What to Expect After Duodenal Switch Surgery

While the procedure for a duodenal switch surgery only lasts about four hours, it could take the whole day if the surgeon decides to do the surgery in two parts. However, your day in surgery is nothing compared to the length of recovery that you will need after a duodenal switch surgery. Typically, recovery lasts about 20 to 30 days and almost all of it is outside of the hospital.

While your body is healing, it will slowly re-acclimate to eating solid food. During this first 20 days of being post-operative, the patient will only be allowed to eat through a straw. At first, this is limited to clear fluids until you are given the go ahead for the pureed stage of the diet. At the end of your 30 days, you will be re-incorporating solid food into what you eat at every meal.

In some cases, there will be some dehydration after the surgery because the patient is having trouble with swallowing liquids. This is due to the duodenal switch surgery causing swelling in the immediate area surrounding the stomach and small bowel. This is easy to resolve by going back to the hospital and getting admitted to be intravenously rehydrated. Naturally, pain from the surgery is also part of the recovery process. In most cases, you will be prescribed medications that will relieve your discomfort.

Within the first year to year and a half, patients that have the duodenal switch weight loss procedure will achieve most of their obesity reduction goals. On average, this is about 70% of the weight they wanted to lose and a BMI reduction of about 35%.

A common problem with the duodenal switch over other types of weight loss surgeries is the dietary deficiencies. By nature, the surgery makes the intestines less able to absorb calories and fat. The side effect of this is also not absorbing enough vitamins. In particular, a patient with this type of procedure will always need to take supplements for vitamin D, potassium, iron, vitamin A, and calcium for a lifetime.

When a patient does not fully embrace the dietary changes associated with the duodenal switch, their health can be in jeopardy within a short period of time. It goes without saying that the dietary guidelines given to post-operative patients is mandatory. Otherwise, malnutrition ensues and there are bowel issues that can become repulsive.

The surgery will also modify what you want to eat. For example, you will want to avoid eating a large amount of fatty foods because it will give you a bad case of gas and possibly diarrhea. Alternatively, foods high in carbohydrates will also cause painful abdominal gas. On the other hand, some patients do not have these side effects at all.