If you have a question that isn’t answered below, contact us. We’re happy to help.
Questions About Bariatric Surgery
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 RY gastric bypass or LAP-BAND (laparoscopic banding).
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 is occurs primarily when the patient does not follow the dietary guidelines in the months and years following the procedure.
Can weight loss surgery be reversed?
The LAP-BAND and gastric bypass procedures are both potentially reversible. Reversal requires an operation of the same magnitude and risk as the original procedure. Reversal of other bariatric operations, such as the gastric sleeve, is rare.
How long does the operation take?
Gastric banding (LAP-BAND) and sleeve gastrectomy can be performed in 1-2 hours while gastric bypass is generally performed in 2-3 hours.
What are the different types of weight loss surgery?
There are four main types of procedures:
1. Gastric Bypass Surgery separates the stomach into two unequal compartments with less than 5% of the stomach remaining usable for food consumption. During digestion, the food empties from this tiny stomach pouch into the upper intestine. Read More
2. Laparoscopic Banding is a procedure in which the stomach is encircled with an inflatable plastic band (such as the LAP-BAND® or REALIZE® Band), restricting food intake. Read More
3. Sleeve Gastrectomy (more commonly referred to as the Gastric Sleeve) is a procedure in which about 85% of the stomach is removed, leaving 15% of the original capacity which is shaped like a sleeve. Read More
4. Biliopancreatic Diversion creates a smaller stomach (similar to gastric bypass surgery), but in addition there is less absorption of ingested food inside the intestine. Read More
Which bariatric procedure is right for me?
This decision is typically made during the initial consultation between you and one of our bariatric surgeons. Many other surgeons perform only one type of procedure, limiting your options. But at NJ Bariatrics, we specialize in nearly all types of weight loss surgery.
What are the risks of weight loss surgery?
All abdominal operations carry these risks:
- Infection of the incision and abdomen
- Potential problems with the heart and/or lungs, including blood clots
- Obstruction (blockage) of the intestine caused by adhesions (scar tissue) or internal hernia
- Hernia through the incision or inside abdomen
- Rejection of suture material
- The risks associated with general anesthesia; anesthesia risks are not significantly greater in most morbidly obese patients than in normal weight patients
The risk of death associated with weight loss surgery is extremely low — less than 0.5%.
Must I be in good health to qualify for the surgery?
No. Many of our patients are in poor health because of diseases caused by their obesity. These diseases include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, lung problems, and kidney difficulties.
Will I need any preoperative tests?
To ensure the best possible outcome, we’ll administer specific blood tests, a chest x-ray, and an electrocardiogram (EKG). We’ll also test you for a bacteria that causes ulcers (known as H.pylori) and for gall stones. In some cases, we may also require a sleep study (for sleep apnea) or a psychological evaluation.
Are there different ways the surgery can be performed?
Yes. The preferred minimally invasive method is laparoscopy, in which the operation is performed through 4 to 6 very small incisions. There is also the traditional, open approach, in which a large incision is made.
What exactly is laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which a surgeon gains access to the abdominal cavity by way of 4 to 6 small incisions in the abdominal wall. An instrument called a laparoscope is used to give the surgeon an exceptionally clear view of the inside of the abdominal cavity. This surgical approach is considered “minimally invasive” because of the very small incisions used.
Nearly all of the operations performed by our bariatric surgeons are performed via laparoscopy.
How does the doctor decide which surgical approach to take?
Some surgeons only perform weight loss surgery using one approach (i.e., open or laparoscopically). Surgeons who perform both types of procedures usually prefer laparoscopic surgery, except in the heaviest of patients or those who require revisional surgery (second or third time operations).
Can you do corrective bariatric procedures?
Yes. Surgeons at the Center for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery at UMCP perform revisional bariatric surgery to correct previous surgical weight loss procedures. If you’re in need of corrective bariatric surgery, contact us.
Questions About Recovery
How long should I expect to be in the hospital?
Anywhere from two to four days, depending upon how you’re feeling post-surgery.
Will I need special care when I arrive home?
You should be able to function on your own after your discharge. A small number of patients with physical disabilities before surgery sometimes require extra assistance.
How soon can I drive after surgery?
You should not drive until you can move quickly and alertly and are no longer taking medications associated with your surgery. Usually this takes about one to two weeks.
When can I return to work after surgery?
Some patients with sedentary-type jobs have returned to work as early as one to two weeks following surgery. But if your job is more physically demanding, it may take as long as six weeks before you can return to work.
How many follow-up visits are necessary after surgery?
Typically, you’ll attend four to six follow-up meetings during your first post-surgery year. Then visits are scheduled at six to twelve month intervals for an indefinite period of time.
Who will attend the follow-up meetings?
The operating surgeon and nutritionist will meet together with you during each follow-up visit.
Life After Surgery
What kind of weight loss can I expect?
Many patients lose more than 100 lbs during their first year. Some patients lose weight for more than two years following the procedure, and may lose in excess of 200 lbs during that time. Results vary from patient to patient, with the best results coming from those who are committed to lifestyle change. Keep in mind, weight loss surgery isn’t a miracle cure. It’s important to set realistic weight loss goals for yourself right from the start. A loss of about 2 to 3 pounds a week in the first year after the operation is possible, but a pound a week is more likely. You’re aiming for gradual, steady weight loss.
How can I obtain the best results?
For best results, follow the advice of your operating surgeon and the nutritionist. We also encourage you to join our support group. Our support groups 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, the 4th step of our 4 step process. If you’re willing to make some changes to your lifestyle and adopt some healthier habits, you can achieve amazing results.
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. Read More
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.
What about pregnancy?
Becoming pregnant can be easier after losing weight. Your menstrual cycle may also become more regular. However, we don’t recommend becoming pregnant during the weight loss phase after your surgery (up to 18 months after the operation). Should you become pregnant, we encourage communication between your obstetrician and bariatric surgeon.
How long does it take to get an appointment for my consultation?
Approximately one to two weeks. Click here to request a consultation.
Can I fill out any paperwork before I visit your office?
Yes. We provide our patient questionnaire online. It may be printed and filled out at your leisure.
After my consultation, how long will it be before I can undergo the procedure?
The waiting period is generally about two to six months, depending upon precertification approval. During your initial consultation, the surgeon will determine whether health-related factors might delay your surgery.
What is precertification approval?
This is the procedure by which the insurance company reviews your medical and dietary history prior to approving you for surgery.
Will my insurance company pay for the surgery?
Because this type of surgery is considered medically necessary, insurance companies will often cover it. Read More
Will I have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses?
Yes and no. No, not for your initial consultation. Your insurance provider should cover 100% of this cost. Yes, there is a prepayment deposit required for your surgery. This will be applied against the total bill paid by your insurance company.
Questions About Revisional Surgery
For questions and answers about revisional bariatric surgery, click here.