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Bariatric Surgery FAQ

Important Information About Weight Loss Procedures

It’s important to be informed about bariatric surgery if you are considering it as a treatment for obesity. We welcome any questions related to weight loss surgery. You can use these answers to some frequently asked questions as a starting point when researching bariatric surgery.

Am I a good candidate for bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery is not for everyone. Medical professionals generally recommend it for patients who meet one or more of these criteria:

  • You have not been able to lose weight through diet and exercise • You have a body mass index (BMI) that is 40 or higher
  • You have a BMI that is 35 or higher and weight-related health condition, such as diabetes or heart disease
  • You have a BMI that is 30 or higher and a serious weight-related health condition (keep in mind that insurance companies do not cover bariatric surgery when the BMI is less than 35. Patients in this category have to pay out of pocket for their surgery).
  • You are mentally prepared to make significant changes in your lifestyle

Is weight loss surgery permanent?

Weight loss surgery should be considered a permanent change to your body. Weight regain is likely after reversing operations such as the adjustable gastric band and gastric bypass. The exception being temporary gastric balloons: the risk of regain is possible after the gastric balloon is removed. With the balloon procedure, patients with the greatest potential for success are those who begin with a lower amount of excess weight. Bariatric surgery is designed to decrease appetite and assist patients in making important lifestyle changes.

How much weight will I lose?

Many factors will contribute to the total weight loss. One way to calculate weight loss is by subtracting your ideal weight from your actual weight. This is the excess weight. The excess weight loss or EWL is the percent of EWL that has occurred since surgery. EWL is determined by the commitment to diet and exercise, the avoidance of poor eating behaviors, age, presence of medical problems such as diabetes, genetic factors and others.

On average the weight loss is as follows:

  • Adjustable Gastric Banding – 55% of excess weight
  • Gastric sleeve –65% of excess weight
  • Gastric bypass –75% of excess weight

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How is The Post-Surgery Diet?

You will need to follow a very strict diet for several weeks after your operation. Weight loss surgery puts a major strain on your stomach and it needs time to heal before you fully commit to a standard diet that you and a Registered Dietician have created.

The post-operative surgery diet:

The diet to follow after surgery consists in the first few weeks of slowly progressing from a liquid diet to a regular diet over the course of 6-8 weeks. This limits the strain on the stomach as it heals from surgery. It is important to maintain your nutrition during this time. The nutritional goals include maintenance of hydration, ingesting a minimum of protein and obtaining vitamin and mineral supplements. After the body heals and weight is lost, it is important to maintain a low calorie diet that satisfies all your nutritional requirements for long term weight maintenance. Charlton Bariatrics has a Registered Dietician on staff and will make sure you are fully aware of what to expect following your surgery. Please call us at (972) 709-7110 if you have any questions before or after your operation.

What kind of lifestyle changes will I need to make?

This depends on the surgery you undergo. Most patients can expect the following:

  • You can only eat small meals throughout the day.
  • It is important to place priority on protein intake.
  • You will have to carefully monitor your nutrition by having long term visits with your surgeon, especially if the operation you received affected your ability to digest food. • You will need to exercise regularly. Though it can be hard to get into the habit, exercise should be easier once you have shed some weight after your surgery.
  • You will need to address any poor eating behaviors that may have been present prior to surgery to ensure adequate maintenance of weight control.

How will this affect my appearance?

You can expect some physical changes as you lose weight. Most of these changes are positive. Many patients, however, are concerned about excess skin. This is likely if you lose more than 70 lb. What is important to keep in mind is that weight comes off faster than the skin’s ability to shrink. Thus, at one point, typically 9-12 months after surgery, the skin will be looser. After 12 months very little weight loss occurs but the skin keeps shrinking in many patients for up to 18 months after their surgery. An adequate exercise program and proper nutrition goes a long way towards increasing skin elasticity.

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Is it safe for me to get pregnant after bariatric surgery?

Yes, in fact, it should be safer for you to get pregnant after bariatric surgery so long as you have taken time to fully recover from the operation and adjust to the lifestyle changes. We typically recommend waiting 18 months after surgery before trying to get pregnant.

Do insurance providers cover bariatric surgery?

Most insurers cover weight loss surgery. That said, every provider is different and you will need to confirm coverage with your insurance representative or by providing our office with your insurance information. We will check to see if bariatric surgery is a covered benefit under your particular contract.

How long will it take to recover from bariatric surgery?

Most patients take from one to two weeks off of work after surgery. If you do heavy lifting (i.e. more than 40-50 lbs) you may need to wait longer or switch to a light duty capacity for 2-3 weeks.Back to top