To assist our patients in becoming well informed about our bariatric surgery procedures, we have provided answers for a number of commonly asked questions. For more information about our weight loss programs and our experienced bariatric surgeons, or to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.
- Weight Loss Surgery FAQs
- Benefits of Bariatric Surgery FAQs
- Bariatric Surgery Cost and Insurance Coverage FAQs
- Bariatric Surgery Risks and Complications FAQs
- After Weight Loss Surgery FAQs
Weight Loss Surgery
How does bariatric surgery work?
Weight loss surgical procedures are classified as restrictive, malabsorptive, or a combination (both restrictive and malabsorptive). Restrictive procedures are designed to make the stomach smaller and limit the amount of food patients can eat. Some examples of restrictive procedures include gastric sleeve and adjustable gastric banding surgery. Malabsorptive procedures, on the other hand, involve the removal of a portion of the small intestine. As a result, the body will absorb fewer calories. Surgeons rarely perform this method alone. Combination approaches, including the gastric bypass, both shrink the stomach and reroute the small intestine so the patient eats less and absorbs fewer calories.
Who is a candidate for obesity surgery?
Bariatric surgery may be the right choice for obese or morbidly obese people who have attempted traditional weight loss methods but have not succeeded. To determine if you qualify for bariatric surgery, you should schedule a consultation with one of our skilled physicians or register for a seminar. Some indicators our surgeons will look for include:
- 18 years of age or older
- Being approximately 100 pounds overweight or having a body mass index (BMI) at or above 40, or
- Having a BMI over 35 and experiencing one or more weight-related illnesses, such as Type 2 Diabetes
How long will it take to recover after bariatric surgery?
Every patient’s needs are unique, and the healing process will be different for each person. Depending on the type of procedure and your current health, recovery can vary from about one to six weeks. Our skilled surgeons utilize laparoscopic techniques, which are designed to be as minimally invasive as possible. This method can also help to reduce your level of discomfort, the length of your hospital visit, and the extent of your downtime.
Benefits of Bariatric Surgery
How much weight will I lose with gastric bypass surgery?
With gastric bypass surgery you can typically expect to lose a substantial amount of excess body weight, often up to 60 to 80 percent in the first couple of years following the procedure. The most significant amount of weight usually will be lost within the first six months. You can help to extend the benefits of gastric bypass surgery–in some cases up to 10 years–by being dedicated to a healthy diet plan and fitness regimen.
How much weight will I lose with adjustable gastric banding surgery?
Weight loss with LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Banding is usually more gradual than with gastric bypass surgery. Typically, up to 50 percent of excess body weight will be lost in the first three years after the operation. In the long run, however, you may be able to achieve weight loss comparable to gastric bypass. Additionally, with proper nutrition, a commitment to exercise, and continuous adjustments to the band, many patients who utilize the LAP-BAND® System demonstrate weight loss up to 10 years after the procedure.
How much weight will I lose with gastric sleeve surgery?
Gastric sleeve surgery as a standalone procedure is relatively new. As such, the long-term weight loss results are unknown. In our experience, patients who receive gastric sleeve surgery typically lose between 40 to 60 percent of their excess body weight.
Bariatric Surgery Cost and Insurance Coverage
Will my insurance cover weight loss surgery?
Many insurance plans cover the cost of weight loss surgery, although some policies explicitly exclude these procedures. Your health plan may cover the entire cost of the surgery, or you may be responsible for a portion of the cost. Your insurance provider or employer should be able to tell you if bariatric surgery is a covered benefit. In some instances, to qualify for coverage insurance companies require individuals to document previous attempts at weight loss, any health conditions related to excess weight, and current medications to manage weight-related illnesses before they will offer approval. Our weight loss specialists will be happy to assist you in working with your health insurance provider. They will also help you complete a free insurance verification.
What if I am denied coverage?
If your health care provider denies you or if weight loss surgery is not an included benefit of your policy, you still have options. You may appeal the decision. Our weight loss specialists will be happy to help you with this process if necessary. You may also choose to pay for the surgery out of pocket. Several reputable lending institutions exist that specialize in health care financing. Many weight loss clinics, bariatric surgeons, plastic surgeons, and even dentists have been using these companies for years to provide their patients with affordable treatment options. Individuals who qualify are typically given reasonable rates and convenient payment plans.
Bariatric Surgery Risks and Complications
What are the risks and complications of gastric bypass surgery?
As with any other surgical procedure, gastric bypass surgery presents some potential risks and complications. Your surgeon will discuss all of these with you before the operation. Although rare, gastric bypass surgery complications may include:
- Strictures (narrowing of a bodily passage due to scar tissue)
- Dumping syndrome (excessive vomiting and diarrhea, leading to weakness, dizziness, and palpitations)
- Anemia (iron deficiency)
- Suture leaks
What are the risks and complications of adjustable gastric banding surgery?
Adjustable gastric banding, such as the LAP-BAND® System, is considered to be one of the safest bariatric procedures available. However, you should be aware of the possible complications that could occur. Your surgeon will explain all of the risks prior to surgery, including:
- Stoma obstruction (when the outlet of the stomach band becomes blocked)
- Erosion or slippage of the band
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Gastroesophageal reflux
What are the risks and complications of gastric sleeve surgery?
As with all surgical procedures, gastric sleeve surgery carries some risk of complications. Our experienced surgeons will outline all of the potential risks before the operation. Although infrequent, the most common gastric sleeve side effects include:
- Sleeve leakage
- Allergic reaction
- Gastric sleeve blockage
After Weight Loss Surgery
How long will I be in the hospital after weight loss surgery?
The length of time spent in the hospital after weight loss surgery will depend on the type of procedure you have and the condition of your overall health. We utilize the most advanced laparoscopic techniques available to help minimize your hospital stay and promote a quicker recovery. In most cases, hospital stays range from a 24-hour observation period to approximately three days.
What can I eat after weight loss surgery?
In the first few weeks following your procedure you will be asked to follow a specific diet to help your stomach heal. Prior to the surgery, your surgeon will provide specific care and feeding instructions so that you have time to prepare. It is important for you to follow his or her advice to assist the healing process and help to avoid complications. Most post weight loss surgery diets involve a steady progression from liquid to solid foods over a three to five week period. Once you have fully healed, you can begin eating normal foods, taking precaution to avoid “problem” foods, such as sweets in the case of gastric bypass and foods that may block the stoma in the case of gastric banding surgery. You will also need to adopt a healthy and nutritious diet to further promote weight loss.
If you have additional questions about weight loss surgery, or if you wish to schedule an appointment, please contact our office today.