is what most insurance companies standard minimum. Also, your BMI shouldn't be lower than 40.

    There is this lady I know, that I met at one of the support groups in my area, who went in for open rny and the surgeon had to abort the surgery because he found cancer once he opened her up. She was in the hospital for several months afterwards recuperating. That was last August, and she has lost over 100lbs by just following the post op diet. It might be something to think about. A few years ago a friend and I used to walk every night around our neighborhood and took cokes our of diets and drank more water and dropped a good amount of weight over a period of several months.

    Good luck in whatever you decide to do. As soon as our insurance cards are mailed to us we will be on our way too!