Can I regain weight?

Yes.

Bariatric surgery, no matter which type, is a tool to help you lose weight and keep it off. It is not magic and not a guarantee. All operations work by decreasing your appetite by making you less hungry and making you feel full with a smaller portion of food. It does not make your metabolism speed up and it is not a substitute for healthy food choices and exercise. In reality, bariatric surgery allows diet and exercise to FINALLY work because you don’t feel like you are on a ‘starvation diet’. Surgery helps you lose weight, but by incorporating healthy lifestyle you will maintain it. We may refer you to Dr. Holly Lofton, our weight management specialist, to evaluate you and ‘re-start’ your weight loss journey.

There are certain exceptions to this:

The Lap-Band provides a constant restriction on your stomach, however, you can affect how much you lose, or gain, by your eating habits. Weight loss continues for the first 3 years, but is directly affected by how tight your band is. If you resort to eating soft sweets, such as chocolate, ice cream or drinks with high calorie liquids, you will regain the weight. If you do not have your band properly adjusted, you may regain weight. If you develop a problem with the band such as a break in the system or a band erosion, you will have return of hunger and regain weight.

With the gastric bypass, weight loss continues for two to three years and then plateaus. Some patients, depending on the size of the stomach pouch and the type of food they eat, experience a 20-to-30-pound weight regain after two years. Sometimes the pouch or the outlet can stretch, leading to increased food intake.

Sleeve gastrectomy results in a smaller banana-shaped stomach.  Similar to the lap band, if you eat lots of chocolate, ice cream or candy, you will regain weight. However, the stomach may stretch, which leads to increased portion size.

Biliopancreatic diversion provides continuous weight loss for two years, with a subsequent plateau. However, weight regain is possible if carbohydrates are eaten throughout the day (grazing).

The basic message is that surgery is not a complete weight-loss solution; if you regain weight, come back to see us.