What to Expect

NMMC Bariatric Center logo with tape measure artAt North Mississippi Medical Center, we consider weight loss of more than approximately 30-50 percent of pre-surgery weight a good result. For instance, a person weighing 300 pounds who loses 90 pounds would be considered to have a good weight loss result. We expect about 85-90 percent of patients to achieve good to excellent results.

The average patient will lose about 30-35 percent of the pre-surgery weight, but results vary from person to person. A majority of patients will reach a normal weight. Successful weight loss reduces or resolves high blood sugar levels in diabetic patients and decreases or eliminates elevated blood pressure in approximately 90 percent of hypertensive patients. But, results are individual and not guaranteed.

Benefits of Surgery

Weight loss is not the only reason that weight loss surgery should be undertaken. The more important benefits of surgical treatment are the improvements of general health and quality of life. The following medical conditions are normally improved or eliminated after weight loss:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol)
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Respiratory insufficiency (shortness of breath)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and/or heartburn
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Stress urinary incontinence
  • Low back pain/Degenerative disk disease
  • Arthritis/Degenerative joint disease
  • Leg ulcers
  • A reduction in medications
  • And others not listed

Setting Realistic Expectations

The goal of surgery is to help you lose more than half of your excess weight. This can reduce or prevent health problems. It is not cosmetic surgery. Keep in mind that:

  • Other medically managed weight loss methods must be tried first and documented. Surgery is only an option if other methods have not been successful.
  • Surgery is meant to be permanent. You will need to make lifestyle changes for the rest of your life.
  • You must commit to making good food choices and being more active after surgery, otherwise you will not maximize your weight loss.
  • You will not reach a healthy weight right away. Most of the weight is lost steadily over 12-24 months after surgery.
  • The surgery is a tool that will help you lose weight. But, by being diligent with exercise and attending support groups and workshops, your chances of losing more weight will dramatically increase.

Having surgery is a personal decision as well as a medical one. Your medical team can teach you about the surgeries and help you measure the benefits versus the risks based on your individual situation. The final decision is up to you. To make it intelligently, you need to know all about the risks and benefits of the surgery.

In order for you to make the right decision, you will be scheduled for several appointments with a variety doctors and/or specialists, a psychologist, a dietitian, and other departments to have lab work and tests done. During these visits, you will be able to ask questions and gain more information about the surgery and recovery period.

Potential Risks & Complications

Surgery for morbid obesity is considered major surgery. As with all surgeries, bariatric surgery carries the risk of general anesthesia and potential complications that are more common as weight increases.

If you are interested in bariatric surgery to get control of morbid obesity and other health problems, you must first consider the benefits to be gained from surgery versus the risks that you must go through in order to have the surgery. Usually the risks occur right away when the surgery is performed. The benefits take a while to pay you back in the form of improved health, reduced long-term risk of illness and lifestyle enhancement.

Risks and complications during surgery may include perforation of the stomach or intestine, internal bleeding, bowel obstruction. Wound infection (including opening of the wound), incisional hernia, and injury to the spleen with potential removal of the spleen.

Pulmonary embolism (blood clots to your lungs from your legs), pneumonia, atelectasis (collapse of lung tissue), fluid in the chest or other breathing problems may occur. Compression hose and walking after surgery help decrease the incidence of blood clots. With any major surgery, there is the risk of heart attack, congestive heart failure, irregular heartbeat, stroke, liver or kidney problems. Although rare (approx. 0.5-1 percent), surgical complications may cause death. Other complications include minor wound or skin infections, urinary tract infection, allergic reaction to medications, excessive vomiting, dehydration, development of loose skin, narrowing or stretching of the anastomosis (outlet of the stomach), peptic ulcer disease, and/or psychological reactions (i.e. depression while adjusting to new eating and lifestyle habits). Other late problems may include failure to lose weight or weight regain.

Most patients experience improved confidence and self-esteem. Some patients experience social or emotional upheavals (divorce, acute job dissatisfaction and other problems) as a result of all the changes that occur after surgery. Whether these problems are related to the surgery or weight reduction is unclear, but they have been noted.

Start Your Journey

Your first step is to register for an appointment with the Bariatric Clinic. Someone will contact you within 48-72 hours to set up your initial appointment. 

Register Here