Aug 11

Regaining Weight After Weight Loss Surgery

I can hear my surgeon and dietitian saying, “Most gastric bypass patients hit their lowest weight about 18 months post surgery and then gain back a percentage of what they lost.” Well, I don’t want to gain any of the weight I’ve lost. I’m 11 months out and I panicked last week when the scale showed a one-pound weight gain.

Preparation, not panic, is the best plan of action. Learn the facts about weight regain and how to avoid gaining weight back.

How Much Weight Do Weight-Loss Patients Regain After Surgery

According to Bariatric Surgery Source, on average, patients who regain weight see about eight percent of their old weight return within five years of surgery.

Example of Gain: A patient who is one of the 80 percent of surgery patients who gains weight back, was 100 pounds overweight and lost 70 pounds from surgery, (on average) can expect to gain back about eight pounds.

Additionally sources report, as good new, most patients (about 80-percent of morbidly obese and 65-percent of super obese) keep at least 50% of their excess weight off after 10 years.

Regain Weight After Weight Loss Surgery Gastric Bypass

Mindless eating, sitting with even healthy snacks, in front of the TV and thus overeating is one of my big challenges, especially if I’m alone.

Preventing Weight Regain After Bariatric Surgery

To many an eight-pound regain may sound minimal . . . but any gain makes me nervous. I just can’t ever go back to seeing the numbers on the scale increase, even insignificantly.

So, I’m planning to prevent weight gain, by:

  1. Getting ongoing nutritional advise
  2. Being honest with the nutritionist and my physician about my situation and fears
  3. Identifying unhealthy behaviors like falling back into bad eating habits and making poor food choices and immediately addressing them
  4. Following my medical team’s advise to the letter — or at worst — putting on the brakes when I’m temped to or dabble in breaking the rules
  5. Engaging family and friends to stay proactive in my life and remind me if I stray
  6. Staying active in a support group, like this website’s online Facebook support group

Long-term Weight Regain after Gastric Bypass: A 5-year Prospective Study

Obesity Surgery, the official journal of the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and metabolic disorders (IFSO), published the following study results:

A certain weight gain occurs after obesity surgery compared to the lower weight usually observed between 18 and 24 months postsurgery. The objective of this study was to evaluate weight regain in patients submitted to gastric bypass over a 5-year follow-up period.

A longitudinal prospective study was conducted on 782 obese patients of both genders. Only patients with at least 2 years of surgery were included. The percentage of excess body mass index (BMI) loss at 24, 36, 48, and 60 months postsurgery was compared to the measurements obtained at 18 months after surgery. Surgical therapeutic failure was also evaluated.

Percent excess BMI loss was significant up to 18 months postsurgery (p < 0.001), with a mean difference in BMI of 1.06 kg/m2 compared to 12 months postsurgery. Percent BMI loss was no longer significant after 24 months, and weight regain became significant within 48 months after surgery (p < 0.01). Among the patients who presented weight regain, a mean 8% increase was observed within 60 months compared to the lowest weight obtained at 18 months after surgery. The percentage of surgical failure was higher in the superobese group at all times studied, reaching 18.8% at 48 months after surgery.

Weight regain was observed within 24 months after surgery in approximately 50% of patients. Both weight regain and surgical failure were higher in the superobese group. Studies in regard to metabolic and hormonal mechanisms underlying weight regain might elucidate the causes of this finding.

Source: Obesity Surgery 2008 Jun
Long-term weight regain after gastric bypass: a 5-year prospective study.
Magro DO1, Geloneze B, Delfini R, Pareja BC, Callejas F, Pareja JC.


About the author

Laurie Lee Dovey

LLD is a writer, photographer, marketing and media consultant, hunter, angler, RVer, sports nut, poker player, and wife.


  1. Donna Tuton

    I’m pre op gastric bypass and was interested in information regarding this.

    1. Laurie Lee Dovey

      What exactly do you want to know about? Please offer specific questions. Otherwise we’d have to write a book. There is a lot of information on this blog site about pre-surgery prep and care. Look through the blog posts.

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