Quick Answers About Bariatric Surgery
If you have a question about bariatric surgery, there’s a good chance that someone else has wondered the same thing. Here, you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions in regards to weight loss surgery.
If there are any questions that you feel have not been answered completely, or that have not been addressed, feel free to contact us. It is our goal that you have a full understanding of bariatric surgery, and we’re here to help.
Any adult who loses a significant amount of weight is likely to have some excess skin. This is because our skin lacks the elasticity, or stretch, needed to “bounce back” after we shed the pounds. Excess skin generally isn’t noticeable until about 50% of excess weight is lost, making it a cause for celebration!
Daily exercise is important, but it won’t “tone up” lose skin. The only solution is to have it surgically removed, typically 18-24 months after weight loss surgery.
The short answer is probably not. Body contouring is considered a cosmetic surgery and is generally not covered by commercial insurances. In cases of chronic or recurrent skin infections, the removal of excess skin is considered a “medical necessity,” and insurance may cover a portion of the procedure.
Some hair loss is common during the rapid weight loss period 3-6 months following surgery. This may be more noticeable for some than for others, but once weight loss slows, hair growth will return to normal.
Studies have shown that weight loss surgery can be beneficial for fertility, pregnancy and child birth.
You should avoid pregnancy for at least 18 months after weight loss surgery. During this time, your body will be going through rapid and significant changes. You are encouraged to discuss birth control and family planning with your healthcare team.
You should expect a 48 hour hospital stay and a minimum of 2-3 weeks off work. You may or may not have activity restrictions for the first several days to weeks following surgery.
The length of time between your first appointment to surgery can vary, and may take anywhere from 3-12 months.
This timeframe depends on how quickly you’re able to move through the pre-surgical requirements set forth by the program and, in some cases, your insurance provider. (Some insurance carriers require proof of a regimented medical weight loss plan before approving coverage for bariatric surgery. These supervised programs may need to be documented for up to year.)
Unfortunately, there is really no way around this requirement – but don’t get discouraged. Our team is here to support you.
That’s what our team is here for! We will guide you through the process, submit the necessary paperwork and help you meet the requirements set forth by your insurance company.
Please keep in mind, however, that insurance coverage and benefits depend completely upon the details laid out in each specific plan. If your coverage directly excludes bariatric surgery, there is not much we can do to convince them otherwise.
If coverage is declined, we’ll work with you to either set it right or find an alternative.
As with any medical procedure, there is a certain amount of risk involved with weight loss surgery, and this will be discussed with you at the time of your consult. The benefits of the procedure outweigh the risks: living with unaddressed obesity is likely more dangerous than undergoing surgery.
The mortality rate of bariatric surgery is extremely low, and is actually equal to the risk associated with more common procedures, like hysterectomies and gallbladder surgeries.
After weight loss surgery, your body will experience a significant decrease in the amount of calories it’s used to consuming, contributing to rapid weight loss. Then, after several months, your “new” stomach and intestinal tract will expand a bit, and your body will adjust to its “new normal.” This will allow you to eat slightly larger meals, absorb calories more efficiently and strike a balance that will stabilize weight loss.
It is extremely rare to see a patient lose too much weight. The real challenge will likely always be preventing weight regain, not stopping weight loss.
10-20% of weight loss surgery patients may experience significant weight regain. This is heartbreaking, and we will do whatever we can to keep it from happening. The honest truth, however, is that the biggest deciding factor in your success is not up to us: it’s up to you.
Commitment to a lifelong healthy diet and regular exercise routine are you biggest tools for avoiding weight regain.
Gastric bypass – yes
Sleeve gastrectomy – yes
Vitamin deficiencies may occur if you do not take the recommended supplements as instructed, but malnutrition is unlikely.
You can expect to take a multi-vitamin, a vitamin B12 supplement and a calcium supplement daily. In some cases, an iron supplement may be necessary. Protein malnutrition is rare, and only occurs in about 1% of patients.
Yes! Start slow, be persistent and never give up. The vast majority of people that lose tremendous amounts of weight – and keep it off long-term – exercise for up to one hour each day.
This may seem impossible right now, but 3-6 months after surgery, this goal will become a lot more achievable.
Absolutely not. Bariatric surgery is not a shortcut, it’s a tool. To be successful, you must be disciplined and committed to making healthy choices for the rest of your life. The new you is waiting – let us guide you.