Frequently Asked Questions

How does weight loss surgery help me to lose weight?

All types of weight loss surgery drastically reduce the size of your stomach so that you cannot eat as much as you used to. Also, because your stomach is smaller, you are less hungry which results in eating less. Gastric bypass surgery detours partially digested food around the first 3 to 5 feet of small intestine so that you will not absorb food and nutrients the way you used to.


How effective is weight loss surgery?

Research shows that diet and exercise alone do not result in significant weight loss for morbidly obese people. Bariatric surgery procedures have been proven to help obese people lose a large amount of weight, significantly improving their health and drastically reducing their dependence on medications for obesity-related illnesses. Weight loss surgery success is typically defined by achieving a loss of 50 percent or more of excess body weight and maintaining that loss for at least five years. By substantially reducing weight, this procedure can ease health conditions associated with obesity, such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiac dysfunction, gallbladder disease, arthritis, depression, urinary stress incontinence, menstrual and fertility irregularities, sleep apnea and respiratory dysfunction.


Are there any risks associated with weight loss surgery?

As with any surgery, there are risks associated with bariatric surgery.  Though complications are relatively rare you should fully understand and consider them before undergoing surgery. Your surgeon will discuss the potential risks with you while you are making the decision to proceed with surgery.


How long is the recovery period after weight loss surgery?

On average, bariatric patients stay in the hospital two nights. However, your full recovery time can range from two to six weeks, depending on your health and the type of surgery selected.


What is considered a successful weight loss surgery?

Bariatric surgery is successful when patients:

  • Lose a significant amount (60 to 99%) of their excess weight
  • Decrease medication use
  • Increase their physical activity levels
  • Improve their quality of life
  • Increase their ability to work or participate in daily life activities
  • Regain a feeling of control over their life
  • Feel good about themselves and their commitment to future good health


Will I have to go on a diet before I have surgery?

Yes. Most insurance companies require a physician-monitored diet three to six months prior to surgery as part of their coverage. This is a time to improve food choices, eating habits, and to prepare for life after your surgery. We encourage weight loss prior to surgery. Weight loss makes the surgery technically less difficult and reduces your risk of complications. A pre-operative liver reduction diet may be ordered for 2-3 weeks prior to surgery in order to shrink the liver and reduce fat in the abdomen.


Does your diet have to change after surgery?

Yes, every patient meets with our dietitian before and after surgery to teach you about the necessary dietary guidelines. The dietitian will assist you in changing your eating behaviors so that you will lose weight and maintain your weight loss. After surgery, you will follow progressive diet, starting with Phase I full liquid diet. Our dietician will educate you on the specific guidelines and provide a bariatric diet booklet to review.  It may take you one to four months to move from liquids to regular foods. It is best to eliminate sweets and fatty foods to avoid digestive problems.


Do I need to purchase special foods after surgery?

Yes, at first you may need to have a protein supplement to help you recover and heal. Adequate protein helps to maintain lean body mass during quick weight loss and helps to prevent hair loss. In addition, vitamin and mineral supplements are necessary in the weight loss period and certain supplements are needed life-long, depending upon the type of surgery you have. Insurance typically does not pay for vitamin and mineral supplements. However, you can pay for vitamins and minerals out of a flex spending account, which is a pre-tax account from your income that can be used for medical expenses.


Will I be hungry after surgery?

People of normal weight whose appetite center works as it is supposed to usually get the “full” sensation after eating the “correct” amount of food. This is often not the case with someone who is morbidly obese. A morbidly obese person may overeat because their appetite center is not signaling correctly, leading to weight gain.  After surgery, you should find yourself “full” with smaller amounts of food. Your fee