Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why should someone consider bariatric surgery?
A: Recent research suggests that 1 out of every 3 Americans is obese. In this country alone, about 300,000 deaths per year can be linked directly to obesity. Obesity is associated with severe health conditions, including: high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep apnea, heartburn or reflux, stroke, sugar diabetes, asthma, osteoarthritis, infertility, and cancer of the breast, colon, prostate and uterus. Typically within the first six months after weight loss surgery, patients will no longer need to take medications for some of these conditions.
Q: Who is eligible for weight-loss surgery?
A: A person may be a eligible for bariatric surgery if he or she has a BMI of 40 or more; or 35 or more and they have complications from diabetes.
Q: What is involved in a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure?
A: Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is the most commonly performed bariatric procedure. This method makes the stomach smaller and slows digestion. It is referred to as a combined restrictive and malabsorptive procedure because less food can be eaten and fewer calories are taken in.
Q: What is the recovery time following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery?
A: Most patients recover from surgery without complications. Patients are encouraged to get out of bed and start walking as soon as the next day. The hospital stay for patients who have gastric bypass surgery like the Roux-en-Y procedure is usually two to four days. Most people go back to work in two to three weeks.
Q. When is bariatric surgery considered successful?
A. Weight-loss surgery is considered successful when a person loses 50 percent of his or her excess weight. Although few people lose all of their excess weight, they do gain numerous health benefits, which can save their lives. It’s important to remember that there are no guarantees with any method of weight loss, even with bariatric surgery.
Q. Are there activity restrictions following bariatric surgery?
A. Yes, intense activity should be avoided until you are healed. Walking, however, is a required activity at this stage of recovery. You are advised not to drive if you are taking pain medication. At your first follow-up, your doctor will determine when you can go back to work, but most people return to work three to six weeks after surgery.
Q: What are the diet restrictions following weight loss surgery?
A: Following surgery, you will need to follow specific eating guidelines. Dietitians work directly with bariatric surgery patients to provide dietary education before and after surgery.
Q. What about exercise after surgery?
A. Walking will be advised at first then vigorous exercise will be gradually introduced in six to eight weeks. Exercise will not only keep you feeling well and energized, but it also will burn fat and calories. For many people, returning to physical exercise is an important step toward recovery.
Q: How long will it take to lose excess weight after weight-loss surgery?
A: Excess weight loss begins right after surgery and continues for 18-24 months after surgery.
Q: Is it possible to gain the weight back after bariatric surgery?
A: Bariatric surgery has an excellent long-term track record for helping obese individuals maintain weight loss. If you are committed to making permanent dietary and lifestyle changes, your chance of weight gain is minimized.
Q: What are the risks of bariatric surgery?
A: All surgical procedures have risks, particularly when the patient is morbidly obese. Depending upon your specific circumstances, your risks may be higher or lower than average. It’s also important to know that surgeons with more experience performing bariatric surgery techniques have fewer complications. Potential risks of surgery should be discussed with your surgeon so you can make an informed choice.
Q. Can Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery be reversed?
A. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery is usually considered a permanent weight-loss procedure.
Q. Will I need to take vitamin supplements after my bariatric surgery?
A. You may, it’s possible to not get enough vitamins from three small meals a day. At your regular check-ups, your surgeon will evaluate whether you are getting enough vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron. Your 1-888-BARIATRIC surgeon may advise you to take supplements.