Do I have to change my lifestyle?
Are there any ways to lose weight other than surgery?
Is weight loss surgery dangerous?
How common is it to regain significant amounts of weight in the years following weight loss surgery?
How can I afford to get the operation done?
What operation is best for me?
How many adjustments are necessary before I start losing weight?
How are the adjustments performed?
When do I know that I need an adjustment?
How much weight can I be expected to lose with the band?
What are some of the potential complications with the band?
What does the name of the operation mean?
Will I be able to eat normally after surgery?
What is "dumping"?
How much weight can I expect to lose?
Before & After Surgery
Will I have a lot of tubes and hoses in me after surgery?
No. With the new techniques we utilize, 98% of people have no tubes or hoses in any body parts when they come out of surgery (other than an IV).
How long will I need to be off work, and when can I return to normal activity after the operation?
Immediately. If we complete your operation laparoscopically (with the small holes), which we do approximately 99% of the time, we require no physical activity restrictions whatsoever. You can do whatever you want..other than eat. (We have a very strict food program for the first two weeks.) Complications may occur, but the only way the operation can be injured is by eating or drinking too much at one time. The operations are not magic; there still may be some discomfort. However, compared to a regular open (old fashion incision) operation, the discomfort is minimal.
Will I lose my hair after weight loss surgery?
Potentially. People may lose their hair when they experience rapid weight loss. However, the hair always returns once weight loss levels off. No vitamins, protein, free fatty acids, or other concoctions help keep your hair from thinning. Once your weight levels off for several months, your hair will grow back.
Will I have loose skin after the operation?
Potentially. The elasticity of the skin is genetically programmed. If you stretch your skin past that predetermined limit of elasticity, it will not snap back. It is not a function of losing weight slower or faster. It is not a function of exercising more or less. We want you to exercise, and we want you to lose weight as fast as possible. These factors have nothing to do with the amount of excess skin you may have. In fact, even rubbing lotions or other concoctions on your skin will make no difference.
We have identified plastic surgeons who are very interested in helping people with loose skin, and we can send you to these surgeons to help your situation. We are not concerned about the fact that you may have excess skin or not when you are thinking about having the operation. In the future, we are happy to help you feel comfortable in a bikini or a Speedo if that is your goal from a cosmetic standpoint. However, our goal first and foremost is to improve your health and increase your longevity and the quality of your life.
After a Roux en Y Gastric Bypass, does the remaining stomach shrivel up and die or just lose its blood supply?
No. Actually, the stomach has a very redundant blood supply (this allows us to do radical operations on it with impunity). The stomach shrinks to some degree, but if recruited back into use, it would function normally.
What is the youngest age for which weight loss surgery is recommended?
Generally accepted guidelines from the American Society for Bariatric Surgery and the National Institutes of Health indicate surgery only for those 18 years of age and older. Surgery has been performed on patients 16 and younger. There is a genuine concern that young patients may not have reached full developmental or emotional maturity to make this type of decision. It is important that young weight loss surgery patients have a full understanding of the lifelong commitment to the altered eating and lifestyle behaviors necessary for success.
Can weight loss surgery prolong my life?
Yes. Three landmark articles published in the last three years show between 25% to 89% survival advantage (25-89% less deaths) for those undergoing operation versus those who are treated without weight loss surgery. The bulk of the reductions are from two main areas: cardiovascular events (heart attacks, heart failure, strokes) and cancer deaths. In one study, diabetics enjoyed a 92% survival advantage over an eight year period.
Can weight loss surgery help other physical conditions?
Yes. According to current research, weight loss surgery can improve or resolve associated health conditions. Below is a partial list of disease that can be cured or greatly improved by losing weight. Type II Diabetes Mellitus, Hypertension, Hypercholesterolemia, Elevated triglycerides, Metabolic Syndrome, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Stress Urinary Incontinence, Infertility, NASH (fattly liver dz), GERD (reflux), Osteoarthritis - back, hips, knees, feet, Leg Swelling, Pseudotumor Cerebri, decrease risk of many cancers, decrease death from these cancers: breast, uterine, prostate, colon, stomach, esophagus, kidney, some lung cancers
Will I be asked to stop smoking?
Yes. Smoking increases the risk of lung problems after surgery, can reduce healing, increases the rates of infection, and interferes with blood supply to the healing tissues. This can result in immediate (life threatening) complications as well as long term (ulcers and strictures) complications.
What if I have had a previous weight loss surgical procedure and I'm now having problems?
Ideally, your original surgeon is the best resource, he or she would be the most intimately familiar with your operation and course. If your original surgeon is not available or you are seeking a second opinion, we will be happy to see you in our office.
What can I do to help the process?
Attend the seminar first. Several things are important before your first visit. Completely fill out your paperwork before you attend the first appointment and if you have insurance, obtain a copy of your plan from your HR department and bring it with you. These two things will help expedite your first visit. After that, communicate regularly with your patient advocate regarding your track to surgery. Your patient advocate can recommend resources that will aid you in submitting a successful request.
Why does it take so long to get insurance approval?
Bariatric surgery, unlike any other medical care, undergoes intense scrutiny at each level of the whole approval process. Each major insurance company may have many different plans. Each employer may choose a different plan - some of those plans may have a bariatric benefit, some may not. If the plan has a bariatric surgery benefit, each insurance company may have a different criteria requirement to approve the operation. Some of these criteria may be historical (5 years of documented morbid obesity, for instance) and some may be proactive (must complete a 6 month program of diet, exercise and behavior modification, for instance). Because of the complex intricacies of each plans' criteria, we employ "patient advocates" - they help you navigate the tortuous voyage through the approval process.
How can they deny insurance payment for a life-threatening disease?
Remember that your insurance company is not your health plan. Their marketing may have suggested so, but in most states (all but 7 at this time) insurance companies may categorically exclude certain treatments or operations (like bariatric operations). They may exclude coverage despite the extent of your disease. Philosophically, they get away with this, because of society's prejudice against obesity and obese patients. Discrimination is the real answer to this question - but a well accepted discrimination. Please feel free to write to your congressmen, employers, city leadership etc regarding the inequities.