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 subspets 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.