Bariatric Surgery FAQ’s
1. What do I need to qualify?
a. Your insurance company will have specific requirements per your plan, but you must have a Body Mass Index of 40 or greater or: if your Body Mass Index is 35-39.9 you must have a documented co-morbid condition such as Type II diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, etc.
b. You will need to show medical weight loss attempts for most insurance companies
2. What happens at the first visit?
a. You will see the surgeon for about 45 minutes, and he/she will take a complete history and discuss the best surgical option for you. You will receive prescriptions for the following testing:
i. Upper endoscopy – to make sure that there are no issues with your esophagus and stomach
ii. Abdominal ultrasound – to look at your organs, but to also measure the size of your liver
iii. Baseline blood work – to see where you are nutritionally
b. You will be asked to make appointments with the bariatric registered dietitian and clinical psychologist – these are visits that are required by your insurance company
c. You will be asked to have all of the testing done before your second visit to the surgeon’s office, so that the test results can be reviewed with you before your pre-op visit, which is one week before your surgery
3. How long will it take for me to have the surgery?
a. Basically, your insurance company will dictate how long it will take by how many required dietary visits they will require, and/ or any other testing or documentation
4. How long will I be out of work?
a. It depends on the type of surgery that you have and the kind of work that you do. In average, you may be out of work between 2 and 4 weeks
5. When can I start exercising again?
a. You can start right away by gentle walks. If you lift weights, or do sports, you should stay at a “low impact” for about the first month and slowly build into a routine. If you swim, your wounds should be 100% healed before you get back into the water.
6. When can I get pregnant?
a. Most women are much more fertile after surgery, therefore contraception is strongly recommended. Most physician groups recommend waiting approximately 18 months after surgery to become pregnant.
7. Will I lose my hair after bariatric surgery?
a. Some hair loss is common between 3 and 6 months after surgery. The reasons for this are not totally understood, even if you take all of your required vitamins and minerals. This hair loss is almost always temporary. Adequate amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals will help with re-growth and avoid long term thinning.
8. Is weight loss surgery for everyone?
a. The short answer is no. Surgery is not a solution for everyone. We only determine whether a patient is right for surgery after a complete evaluation and discussion with the patient. Because weight loss surgery is a life-altering procedure, we want to make sure our patients are committed to making the lifestyle changes needed for a successful procedure and life-long health maintenance
9. What will the staples do inside my abdomen? Is it okay in the future to have an MRI test? Will I set off metal detectors in airports?
a. The staples used on the stomach and the intestines are very tiny in comparison to the staples you will have in your skin or staples you use in the office. Each staple is a tiny piece of stainless steel or titanium so small it is hard to see other than as a tiny bright spot. Because the metals used (titanium or stainless steel) are inert in the body, most people are not allergic to staples and they usually do not cause any problems in the long run. The staple materials are also non-magnetic, which means that they will not be affected by MRI. The staples will not set off airport metal detectors.
10. Will I be able to take my medications?
a. Most patients have no difficulty swallowing their medication.