Frequently Asked Questions
Many potential patients have questions and concerns that come up while researching bariatric surgery procedures such as LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Banding, gastric bypass, and gastric sleeve. Below are some of the most common questions that people have. Please review these questions and answers to learn more about these procedures. More detailed information on each type of surgery is available on the procedural pages on our website. If you have more questions, please feel free to contact us for information, or to schedule a consultation.
- What are the types of weight loss surgery?
- Do I qualify for surgery?
- How much weight will I lose after surgery?
- Will I regain weight after bariatric surgery?
- Which bariatric surgery is right for me?
- Will I have to go on a diet before my procedure?
- Will I have to lose weight prior to the procedure?
- Is bariatric surgery safe?
- Will I have to stay in the hospital for a long time?
- How long will I be out of work after the procedure?
- Is it true that insurance doesn’t cover bariatric surgery?
- Is financing available if my insurance does not cover surgery?
- Is bariatric surgery, a tummy tuck, or liposuction the best option for me?
- Does weight loss surgery work?
- Will I have to diet and exercise after the surgery?
- Can bariatric surgery improve my overall health?
- Will I be able to go off some medications after the procedure?
- Can I get pregnant after bariatric surgery?
Q: What are the types of weight loss surgery?
A: We perform three different types of bariatric surgeries. With the gastric band, a small adjustable band is placed around the top part of the stomach producing a feeling of fullness with smaller amounts of food. With the gastric sleeve, a portion of the stomach is removed leaving a smaller stomach which is about the size and shape of a banana. The gastric bypass creates a small gastric pouch and rearranges the intestines to “bypass” the majority of the stomach. While the gastric band works primarily by restriction, the gastric sleeve and the gastric bypass are metabolic procedures that change the levels of hormones that control hunger, metabolism, and the regulation of weight.
Q: Do I qualify for surgery?
A: This is based mainly on your BMI. If your BMI is over 40 you are a candidate. Additionally, if your BMI is over 35 and you have at least one illness which is associated with excess weight, you also qualify. Recent studies have demonstrated that patients with a BMI of 30 or above and at least one associated illness also benefit, although most insurances do not yet pay for this indication.
Q: How much weight will I lose after surgery?
A: The answer will depend on your unique needs, goals, and response to surgery. On average, patients with a gastric band lose around 40% of their excess weight. Patients who have a gastric sleeve or gastric bypass can expect to lose between 50% – 70% of their excess weight. The most important predictor of successful weight loss is regular, lifelong follow up with your surgeon after the procedure.
Q: Will I regain weight after bariatric surgery?
A: After surgery, you will be given post-surgery recommendations that can help you to maintain your size after the procedure has helped you to lose excess weight. If these recommendations are not followed, it is possible to regain the weight. Continuing to visit with your surgeon for long-term follow-up appointments is the most important thing you can do to avoid gaining the weight back.
Q: Which bariatric surgery is right for me?
A: Depending on your candidacy, you may qualify for a variety of procedures. In general, most people will do very well with a gastric sleeve. Patients with severe diabetes or GERD, or with a BMI over 50 may want to consider the gastric bypass. For more information on each type of surgery, please review the detailed information on the individual procedural pages on our website, or feel free to contact us with questions.
Q: Will I have to go on a diet before bariatric surgery?
A: Yes. As part of our preoperative program, you will meet with our dieticians and begin to make changes to your diet right away. Then, around two weeks prior to surgery, you will begin a high protein, low carbohydrate diet designed to shrink the size of your liver. A clear liquid diet will be necessary for 2 days prior to surgery.
Q: Do I have to lose weight prior to surgery?
A: No. Youe not required to lose weight prior to surgery, but most patients will find that they lose weight through diet and exercise as they progress through our preoperative program.
Q: Will I have to go on a diet before bariatric surgery?
A: Yes. Our skilled medical team will plan a pre-operative diet for you to follow to help you become comfortable with the basic nutrition plan you will need to maintain after your procedure. In most cases, this diet will begin about two-to-three weeks before your operation. In addition to easing you into a new lifestyle, this diet is designed to reduce fatty tissue in the abdomen and shrink the size of the liver to reduce the risk of surgical complications. While two-to-three weeks is standard, your insurance policy may dictate a longer physician-monitored program as part of the coverage requirement. This plan is designed more to be educational than a pre-operative technique, and we will discuss this situation if it applies to you.
Q: Is bariatric surgery safe?
A: Like any surgical procedure, there are risks involved with bariatric surgery. That being said, it is one of the safer abdominal surgeries performed today. The benefits of these procedures often outweigh any potential risks – bariatric surgery reduces the chance of death over five years by approximately 90%.
Q: Will I have to stay in the hospital for a long time?
A: We perform bariatric surgeries laparoscopically, which helps our patients to have a faster recovery and return to their daily routine sooner. Time spent in the hospital after your procedure will vary depending on the type of surgery and your individual situation. In most cases, however, a gastric banding procedure can be performed as a same-day surgery, gastric sleeve patients stay overnight, and gastric bypass patients stay for two nights. Most patients can return to work in about a week.
Q: How long will I be out of work after the procedure?
A: Everyone heals at a different rate, and we encourage you to take the time you need to fully recover. Many individuals return to normal activity, depending on their work-related responsibilities, in about one to two weeks. That said, you will not be able to strain or perform heavy lifting for four weeks, so if your daily routine is demanding or calls for strenuous movement, you may need to extend the healing period a bit longer. Dr. Parrish can help you determine when the appropriate time to return to your regular schedule will be.
Q: Is it true that insurance doesn’t cover bariatric surgery?
A: Many insurance companies have realized that people who have had bariatric surgery are healthier and have fewer medical problems and claims. Because of this, many of these companies now cover the procedures. For those who do not have coverage, financing is available. If you are unsure if you have coverage, you can use our free insurance check.
Q: Is bariatric surgery, a tummy tuck, or liposuction the best option for me?
A: If your BMI is over 30 and your main goal is weight loss and improved health, then bariatric surgery might be the right choice for you. However, if you are a normal weight and concerned about specific areas of fat that seem resistant to diet and exercise, liposuction may be a more appropriate choice. If you have excess skin on your stomach, or it appears “flabby,” a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is likely a better choice. Bariatric surgery is typically performed for individuals who suffer from morbid obesity, whereas liposuction and abdominoplasty are considered cosmetic procedures for patients who are often in reasonably good health. If you are unsure which option is best for you, please feel free to contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. James Parrish.
Q: Does weight loss surgery work?
A: Yes. Weight loss surgery has been shown to be the most effective treatment for severe and morbid obesity. It is also the most effective treatment for the illnesses which accompany obesity, such as diabetes. Individual results depend on your procedure, age, physiology, level of activity, and, most importantly, how often you follow up after the procedure. After weight loss surgery, patients typically have a permanent excess weight loss of around 55%. Patients who strictly follow the post operative recommendations will often lose more.
In contrast, when severely or morbidly obese people successfully lose weight with diet and exercise alone, they generally only lose about 10% of their excess body weight, and only about 5% of these individuals are able to keep the weight off in the long term.
Q: Will I have to diet and exercise after the surgery?
A: You will have to change your eating habits after the surgery, but it is not a “diet” per se. Many people associate diets with feeling hungry and unsatisfied, but that is not how most bariatric surgery patients feel after their procedure. We will provide detailed suggestions on the best types of foods to eat that provide balanced nutrition. There will still be room for occasional treats and tasty foods of a wide variety. Similarly, exercise does not have to be painful and intense to be effective. Modest exercise, including walking and recreational activity, should be incorporated into your routine to help you maintain your health. There is no specific exercise regimen or program that must be followed, and we can help you think of some fun and appealing options that will get you excited to move.
Q: Can bariatric surgery improve my overall health?
A: Overweight individuals often have other illnesses or diseases such as type II diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea. Depending on the type procedure, those with type II diabetes can see improvement over 90% of the time, and over 80% of the time the disease can go away completely. With this, risks of related heart disease, blindness, and amputation are also reduced. Obese patients who are able to lose weight after bariatric surgery are also able to reduce health risks related to a variety of other serious conditions, including cancer, hypertension, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, stroke, migraines, cirrhosis of the liver, arthritis, infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome, gallbladder disease, phlebitis, gout, and depression.
Q: Will I be able to go off some medications after the procedure?
A: It’s not unusual for patients to find that they need less medication or can cease taking certain medications entirely upon losing weight following bariatric surgery. Some examples include medications for high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, cholesterol, and diabetes. That said, you should speak with Dr. Parrish and your general practitioner before reducing or discontinuing any prescriptions.
Q: Can I get pregnant after bariatric surgery?
A: Yes. Many women find that they are very fertile after weight loss surgery, more so than before the procedure. We recommend waiting about 12-18 months after having a bariatric procedure before electing to become pregnant. Women who conceive after this period can expect fewer pregnancy related complications and heathier babies compared to women who have not had weight loss surgery.
To learn more about bariatric surgery options, please contact us today. We are always happy to provide you with any additional information you may need to make this important decision. We can also help you schedule a consultation with Dr. Parrish to further assist you in moving forward with your journey towards a happier, healthier lifestyle.