Bariatric Options - FAQs

Bariatric Options - Free Seminar Bariatric Frequently Asked Questions

Is bariatric surgery considered cosmetic surgery?
Although patients feel much better about their appearance after weight loss, the purpose of surgery is to become healthier. Weight loss surgery may alleviate or help the patient avoid weight related diseases. From an insurance standpoint, the surgery is definitely not cosmetic.

How long is the hospital stay?
Anywhere from 23 hours with the Lap-Band to three days with the gastric bypass.

Does insurance cover the surgery?

Some insurance plans now understand the medical necessity of weight-loss surgery and will give approval. However, each insurance carrier has individual idiosyncrasies. Our staff will assist you with insurance details.

How Much Weight Will I lose with Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Most weight loss will occur during the first 12 to 18 months following surgery. During this time most Gastric Bypass patients will lose 50 to 70% of their excess body weight. Some patients may lose more than this. Around 20% of patients reach their ideal weight. Exercise and eating healthy foods is important for successful weight loss with the gastric bypass surgery. By following the dietary guidelines established for gastric bypass patients most people can get to within 30 - 40 lbs of their ideal body weight.

How Much Weight Will I Lose with Lap-Band?
The amount of weight you lose and the rate at which you lose it is dependent on a number of factors in addition to the LAP-BAND itself such as: your starting weight, your post-operative diet, the amount of exercise you do, etc. On average, however, our patients have lost about 50% of their excess weight within the first year of surgery. Most patients find they are losing between 5-10 pounds a month, depending on their individual diet and exercise regimens. In general, it is not safe to lose weight too quickly; a weight loss of 2 to 3 pounds a week in the first year after the operation is possible, but 1½ pounds a week is more likely. Remember that your primary goal is to have a weight loss that prevents, improves, and/or resolves health problems associated with severe obesity.

How Successful is Surgery in Controlling Obesity?
Studies show that there is significant long-term weight loss in over 80% of patients who actively participate in an after-care support program. These patients exercise regularly (at least four days per week); focus on eating healthy foods, limit snacking, and drink non-or low calorie liquids regularly.

What are the Risks Associated with Gastric Bypass Surgery?
All operations carry some risks, and this is particularly true for the morbidly obese patient. Obesity surgery is a relatively safe procedure in the hands of an experienced bariatric surgeon.

The mortality rate is about 0.5 - 1%. It is noteworthy that this is the same as the rate for ANY surgical procedure in the morbidly obese patient, suggesting that it is the underlying disease, rather than the procedure, which is the true culprit.

The risk of serious complications (heart attack, anastomotic leaks, pulmonary embolism, etc) occurs in 1% of patients. Wound infections and bowel obstructions occur in about 2% of patients, while hernias, ulcers, adhesions gallstones, vitamin deficiencies and other mild complications occur in somewhere between 10 and 20% of all patients.

What is "Dumping"?
Dumping is a process that occurs in many gastric bypass patients if they eat too much sugar or fat. It can cause nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, feelings of weakness, sweating and other symptoms. Dumping can help patients avoid overeating both sweets and foods with high fat content. Eating a diet high in Protein and low in fats and sugars can help control "Dumping".

Will I Be Able to Get Pregnant After Gastric Bypass Surgery?
It is best to avoid pregnancy for the first 12 to 18 months following gastric bypass surgery. Obesity can interfere with fertility, and weight loss can have a rebound effect. For this reason, it is imperative that an effective birth-control method be used during the rapid phase of weight loss.

Because overall health improves after gastric bypass surgery, patients who become pregnant after the maximum weight loss period stand a higher chance of having a healthy pregnancy. It is important to make sure your obstetrician is aware of your gastric bypass surgery so you can be properly monitored during pregnancy.

What are the Minimum and Maximum Ages for Gastric Bypass Surgery?
Most bariatric surgeons won't perform the surgery on anyone under 18 years of age. As long as a patient is physically able to withstand the operation there is no real upper age limit.

How long will it be before I can get back to work?
Each individual is different. Patients commonly take four weeks off from work, but some patients can go back sooner, especially if they are self-employed, or work at home. Patients who have physically demanding jobs may take longer to resume work.

Will I have pain after surgery?
Some pain after surgery is inevitable. We try, usually successfully; to keep pain to a minimum by using one of the modern pain treatment methods, such as patient controlled analgesia (PCA).

Are there any side effects?
Side effects vary and are difficult to predict prior to surgery. Some people report problems such as diarrhea, excessive gas, and vomiting. Most side effects can be minimized with changes in the diet. Malnutrition is rare with the current procedures although vitamin/mineral supplementation is essential. All patients are required to take specific supplements for life because the procedure creates changes in nutrient absorption and restricts volume intake.