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Important Information for Bariatric Patients re Alcohol

As part of our pre-operative advice we do talk about alcohol intake and bariatric surgery.

A recent study from the U.S.A. looked at the effects of drinking alcohol after gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy and compared them to patients who were yet to have bariatric surgery. The study looked at 28 women, 11 had a sleeve gastrectomy approximately 2 years prior to testing, 8 had a gastric bypass approximately 2 years prior to testing and the remaining 9 were scheduled for surgery.

In the surgical groups, the sleeve gastrectomy group and the gastric bypass group, their blood alcohol concentrations increased faster and peaked approximately 2 times higher than the pre-surgical group. The surgical patients felt more drunk as a result. Interestingly, testing with a breathalyser under estimated blood alcohol levels by nearly one third. Obviously, this could have significant implications for bariatric patients who drink and then drive. If roadside testing showed a slightly elevated breath test, subsequent blood testing could find peak blood alcohol levels that were up to one third higher and this could result in a much more significant penalty.

So, to re-emphasise what we discuss prior to surgery, alcohol intake is easy calories and can result in transfer of addiction and have potential issues when it comes to drinking and driving.

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