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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Your Questions About Bariatric Surgery

Our team at BHS Bariatrics can answer your questions about bariatric surgery and whether or not you are a good candidate for weight loss surgery.

What do experts say to be the criteria for surgical weight loss?

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and other experts, doctors may suggest weight loss surgery if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • Have a body mass index, or BMI, of 40 or higher
  • Have a BMI of 35 or higher along with a serious medical condition linked to obesity; this includes problems such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and severe sleep apnea
  • Have a BMI of 30 or higher with at least one serious obesity-linked condition-people in this category are eligible only for a type of bariatric surgery called adjustable gastric band, however most insurances will not cover this
  • Have tried to lose weight using medical treatment without success
  • Are willing to keep in touch with a medical professional for many years for observation and follow-up
  • Understand the possible risks and complications of surgery, which may include infection, bowel obstruction and blood clots; other problems, such as gallstones or hernias, can develop later
  • Don't have a metabolic or hormonal condition that causes severe obesity

What bariatric procedures does BHS Bariatrics perform?

BHS Bariatrics performs the following procedures: laparoscopic gastric sleeve, and gastric bypass.

What is the success rate for weight loss surgery?

75-80% of patients achieve success over the long-term after undergoing a gastric restrictive surgical procedure, such as gastric sleeve.

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Does weight loss surgery guarantee permanent weight loss?

No. A small percentage of patients will regain a substantial portion of the weight that is lost. This occurs primarily when the patient does not follow the dietary guidelines in the months and years following the procedure.

How can I obtain the best results?

For best results, follow the advice of your surgeon, nurse, and nutritionist. We also encourage you to join our support group. Our support group will provide you with additional advice and motivation to fuel your long-term weight loss.

Our most successful patients-those who have lost the most weight and maintained their weight loss—are highly focused on life change. If you're willing to make some changes to your lifestyle and adopt some healthier habits, you can achieve amazing results.

What diet changes will I need to make after surgery?

The modifications made to your gastrointestinal tract will require permanent changes in your eating habits that must be adhered to for successful weight loss. Education will be provided by our registered dietitian regarding the requirements and changes you will need to be aware of.

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Can weight loss surgery be reversed?

The gastric sleeve procedure and gastric bypass procedure are irreversible.

How is laparoscopic bariatric surgery different from open surgery?

Both open and laparoscopic procedures follow the same principles, and both result in similar excess weight loss in patients.

Open bariatric surgery is performed through one incision that is made from just below the patient's breastbone to above the navel.

During laparoscopic surgery, small incisions are made to a patient's abdomen and the surgeon performs the operation with the aid of a small video camera that is attached to a laparoscope and inserted into one of the incisions. The surgeon views the video images taken from inside the body on a TV monitor, and performs the procedure accordingly. Gas is used to expand the abdomen during surgery.

Laparoscopic surgery generally takes less time to perform than open surgery and patient's recovery times are shorter than with open surgery.

How long does the surgery take?

The gastric sleeve and gastric bypass procedures take 2-3 hours.

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How long will I be in the hospital?

Laparoscopic gastric sleeve and gastric bypass 2-3 days. You will be discharged from the hospital only when your surgeon determines it is safe for you to return home. Discharge time may vary from patient to patient.

Will I need special care when I arrive home?

You should be able to function on your own after your discharge.

How soon can I drive after surgery?

You should not drive until you can move quickly and alertly and are no longer taking pain medications associated with your surgery.

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How soon can I go back to work?

We highly recommend that you do not return to work until you have completed your one week follow up visit with your surgeon. Additionally, you should not lift greater than 20 pounds for at least two weeks. Most people with "desk jobs" can start back to work, at least part-time, after one week. Keep in mind that you will be very tired for the first 2 to 3 weeks after surgery, so you may need up to 6 weeks before returning to work. This time off also allows you to get your food and water regimen down before you begin participating again in everyday activities. This is your "new beginning," so it is very important to feel comfortable with your routine before returning to work and other obligations.

Will I need to take nutritional supplements?

Yes. Following any bariatric surgery, we recommend that you take a daily multivitamin supplement containing the minerals necessary for good health. These should be taken for life. Additional supplements may also be recommended based on your surgical procedure.

Can I still go out to eat?

Absolutely. You'll want to order only a small amount of food and eat slowly. Try to finish at the same time as your table companions. You might want to let your waiter or waitress know that you cannot eat very much.

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How is the Lap-Band Adjusted?

The band is adjusted in a very simple and quick procedure right in our office during a regularly scheduled follow-up appointment. A special needle is used to access a port that is sutured into the inner abdominal wall and connected to your band by some thin tubing. Your port will be accessed with the special needle and will be injected with saline fluid to fill your band.

Can I get pregnant after surgery?

It is strongly advised that women of child-bearing age use the most effective forms of birth control during the first 16-24 months after weight-loss surgery. The added demands pregnancy places on your body and the potential for fetal damage make this a most important requirement.

What about excess skin? What happens to it?

Excess skin is a result of lost elasticity, which depends on many different factors. Exercise always helps to tighten and tone the skin, but genetics mostly determine its elasticity. People that have more weight to lose will naturally have more excess skin post weight loss.

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Will I need surgery to remove the excess skin? Do you do the surgery?

Not everyone requires surgery to remove excess skin-this is mostly a personal choice. However, the skin can cause rashes or make it difficult to do everyday activities. These problems should be shared with and documented by your physician, and if needed, you will be referred to a plastic surgeon that specializes in this type of surgery.

Why should I have my surgery at Butler Memorial Hospital?

Coupled with a highly-trained surgical team and backed by the state-of-the-art medical resources, Butler Health System is able to provide every patient with comprehensive bariatric services-from compassionate advice and counseling to several types of surgery options and thorough follow-up care. Our approach in providing consistent follow up and education throughout your weight loss journey fosters a comfortable and encouraging environment for you to achieve your weight loss success.

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