Weight Loss Surgery FAQs

Is bariatric surgery the right choice for me?

If you are someone who has tried multiple diets and has tried to lose weight over and over again without success, then bariatric surgery is something you should take into consideration as an option.

How do I know if I am eligible for weight loss surgery?

You will need to check your insurance benefits first and foremost. Ask if you have the "bariatric surgery benefit."

How am I able to lose weight from surgery?

After surgery, food travels down the esophagus and enters your new pouch. Depending on what surgery you may have, weight loss is determined by decreasing portion size and how well the body absorbs calories/nutrients. Adherence to a food plan, exercise, and support after surgery will promote success. 

How many days in the hospital and how much down time from work is necessary?

Most patients require 1-3 days in the hospital. Many patients return to work in approximately 2 weeks. Heavy lifting and taxing physical activity is discouraged for up to 4 weeks. 

How bad is the pain after surgery?

Pending your pain tolerance, this is individualized.  We do everything in our power to treat pain via all avenues. We use the multi-modal pain management intervention model that utilizes different types of medications to decrease pain in different ways. 

Will I be sick a lot after the operation?

During the healing process you may have occasional episodes of nausea with retching and or vomiting. This is usually associated with the surgical procedure itself and will gradually subside. Once you begin to introduce soft foods back into your eating plan, you may have an occasional episode where a particular food does not digest well and may make you sick. Patients that overeat and overfill their pouch experience stomach/chest pain & pressure, and often vomiting. Frequent episodes of nausea and vomiting are a red flag that you may not be following the rules. In this case, notify the nurse or dietitian to discuss.

Will I be able to maintain my goal weight for many years or for the rest of my life?

Yes. Many patients lose up to 50-75% of their excess weight 3 years after surgery. It is important to stay connected with your bariatric support team for long term support. Remember, medically complicated obesity is a chronic disease process and you must maintain good healthcare practices, following doctor’s guidelines for the rest of your life.

When can I start exercising again after surgery?

Depends on the type of exercise. You should begin walking while still in the hospital, unless instructed otherwise. As you heal, begin to increase your exercise time and intensity. Your surgeon will allow you to increase your activity based on your progress. After surgery, exercises such as weights, sit-ups, pull-ups, or any abdominal straining should wait until you get the go-ahead from your doctor.

What will my new weight be?

Weight loss is not necessarily the goal...body fat loss is the goal!  Our program focuses on body composition for overall health. So each individual going through the program has the opportunity to have their body composition analyzed by our "InBody" machine.  This will calculate the amount of body fat that is realistic and attainable if a patient chooses the lifestyle interventions to meet their specific goal.

Do most patients need to have plastic surgery after weight loss?

Not necessarily, this is very individualized based on patient preference and/or potential skin rash complications.

Will I lose hair after bariatric surgery?

Some hair loss is common between 3 and 6 months following surgery.  Even if you take all recommended supplements, hair loss will be noticed until the follicles come back. Hair loss is almost always temporary. Adequate intake of protein, vitamins and minerals will help to ensure hair re-growth and avoid longer term thinning.

Do I need to take vitamins and minerals after surgery?

YES, you will need to take a bariatric specific vitamin the rest of your life post-operative to prevent acute and chronic vitamin deficiencies

Will I have to diet after the surgery for the rest of my life?

Not necessarily diet, but you will be expected to make permanent lifestyle changes in your dietary intake and physical activity regimen.  These expected lifestyle changes will prevent acute and chronic post- operative bariatric surgery complications and re-hospitalizations. 

Are there certain foods that I can’t eat ever again?

In the end each individual going through this process has "choices". We tell patients "you do what you need to do to be where you want to be.” It is essential for long term safety that every post-op patient needs to eat at least 60-90 Grams of protein daily and eat foods in this order: protein first, vegetables second, fruits third. Additionally, just know that not everyone will tolerate all foods the same they did pre-operatively.

Will I ever be able to eat sweets again?

Some patients have a severe reaction to sweets caused by the high sugar content. Other patients are able to tolerate without difficulty. The important thing to focus on is that you will limit sweets as they are not in the protein family and add empty calories. Often, sweets are a trigger food for many. Once you have a sweet treat it triggers the craving to have more. This can sabotage your meal plan and weight loss.