The duodenal switch operation is lengthy, often lasting three to four hours. Most people require about three to four weeks of recovery after surgery.
Part of the recovery process involves getting re-accustomed to eating solid foods. People who undergo the duodenal switch can consume only fluids immediately following surgery. From there, they will progress to pureed foods and ultimately solids.
Most weight loss occurs during the first 12 to 18 months after surgery. Based on patient averages, patients can expect to lose about 70 percent of their current weight and about 35 percent of their BMI.
The procedure may result in more nutritional deficiencies than other weight loss surgeries because of the malabsorption it causes. As a result, patients need to take nutritional supplements daily, including vitamin A, vitamin D and calcium, for the rest of their lives. Some doctors may also recommend additional supplements of potassium and iron. Lifelong nutritional follow-up is needed after duodenal switch.
Compliance with nutrition guidelines is critical, because failure to comply can lead to malnutrition and significantly unpleasant bowel changes.