Frequently Asked Questions About Bariatric Surgery
Who is a candidate for Bariatric (Weight loss) surgery?
Are you more than 100 pounds over your ideal body weight? Is your Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 40? Do you have a BMI of greater than 35 combined with serious health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes? Have you struggled to maintain healthy body weight even with medically supervised dieting?
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, bariatric surgery may be an appropriate option for you. Bariatric surgery is available at Bayhealth for adults ages 18 to 60 whose BMI> 40, or for adults whose BMI is between 35 and 40 and who also suffer obesity-related medical complications such as diabetes, significant cardiovascular disease, or sleep apnea. The decision to undergo bariatric surgery should be made after all other weight loss attempts have been exhausted. This is a lifestyle change that requires life-long commitment.
How long do I have to wait until I can have surgery?
Once you decide to move forward with bariatric surgery, your pre-operative assessment may include a mental health evaluation; sleep study; pulmonary (lung) evaluation; cardiology (heart) evaluation; 3, 6, or 12 months of nutritional education/weight loss; upper gastrointestinal endoscopy; upper gastrointestinal series; primary care evaluation; and attendance at a pre-operative support group. Once all clearances have been obtained, authorization will be obtained from insurance provider.
Will my insurance cover the weight loss surgery?
Depending upon your insurance plan, there may be exclusions for weight loss treatments, including surgery. Other plans will have certain requirements before surgery is covered, such as a medically supervised diet history and/or psychological evaluation. Every plan’s requirements are different. You should call your insurance company to learn more. Obtain a printed copy of the insurance company’s requirements, and document all contacts you have with the insurance company.
How long will I have to stay in the hospital?
The laparoscopic Roux en Y and Sleeve Gastrectomy procedures often require a hospital stay of 1-2 days. Lap-Band patients may go home the same day.
When can I resume normal activities and/or return to work?
If the work you perform is sedentary, you can probably return to work in 2 weeks. If your work requires physical labor, you can probably return in 3-6 weeks. You should be able to return to normal activities in 1-2 weeks, compared with four to six weeks for traditional surgery.
Will I lose my hair?
You may experience hair loss or hair thinning in the 3-5 months following your surgery. However, this is usually a temporary condition.
How will my diet change after the surgery?
The amount of food you will be able to eat will change significantly. Immediately after surgery, food intake is limited to 1-2 fluid ounces per meal to allow the stomach to heal properly. You will be provided with clear instructions for your diet.
Will I need to take vitamins after surgery?
You will need to take vitamins for the rest of your life. Immediately after surgery you will begin taking a chewable multi-vitamin daily, as well as vitamin B-12 and calcium citrate.
What is the average weight loss I can expect after bariatric surgery?
Weight loss results vary with each individual.
How big will my stomach pouch be after the surgery?
The stomach pouch is designed to hold approximately one ounce. In the first few months, it is rather stiff due to natural surgical inflammation. Around 12-18 months after surgery, the stomach pouch expands a bit as the inflammation subsides. Most patients end up with a meal capacity of about 4-6 fluid ounces.
Will I have to change my medications? Will I be able to stop certain medications?
Many medications (for blood pressure, diabetes, etc.) may be stopped at some point after bariatric surgery. Most medications will continue to work effectively after surgery.