Facing the prospect of weight loss surgery can be overwhelming, but ultimately fulfilling. At My Destination Weight Loss, we want you to feel confident in your decision to pursue the right course of action for your body and your health. This questions section can help you learn more about what to expect with bariatric surgery and the recovery process, giving you the tools you need to get started on the right track.
Where do I start?
You will start your weight loss journey during an appointment with your physician. Discuss your concerns about your weight, and express your interest in weight loss surgery. A seminar is available on-line for you to view.
What is the down time after surgery?
The down time after surgery will depend largely on the surgical option you choose. However, most procedures are laparoscopic and thus minimally invasive. Specifically:
- Lap Band Surgery – Normally an outpatient procedure (home the same day)
- Sleeve Gastrectomy – 23 hour admission
- Gastric Bypass Surgery – Normally 2 to 3 night stay in the hospital
Expect full recovery after three to five weeks.
How soon can I drive after surgery?
As a safety precaution, you will not be permitted to drive until you are fully finished with narcotic pain relievers. While this will vary on a case by case basis, medication use generally ends after about 24 hours.
Is the surgery painful?
During surgery, you will be placed under general anesthesia, and will not be able to feel any pain. There may be mild to moderate pain during the recovery process, but this will be regulated and managed through the use of prescription strength pain relievers.
Can I get pregnant after weight loss surgery?
Yes. However, most doctors suggest waiting one year to 18 months after surgery before attempting to get pregnant to avoid complications.
Will it be difficult to take my medications after surgery?
You should be able to take most medications after surgery, and should not have any complications in doing so. Initially, your doctor may suggest crushing pills or taking medications in a liquid form.
Will I feel hungry after the surgery?
This is one of the more common bariatric surgery questions. Immediately after surgery, you should not feel hunger. However, this sensation may return around one week after your procedure. It is important to continue to follow your doctor’s recommended diet.
What happens after i’ve lost all my weight? Will my body adjust?
Weight loss may happen quickly, or it may take time. Your body will adjust to a decreased stomach size and your appetite will be under control directly following your surgery, but you will need to follow your post-surgery diet indefinitely. Should you return to poor eating habits and a lack of exercise, you may put some or all of the weight you lost back on.
Will I have excess skin after surgery?
Depending on the amount of weight lost, many bariatric surgery patients do indeed experience excess skin after surgery. The amount, if any, will vary from patient to patient.
Will I lose my hair after surgery?
You may lose hair after bariatric surgery. This condition, known as telogen effluvium, means you are not eating enough protein. We suggest a high amount of protein in your diet. You can also take biotin (OTC vitamin) to reduce hair loss. The effects are not permanent.
How long will I be on a liquid diet?
In general, bariatric surgery patients should be on a full liquid diet for the first two weeks following surgery. After this point, a partial liquid diet must be maintained over the next one to two weeks.
Can I snack in between my meals?
No, you should not snack between meals. Common snacks are generally unhealthy and can add hundreds of calories to your day, ultimately slowing or stalling your weight loss.
Can I drink alcohol after surgery?
Yes, in moderation. After surgery, absorption in the stomach will be vastly different, leading to potential health issues with excessive alcohol consumption. Remember, alcohol has many calories so less alcohol will help with weight loss.
What vitamins will I need to take after surgery?
While suggestions will vary from patient to patient and doctor to doctor, most physicians will urge patients to take multivitamins, calcium, vitamin B12 and iron.
Will I meet with a nutritionist before surgery?
Yes, you will meet with a nutritionist before surgery. A nutritionist can help you analyze your diet and teach you how to eat before and after your surgery in order to see maximum results.
Is there an age limit to have weight loss surgery?
In general, bariatric surgery can be performed as early as the late teens with no upper age limit. We have done the procedure on 80 year old patients. Serious health risks can accompany this kind of surgery so every patient is reviewed on a case by case basis.
Does insurance cover bariatric surgery?
Yes, insurance does cover bariatric surgery in most cases. However, this is plan-dependent. Before getting started on the path to surgery, be sure to speak with your insurance provider to learn the specific features of your plan and the coverage limits you may face.
If my insurance does not cover a bariatric procedure, what are your self care prices?
In the event your insurance does not cover bariatric surgery OR you wish to bypass insurance requirements, the costs of self-pay procedures are as follows:
- Sleeve Gastrectomy – $9,999
- Lap-Band – $9,999
- Gastric Bypass – $9,999
- Orbera – $5,700
- Overstitch – $5,150
Note that these amounts cover everything the day of surgery including surgeons, anesthesia, hospital charges (labs/x-rays), and overnight stay if necessary.
If you have additional bariatric surgery questions you can register for the online seminar or contact us by phone at 256.840.5547 (Albertville) or 256.571.8734 (Guntersville).