Frequently Asked Questions
What we do, how it works and what might go wrong.
What to expect when you come to hospital for your operation.
I know very little about bariatric surgery
Please look at our Introduction to Bariatric (weight management) surgery”, “Pre-surgical Bariatric Service 1 – Pre-surgical Bariatric Service 2”, “Gastric Bypass and Nutrition – April 2020”, “Gastric sleeve and nutrition” “Gastric Balloon – 2020 and “Gastric Band” leaflets.
What are the risks of bariatric surgery?
Please read our “Patient information for sleeve gastrectomy surgery” and “Patient information for roux-en-y gastric bypass” risk proformas.
I have been referred by my doctor to your bariatric surgery service. When will I be seen?
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the wait to attend our Tier 4 MDT meeting is longer than normal. It may be over a year. Patients are often prioritised according to clinical need and therefore won’t be seen in the order that they were referred to the service. We aim to offer some of these patients non-surgical treatments whilst they are waiting for surgery.
Where am I on the waiting list for my bariatric surgery?
If you are put on the waiting list for surgery at your Tier 4 multidsciplinary clinic appointment, the waiting time is about 3-7 months until your surgery. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic this is slightly unpredictable and could be longer. We will call you and offer you a date for surgery around six weeks in advance. Usually we can be a bit flexible, if this date is inconvenient. Patients don’t always get a date for surgery in the same order that they are booked in clinic; for example, some operations may require the expertise of particular surgeons, and as per national guidelines written because of the pandemic, some patients are offered surgery earlier than others.
I have a question about the pre-operative milk diet or what to eat after surgery
Please read our “Gastric sleeve and nutrition”, or “Gastric Bypass and Nutrition – April 2020” leaflets. Further information is available in Protein diet sheet 2020
Is there an alternative to the milk diet?
The milk diet is the best way to shrink your liver to make your operation safer. Most patients manage it. However, if you’re really struggling, please speak to one of our dieticians.
I’ve been admitted to another hospital with a problem related to my bariatric surgery
In general, the St Richard’s bariatric surgeons are very keen to know about any bariatric concerns with their patients. If you are admitted to other hospitals, please ask your doctor to contact the bariatric surgeons (bariatric fellow or consultant) at St Richard’s through our switchboard, for specialist advice or transfer.
Is it normal to have pain after bariatric surgery?
It’s normal to have some pain and discomfort for a week or two after bariatric surgery. However, if it is getting worse rather than better, and doesn’t settle with your regular painkillers then contact us or your GP.
Can I take ibuprofen after bariatric surgery?
Yes after a sleeve gastrectomy, but not after a gastric bypass. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers (NSAIDs) include ibuprofen, diclofenac, and naproxen, may cause an ulcer where the small bowel is stitched to the stomach pouch.
I have developed a new abdominal pain (even years) since my gastric bypass
Anyone that has had gastric bypass surgery is at risk of internal hernias. We often treat any new moderate/severe abdominal pain as an internal hernia strangulating the small bowel (until proven otherwise). Please see a doctor if this happens to you.
I am worried about blood clots after bariatric surgery?
Blood clots in the leg and lung (venous thromboembolisms) are more common after all operations, especially in larger patients. We reduce this risk by giving you blood thinning injections (heparin) for 14 days after bariatric surgery. We will teach you how to inject yourself. Try to stay hydrated and mobile. Seek help if:
a) one of your legs becomes swollen, painful or hot, or
b) you become breathless, have new chest pains, or cough up blood.
I have been vomiting very often after my bariatric surgery
Please get in touch (see below). We may need to treat this urgently with a vitamin drip, and try to find out why it’s happening.
How long should I take lansoprazole for after surgery?
Please take a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) such as 30mg Lansoprazole FasTab for 28 days after surgery.
I have questions about my vitamin and mineral supplements
Please read these leaflets:
Vitamin Minerals for life after surgery 2021 and
Bone Health and Bariatric Surgery Vitamin D and Calcium 2020
To avoid nutritional deficiencies, you must take vitamins and minerals daily for the rest of your life. If you are struggling to take them immediately after surgery for a couple of weeks, this will not be a problem, but please re-start as soon as you can. Only take the supplements we have told you to, or discuss this at your next dietician appointment.
Due to the current COVID-19 Health Crisis, if you cannot get your vitamin b12 injections from your GP, please take 1000µg (micrograms) of vitamin b12 in tablet form or as a spray. This should be started from the time your next B12 injection is due. B12 injections should resume once you are able to access your GP surgery again.
How can I get advice about my diabetes after bariatric surgery?
Please read our “Blood Glucose Monitoring” leaflet. Your GP or local diabetes specialist will be able to help. If you are regularly having low blood sugars (sugar levels below 4mmol/L) or ‘hypos’ (fainting, dizziness, blurred vision) after your surgery contact the Loxwood Centre.
My bowels have changed since my bariatric surgery – is this normal?
Yes, and it tends to settle down with time. If constipated, have more fluid and fibre, and buy a stool softener from your chemist eg. movicol/senna.
Why do I have a low mood since my bariatric surgery?
Surgery can be unsettling. Mood changes are usually temporary. If you normally take anti-depressants, don’t stop taking them without medical advice. If you find you are more depressed than usual, especially if you have thoughts of harming yourself, please make an appointment as soon as you can to talk things over with your GP.
Why have my periods changed since my surgery?
This is normal as there can be big changes to your hormones with bariatric surgery. Many women say their period cycle becomes more regular, and for the first few cycles their period may last longer. However, if bleeding is continuous or with clots please see your GP.
Can I continue taking the oral contraceptive pill after bariatric surgery?
It may not be absorbed properly, and might not work as well. We suggest switching to an alternative (eg. coil, injection, implant).
I am trying to get pregnant after bariatric surgery and need dietary advice
Please read “Dietary advice during pregnancy following weight loss surgery”.
Wait 12 months before trying to get pregnant as the baby might not get enough calories and may not grow properly. Make sure you use contraception during this time. If you do find you are pregnant during the first year, contact us for advice.
I’ve suddenly started feeling funny an hour or so after eating, and my surgery was a while ago
Please read our leaflets:
Gastric Bypass and Nutrition – April 2020
Gastric sleeve and nutrition
What should I do if I am unwell after my bariatric surgery?
If it’s during the post-operative period, and these FAQs don’t answer your query, you can contact your GP, or telephone the hospital. Ring the Loxwood Centre during working hours (01243788122; ext 31655), or Aldwick Ward/Chichester Suite out of hours (01243 3831545). If you’re very unwell you should telephone 999.