What is Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery is surgery to help people lose weight. It is not at all a ‘quick fix’. It is a major surgery that changes the digestive system to support healthy eating (which is why seeing an experienced bariatric dietitian is very important). The two main bariatric surgeries are the sleeve gastrectomy and the gastric bypass. The sleeve gastrectomy is the most common bariatric surgery in Australia. It is a non-reversible surgery where most of the stomach is removed. People having bariatric surgery lose weight for about the first year after the surgery. After this time continuing with a healthy diet and exercise are important in maintaining weight loss, ongoing support from a specialised bariatric dietitian is encouraged. An experienced Bariatric dietitian will support you to understand the surgery is a tool to support healthy eating.
Who is Bariatric surgery for?
Bariatric surgery is performed in Australia for people with a BMI over 40 OR a BMI over 35 plus medical problems such as Type 2 Diabetes (including pre-diabetes), sleep apnoea, osteoarthritis or high blood pressure (plus many other conditions). Bariatric surgery is a very effective treatment option for people carrying a lot of excess weight and with Type 2 Diabetes. Most patients can either eliminate or significantly reduce their diabetes medications after bariatric surgery.
How does Bariatric surgery work?
Bariatric surgery works not only because of restriction (a much smaller stomach) but also because of hormonal changes in the stomach. There is a reduction in the hunger hormone, ghrelin, and an increase in other hormones which signal you are full. The result is reduced appetite and being satisfied with much smaller meals.
What is recovery like?
Most people return home 2 – 3 days after bariatric surgery. Eating after bariatric surgery is very restrictive at first, but this is short term. In the first couple of months, you will only be able to eat between ¼ to ½ cup food. Therefore what you eat is very important to ensure you get all the right nutrients. Make sure you have a bariatric dietitian to support your recovery immediately after the surgery and for the months/years afterwards.
Your bariatric dietitian will guide you through the different phases as you recover from your bariatric surgery. Firstly fluids, then a puree through to soft diet before resuming a healthy balanced diet. Working with a bariatric dietitian will ensure you are consuming enough dietary protein and taking suitable multivitamin supplements in this period of little food and rapid weight loss.
Why do I need a Bariatric Dietitian?
An experienced bariatric dietitian is a core member of a bariatric surgery team. One disadvantage of bariatric surgery is that there is a higher risk of micronutrient deficiencies (e.g Iron, B12, Vit D deficiencies). For one, bariatric surgery reduces the size of your meals. Therefore the nutritional quality of your meals after bariatric surgery is VERY important in preventing deficiencies because of these smaller portions. Your bariatric dietitian will help to make sure you are not at risk of deficiencies.
To make things a little more complicated bariatric surgery can alter the digestion of some key vitamins and minerals. Multivitamin supplementation is a lifelong recommendation following bariatric surgery. Your bariatric dietitian can assist with monitoring these nutrient levels long term.
Can I regain weight after Bariatric surgery?
Weight regain IS a possibility after bariatric surgery. Working with a bariatric dietitian can assist in ensuring your diet and lifestyle patterns are not contributing to this. Healthy eating is still a very fundamental component of managing your weight at all times (both with and without bariatric surgery).
How do I book to see a Bariatric Dietitian?
Complex surgery requires a deep understanding of complex nutrition issues. Bariatric dietitians are a very specialised area of nutrition support. It is vital you are able to find an experienced bariatric dietitian to support you on your journey. Our bariatric dietitian, Penny Weigand, works closely with local surgeons and is the local expert. Bookings to see or bariatric dietitian at SSDiets can be made with our friendly reception staff by calling 02 80346465 OR booking online with Penny here.
What is Bariatric Surgery?