Following Up after Bariatric Surgery
As a post-surgical bariatric patient, you have a lot on your mind. Managing stress, increasing physical activity and making time for healthy eating are just a few of the lifestyle changes that accompany bariatric surgery. As the weight comes off, many patients find themselves getting busier and busier, as they are able to participate in a wider variety of activities, and have the stamina to keep up with friends and loved ones. It can be tempting to skip follow-up appointments in favor of something more exciting or productive. However, regular attendance at follow-up appointments is an important part of taking care of your body and mind following surgery.
Gastric Bypass and Sleeve patients are expected to return to the clinic to meet with medical staff and the Registered Dietitian at 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and 1 year following surgery. Lap-Band patients, although they meet with medical staff more frequently for fills, are still expected to follow-up with the Registered Dietitian at 3 months, 6 months and 1 year. Both populations should be seen by all staff annually for the first five years following surgery.
The message is clear. The benefits gained by regular clinic visits far outweigh any hassle associated with follow-up appointments.
Regular meetings with your support team are important not just when things are going wrong. The best time to catch a problem is before it occurs. Regular visits allow your health care team to screen you for common issues that you may not be aware of. They give you a chance to ask questions, and allow staff to support you in staying on track by correcting small problems before they become major issues.
A 2007 article in Reuters Health summarized the results of a study which analyzed the connection between attendance at follow-up appointments and weight-loss success. The study found that the patients who kept all of their appointment for 3 years lost an average of 74% of their excess body weight. Those who kept all appointments for only the first year, lost an average of 60% and those who missed appointments within the first year only lost 56% of their excess weight.
Protect the investment you have made in your health by making sure you schedule and attend the appropriate appointments.