Woman’s gastric bypass surgery sheds 12 kg in weeks

By Thuy Quynh   September 8, 2023 | 04:00 pm PT
Mai Huong, 39, used to weigh 91 kg and had problems with her liver, blood fat levels, and her gallbladder.

But then she lost 12 kg after undergoing gastric bypass surgery.

Gastric bypass surgery is an effective method to shed excessive weight. Illusrration photo by Freepik

Gastric bypass surgery is an effective method to shed excessive weight. Illusrration photo by Freepik

Huong’s weight ranged between 48 and 50 kg before she got married, which was considered normal for a 1.6-meter-tall woman. However, she reached 91 kg after giving birth three times, and she then failed to lose weight using a variety of dieting methods.

Being overweight put Huong’s health at risk. She had pain in her knees and high fat levels in her blood and liver. She started experiencing occasional pain in her stomach last year, which she thought was a consequence of obesity. She bought pills from a pharmacy, but the pains got unbearably worse until she was eventually hospitalized.

Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, deputy director of the Institute of Gastroenterology and head of the Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery at 108 Military Central Hospital, said Huong was diagnosed with hyperlipidemia, cholecystitis, and gallstones, which were causing the pain in her stomach.

According to Tuan, pain from gallstones can be mistaken for gastralgia. It may cause sepsis, septic shock, and even mortality if not treated in time.

Researchers have shown that obese people have higher levels of cholesterol, and the excessive amount of cholesterol that cannot be decomposed results in gallstones. But Tuan said obesity can cause several serious health problems aside from gallstones.

Doctors decided to perform both gastric bypass surgery and gallbladder removal surgery on Huong. They instructed her to use antibiotics and adapt her diet prior to the surgeries to minimize the risk of stroke.

"The surgeries were risky due to the patient’s obesity and hyperlipidemia situation," said Tuan. "Her cholecystitis made her gallbladder stick to her liver, making it hard to distinguish the two organs."

It took the doctors three hours to complete the process of removing Huong’s gallstones. Her stomach was reduced to a third of its original size, aiming to assist her weight loss process.

She then lost 12 kg in only a month after the surgery, reaching 79 kg. She is still adapting her diet and lifestyle to get back to her normal weight.

Patients often consume less food post-gastric bypass surgery, due to the smaller size of their stomachs. But in order to maintain their weight and improve their health conditions, they should also take up eating healthily and exercising regularly, according to medical professionals.

Despite its effects, gastric bypass surgery should only be performed in those who suffer from diseases related to diabetes or menstrual disorder, according to doctors. Those who do not experience these diseases should adjust their weight by limiting the amount of calories they take into their bodies while increasing the amount of calories they burn via exercise, health experts say.

Maintaining a healthy weight, which can be calculated by the Body Mass Index (BMI) equation of weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared, is the best way to avoid gallstones and obesity, according to doctors.

World Health Organization defines a BMI higher than 25 as "overweight," and a BMI higher than 30 as "obese."

Meanwhile, a BMI ranging between 18.5 and 25 is considered normal.

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