Alcohol after gastric bypass and vertical sleeve gastrectomy

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I know beer isnt ok duee to carbonation . what about other forms of alcohol in a social situation.

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I know beer isnt ok duee to carbonation . what about other forms of alcohol in a social situation.

Surgeons have differing opinions about alcohol use after gastric bypass. Some suggest that it is safest to avoid all alcohol because of the problem of alcohol addiction that may sneak up on individuals. Other surgeons feel that alcohol represents "wasted calories" with no nutritional value. Still others fear that alcohol may be one of the substances that could increase the risk of marginal ulcers. In our practice we have suggested that patients can have an alcoholic beverage once in a while as a treat, but avoid regular use of alcohol. I'm not aware of any research that has documented the percentage of patients who use alcohol regularly say five years after surgery.

I think that any gastric bypass patient will realize that alcohol will hit their system much faster and harder than before surgery. So if one does drink, it is imperative that there be a designated driver.

Here are a couple of abstracts from the medical literature that you may find helpful.

J Am Coll Surg. 2011 Feb;212(2):209-14. Epub 2010 Dec 22.

Impaired alcohol metabolism after gastric bypass surgery: a case-crossover trial.

Woodard GA, Downey J, Hernandez-Boussard T, Morton JM.

Department of Surgery, Section of Minimally Invasive and BariatricSurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.


BACKGROUND: Severe obesity remains the leading public health crisis of the industrialized world, with bariatric surgery the only effective and enduring treatment. Poor psychological adjustment has been occasionally reported postoperatively. In addition, evidence suggests that patients can metabolize alcohol differently after gastric bypass.

STUDY DESIGN: Preoperatively and at 3 and 6 months postoperatively, 19 Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) patients' breath alcohol content (BAC) was measured every 5 minutes after drinking 5 oz red wine to determine peak BAC and time until sober in a case-crossover design preoperatively and at 6 months postoperatively.

RESULTS: Patients reported symptoms experienced when intoxicated and answered a questionnaire of drinking habits. The peak BAC in patients after RYGB was considerably higher at 3 months (0.059%) and 6 months (0.088%) postoperatively than matched preoperative levels (0.024%). Patients also took considerably more time to return to sober at 3 months (61 minutes) and 6 months (88 minutes) than preoperatively (49 minutes). Postoperative intoxication was associated with lower levels of diaphoresis, flushing, and hyperactivity and higher levels of dizziness, warmth, and double vision. Postoperative patients reported drinking considerably less alcohol, fewer preferred beer, and more preferred wine than before surgery.

CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to match preoperative and postoperative alcohol metabolism in gastric bypass patients. Post-RYGB patients have much higher peak BAC after ingesting alcohol and require more time to become sober. Patients who drink alcohol after gastric bypass surgery should exercise caution.


Obes Surg. 2010 Dec 28. [Epub ahead of print]

Alcohol Use Disorders After Bariatric Surgery.

Suzuki J, Haimovici F, Chang G.

Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 75 Francis St, Boston, MA, 02115, USA,


BACKGROUND: The increased incidence of alcohol use disorders (AUD) after bariatric surgery has been proposed despite limited empirical support. We sought to determine the prevalence of current and lifetime AUD and other Axis I diagnoses in patients who have undergone bariatric surgery, and to test the hypothesis that greater weight loss is associated with a higher incidence of AUD following surgery.

METHODS: Individuals who underwent bariatric surgery between 2004 and 2007 were recruited for inclusion in the study. The diagnosis of current and lifetime AUD and other Axis I disorders was assessed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV.

RESULTS: A total of 51 individuals were included. The prevalence of lifetime and current AUD was 35.3% and 11.8%, respectively. No associations were found between weight loss following surgery and the development of an AUD or other Axis I diagnoses. Significantly more current AUD was reported in (1) individuals with a lifetime history of AUD compared to those without a lifetime AUD (p < 0.05), and (2) individuals undergoing Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) compared to those undergoing the laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) surgery (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Individuals undergoing bariatric surgery were found to have a lifetime prevalence of AUD comparable to the general population. Although weight loss was not associated with the development of an AUD following surgery, individuals with a lifetime history of AUD may be at increased risk for relapsing to alcohol use after surgery. All instances of current AUD were identified in individuals undergoing RYGB as opposed to LAGB.

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