For those who are concerned about their weight and their health, there are surgical solutions to achieve significant weight loss which may result in improved lifelong health. The most popular of these bariatric surgeries include gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, adjustable gastric banding and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch. You can read more about each of these procedures by navigating to them via the menu on the right side of this page.
If you are considering a surgical solution for yourself or a loved one, there are some general concerns and questions you might have about a bariatric surgery which we have gathered in FAQ format here. You should also make a list of your own questions to ask the surgeon who will be performing your surgery as he will be the best source of information and recommendations with regards to your particular case. These questions and answers have been edited from the medical resources available from the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons, a national organization that serves the bariatric community.
1. After surgery, when I can go back to work?
One or two weeks is the average post-op recovery time. Your surgeon will recommend a schedule for you based on his or her estimate for your case. Your health and recovery, as well as the safety of those you work with, is top priority. Your return to work may be characterized by partial days until you recover your energy level.
2. How will past abdominal surgeries affect my ability to have bariatric surgery?
It is best to go over your entire medical history with your surgeon during your pre-op interviews. You want to make sure that he or she knows of all prior operations, even those that occurred years (or decades) ago. In many cases, these procedures will not preclude you from having bariatric surgery, but your doctor will make that determination.
3. How will my diabetes affect the surgery?
In some cases, diabetes can make surgery riskier. Only your surgeon will be able to make this determination. It is good to know, however, that some patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes report improvement of their conditions after surgery.
4. How will surgery affect existing heart conditions?
You should check with your cardiologist before considering any type of bariatric surgery. Your bariatric surgeon will probably consult with your cardiologist on your case history if you have atrial fibrillation, stents, have had a bypass, or valve replacement. If you have heart disease, know that bariatric surgery can improve blood pressure levels, cholesterol levels, problems with lipids and other coronary disease conditions.
5. Will insurance cover bariatric surgery?
The answer to this question depends on your insurance. Make sure you ask your surgeon’s insurance administrator to check if you may be covered or not. They can be very helpful in asking for reconsideration if your employer or insurance company denies coverage. As an alternative, most surgeons have financing or other payment plans that are available to you in addition to post-surgery complications’ insurance which you may want to consider. Post-surgical plastic surgery may be covered on a case-by-case basis as well as some lab tests. Generally, you will be responsible for vitamins or supplements that you will need to take over time.
6. What about diet and exercise?
Before and after surgery, your doctor will give you a meal plan to follow. It is very important that you stick to the plan your doctor has given you both for long term success and to make your recovery easier. As for exercise, even a short walk in the hospital after surgery will get you on the road to recovery and establish a good pattern of regular exercise for the future. Moderation is the key because it can promote consistency throughout the rest of your life.
Your doctor will have the answers to other questions about your health and bariatric surgery that pertain to your specific needs and requirements. Don’t be shy about asking any question; your surgeon is there to help you lead a more active, healthier life.