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Frequently asked questions about bariatric surgery

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Here are some of the frequently asked questions about bariatric surgery.

What is bariatric surgery?

This refers to surgical procedures performed for the treatment of morbid obesity and related health conditions. 

Bariatric surgery involves modification of the stomach and/or intestines to induce significant, lasting weight loss through restriction (decreased food intake), inhibiting absorption of calories and nutrients or a combination of the two.

How do I know if I qualify for bariatric surgery?

Most insurance companies adhere to the weight recommendations of the National Institutes of Health for bariatric surgery as treatment for obesity:

  • A BMI of 40 or over; this means being at least 100 pounds over your ideal body weight.
  • A BMI of 35 or more and a serious medical condition that might improve with weight loss.
    Calculate your ​BMI.

Other qualifying factors may include:

  • Age 18 or older
  • Documentation of serious weight loss attempts
  • Demonstrated willingness and ability to make permanent changes in diet, exercise, and lifestyle
  • A commitment to regular, lifelong medical follow-up care
  • Each patient must complete a full evaluation which includes dietary counseling, a psychological evaluation. You may also require consultation with other providers for evaluation of diabetes, sleep apnea, heart or lung problems, or other medical problems to help determine if bariatric surgery is right for you, and if so, which procedure is best.​

​​​How much weight can I expect to lose?

Many of our patients experience weight loss of 100 pounds or more, but each person is different. 

The amount of weight you lose may also depend on the type of procedure you have. Our bariatric team will help you set and achieve realistic weight loss goals.

How long does the whole process take?

The process can be broken down into three phases:

1. The evaluation phase

2. The preoperative phase

3. The postoperative phase​

Typically, the evaluation phase takes six to twelve months, depending on your insurance requirements. 
Once you complete the evaluation phase and have pre-approval from your insurance company, you start the preoperative phase; this timeline depends on your surgeon's schedule and your personal timeline. 
Some patients have their procedure within a few weeks, others wish to schedule their procedure a few months out.
After surgery, the hospital stay is anywhere from 1 to 5 days. Recovery time also varies, depending on the type of procedure and other factors. 
Some patients return to work after 2 weeks, while others require 6 weeks recovery time. Most weight loss occurs in the first 12 to 18 months after surgery, depending on the procedure.
​The entire process takes time, but these changes will result in significant weight loss and better health and well-being for a lifetime.​
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Obesity Basics: What Is It? How Is It Treated?

There is an epidemic of obesity in this country, health experts say. But what is obesity? How is it measured? Find out the answers to these questions and others by taking this quiz, based on information from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

1. Body mass index (BMI) is the current standard for finding out whether someone is overweight or obese. BMI corrects for differences in height among people. Which BMI reading is considered obese?
2. What portion of body fat falls in the obese category?
3. How many American adults are considered obese?
4. What causes obesity?
5. Which of these serious health problems has been linked to obesity?
6. If you are considered obese, how much weight do you need to lose to bring about positive health changes?
7. What is a healthy weight loss goal?
8. How much physical activity should you aim for each week to help weight loss?
9. If your healthcare provider recommends weight-loss medicine, when can you expect to lose the most weight?
10. Bariatric surgery may be recommended for people with a BMI of more than 40. What does the procedure involve?