Big Weight Loss After Surgery

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Mike From Michigan

Active member
Mar 15, 2004
Shelby Twp. Michigan
I'm sure this topic comes up a lot, but I've lost about 17 pounds (about 9% of total body weight) since surgery, 15 of which has been since discharge 10 days ago. Since I've discontinued the diuretic 2 days ago the weight loss has leveled off. I've been eating very well, even being forced to eat a lot of high cal. meals (that I used to loathe) , but no weight re-gain as of yet. I used to work a lot with weight training pre-surgery, but now I'm looking very frail :( ... I haven't been this light in over 20 years and I've always been on the thin side...

Can anyone shed some light on this? I'm sure the weight will return but when? I'm getting sick of pancakes, milk shakes, etc. Thanks...
Dick lost about 12 pounds after arriving home - water loss and loss of appetite. It is now six months later and he has gained it all back. It comes back quickly - too quickly!
Before surgery, I lost quite a few pounds as they got the fluid off through lasix and a needle in the back; that left me with a tremendous appetite for the few days before surgery (I ate seven trays of food one day).

During surgery, they pumped me back full of fluids, so that I gained something like twenty pounds over surgery.

In the next couple of weeks, all that fluid disappeared, and my appetite returned with a vengeance even before I left the hospital.

All of which I understand to mean that weight gain or loss this close to surgery is most likely connected to fluid. I've been on the high side of my desired weight for a couple of years now.

But if you are really tired of pancakes and milkshakes, there are other guaranteed weight gain aids. My personal favorites are bacon and sweet rolls. My kids gave me a grilling book for father's day, which seems to be a kind of "fat-added" book. It suggests stuffing a pat of butter inside a hamburger before grilling (no improvement); wrapping bacon around the hamburger works wonders. The book also suggests wrapping bacon around filet mignon, which I haven't tried yet...

Stress has always taken any excess weight I might have had away. There is certainly plenty of stress connected with the surgery. I'm glad you're through and on the other side, and concerned about the much smaller problems of what to eat.
Enjoy the weight loss. Don't let it worry you. I think you'll find that if you were skinny before you had surgery you'll revert to type a few months afterward; and if (like me) you were fighting the battle of the bulge before surgery it will also resume a few months out. You use a lot of calories while healing for a few weeks (like most surgeries); and just about the time you think this is cool - I can eat a bunch - your metabolism normalizes.
A long while ago, someone posted that their doctor told them that the body consumes 5000 calories per day during the healing process after a trauma like major surgery. That's quite a few calories. Also many people have accumulated a lot of fluid prior to surgery because their hearts are not pumping as well as a normal person's would. They may or may not recognize this at the time. Then after surgery, with diuretics that most get, the weight comes off.

Then there is the issue of diminished appetite which is the norm for a couple of weeks.

If you are on Coumadin, please be extremely careful with any nutritional supplements you might be tempted to take. Read each label very, very carefully for Vitamin K. Ensure and Boost are some of the ones with a large amount of Vitamin K, but others have it as well. A lot of doctors and other medical personnel don't know this, even the hospital dieticians, who ought to know. Power bars like Luna bars are also terrible with the amount of Vitamin K they contain. And V-8 juice has a good amount of it, even though it might not be shown on the label.

The additional Vitamin K that these contain can throw your INR off. Not a good idea at a time when most folks are trying to get that regulated.

Eat high calorie foods that are good for you, and everything will eventually return to normal.

Your body has taken a BIG hit. But it will recover.
Weight Loss

Weight Loss


I lost 10 lbs before my surgery (while getting ready for the Big Sur marathon - which I never got to do because of an emergency OHS), 8lbs after surgery and a further 8-10lbs due to a stomach flu 3 weeks after surgery. I'm 6ft and was 170lbs so you can imagine what I looked like after all that.

To put some weight back on, I got on Ensure Plus (2-3 cans) on top of the 3 to 4 healthy meals each day. And it has worked well - HOWEVER - IMPORTANT - Ensure Plus in Canada DOES NOT CONTAIN VITAMIN K UNLIKE IN THE US!!!

So if you can't take Ensure, try Ovaltine or something without vitamin K.

Of course I'm assuming you are on warfarin!