This Is What Actually Happens When You Get Your Stomach Stapled

While many people are able to lose weight without much effort, some people just can’t do it, no matter how hard they try. Excessive weight gain and multiple weight loss attempts can qualify you for weight loss surgery, especially if your long-term health depends on it.

Stomach “restriction” is a specific type of weight loss surgery that limits the amount of food your stomach can hold at one time. Here’s what really happens to people who qualify for and undergo this type of procedure.

Your stomach can only hold an ounce of food at one time


Sometimes, surgery is necessary for weight loss. |  Mahmoud Moud Zayyat/AFP/Getty Images

Many people who are overweight or obese cannot register the feeling of satiety or “fullness” their hormones are supposed to regulate. This often means they often eat past the point of feeling full, one of many possible contributors to excessive weight gain.

Reducing the size of a person’s stomach makes them feel full more quickly, because their stomachs can only hold a very small amount of food at once.

Next: How much can you actually eat after weight loss surgery?

You can only eat three-quarters of a cup of food in one sitting

North Korea lifestyle restaurant

Your appetite won’t be what it used to be. | Ed Jones/Getty Images

When doctors reduce the size of your stomach, you physically can’t eat more than that smaller stomach can hold. You couldn’t even if you wanted to. Some can eat up to a cup of food in one sitting, but that’s it. Some can tolerate only about three-quarters of a cup.

What happens if you try to eat more than that? Nausea and vomiting, usually. The procedure physically restricts you from overeating, forcing you to eat less and ultimately lose weight.

Next: Some people see improvements in this key health metric.

Your blood pressure will improve

Doctor's Hand Checking Blood Pressure

Lower blood pressure is a huge benefit to weight loss surgery. |

High blood pressure is just one of the many side effects of excessive weight gain over time. People living with obesity are much more likely to have this problem, which is why weight loss surgery can turn out to be beneficial in more ways than one.

People who live with high blood pressure before weight loss surgery often see their blood pressure readings drop — in a good way — after it’s over.

Next: For some, weight loss surgery is actually a miracle.

Your blood sugar also goes down

Man checking blood sugar level

Diabetes can be a thing of the past for some patients. |

Is it possible for people with diabetes to go into “remission” the way some people with cancer do? In some cases, it is. While weight loss surgery does have a major impact on a person’s BMI, it can also have a positive impact on their body’s ability to regulate blood sugar.

Some people go into surgery with type 2 diabetes, and because of that surgery, get rid of it completely. It doesn’t always happen, but it’s a major metabolic miracle for many.

Next: Your heart might really benefit from it, too.

Your risk of heart disease decreases

Stethoscope sitting on an red ECG printout

Your heart will have to work a lot less. |

Many also benefit from the surgery’s benefits to heart health. This procedure takes a lot of pressure off your heart, which has probably been working a lot harder than necessary to get oxygen-rich blood to the places your body needs it most.

It doesn’t necessarily guarantee you won’t ever have a heart attack or related problems. You’re just less likely to experience heart trouble if you haven’t already.

Next: You really have to watch what you eat.

You can become malnourished if you aren’t careful

Malnourishment could land you in serious mediacal trouble. | iStock/Getty Images

There are many people who take dietary supplements even though they don’t really need to. Weight loss surgery patients often have to take a collection of supplements whether they want to or not, to avoid becoming malnourished.

Because you have to be so careful about what you eat after the procedure, there’s always the risk of not getting enough nutrients, though not everyone has this problem.

Next: You’ll meet your goals, if you follow the rules.

And yes … you will lose weight

young healthy girl on home scales

You will lose weight, but you have to work to keep it off. | ensuria

The procedure does maintain its most upfront promise: weight loss. At least, it does for those who use it correctly. A shrunken stomach, believe it or not, doesn’t necessarily make you healthier on its own. Every patient has to follow a strict set of guidelines to lose weight safely — and keep it off.

Over time, people who do not follow the specific diet and other lifestyle recommendations might find themselves worse off than they were before the procedure.

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