Bariatric Surgery & Weight Center: FAQs

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Bariatric Surgery


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Frequently asked questions

There's a lot to take into consideration when researching whether bariatric surgery is right for you. Here are some frequently asked questions to get you started.

What is BMI?

Body Mass Index (BMI) uses your height and weight to assess your health. If your BMI is 40 or more, you are considered to be morbidly obese, which may make you a candidate for bariatric surgery. If you have a BMI of 30 to 39 accompanied by serious, obesity-related health problems, you also may be a candidate for surgery or manage your weight through medication.

Medical weight management questions

Can I use medication to help with my weight loss?

Medications are used in some cases to help control hunger, provide a feeling of fullness, or improve cravings for certain foods. These medications may help address some of the underlying problems that can lead to obesity. For some patients, medications are not appropriate. We will help assess if medications are right for you.

If I use medications for weight loss, how long should I expect to take them?

Anti-obesity medications are a chronic treatment for a chronic disease. For many patients, when they stop taking weight loss medications, they regain weight. This is because the medications trick the brain into thinking a lower body weight is appropriate. If the medication is stopped, the brain thinks the higher body weight is correct and thus, weight regain often happens.

How much weight can I expect to lose?

This varies by individual. We do not set expectations for weight loss because our focus is on improving your health. Weight loss is one way to improve health, but there are many more ways which are independent of the number on the scale. We work to set goals that are individual to you.

Bariatric surgery questions

How will I be able to control what I eat after surgery?

After surgery, eating high-fat, high-sugar foods or eating too much may cause uncomfortable reactions such as vomiting or dumping syndrome. These reactions make it much easier to avoid junk food.

Many people say their tastes change after surgery, and they no longer want unhealthy foods. You may notice that foods you used to love won’t appeal to you anymore. Additionally, you may develop tastes for new and different foods. After surgery, you no longer will be able to depend on food for comfort. For some people, it can be difficult to fill the void that used to be filled by food.

How will bariatric surgery affect my family?

Better health can improve your quality of life. It can help you become a better partner, sister, brother, mother or father. In addition to having a longer life, you can be more involved in the lives that mean the most to you. Being healthy and active allows you to participate in more family activities and keep up with loved ones.

How long does the surgery take?

Sleeve or bypass surgery usually takes two hours.

How long will I be in the hospital?

If you have sleeve or gastric bypass surgery, expect to be in the hospital for one to two nights.

Will insurance cover my surgery?

Most types of insurance cover bariatric surgery, but some policies have exclusions. Contact your insurance company for details.

Can I get pregnant and have children after the surgery?

Yes, if you don’t have other fertility problems. Women should wait at least 18 months after the surgery to get pregnant, until their weight becomes stable.

How long does it take to recover from surgery?

If you have sleeve or gastric bypass surgery, you should be able to return to work in two to four weeks after surgery, depending on the physical demands of your job.

When I lose weight, what will happen to the extra skin?

This is different for everyone. For some people, the skin will tone up and look fine. In other cases, the skin has stretched too much to return to normal. You may be left with sagging skin around your middle or other parts of your body. Some people choose to live with the excess skin, others have it removed. The procedures usually are considered cosmetic and may not be covered by insurance. If excess skin is causing medical problems (such as rashes or sores), your insurance plan may cover the surgery.

How soon will I start losing weight?

You will begin losing weight immediately after surgery. But, don’t be surprised if you actually weigh a few pounds more when you go home than you did when you entered the hospital. This can be a result of all the fluids you were given in the hospital, and the weight will be lost quickly.