Frequently Asked Questions
We have attempted to address the most common questions concerning the Bariatric Surgery we perform. We have separated those questions into different phases of the process to hopefully allow you to narrow the focus of your search for answers. However, we realize it is impossible to answer every question that you may have so please contact us for any question related to Bariatric Surgery for which you have not found an answer. You may also want to refer to our Other Bariatric Resources section to find valuable informative links to other resources available.
How does weight relate to type 2 diabetes?
What impact do my medical problems have on the decision to do surgery?
Is there anything I can do to prepare for surgery?
- STOP SMOKING: Smoking has a significant influence on your outcome including the chance of dying around the time of surgery. Everyone knows that smoking creates lung problems, but the unavoidable reality is that a history of smoking also leads to a 5-10 fold increase in the following risks: infection, heart attack, and even Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or Pulmonary Embolism (PE).
- Lose weight before surgery: It appears that the body (heart, lungs, etc.) suffers the most from obesity when it is at very heavy weights. Surprisingly, great benefit comes from the loss of 10 or 20 pounds with more loss being even better. We also find that excess weight tends to come out of the abdomen (probably the liver) first; so, just a few pounds can make it much easier for your surgeon to perform the surgical procedure.
- Exercise: Get your heart and lungs in the best possible shape by doing whatever physical exercise you can tolerate. Starting an exercise program before surgery is also the best bet on keeping a regular exercise program following surgery.
- Prepare Mentally: Try to approach the surgery as the beginning of a whole new phase in life. If you approach surgery with thorough education and determination to make the best of the opportunity, the chances of success are very high. Practice the post surgery diet. This will give you a practical idea of what you are getting into, with the side benefit of some weight loss.
- Attend a monthly support group - much can be learned from other patients that the surgeons and staff cannot teach.
What can I do before the appointment to speed up the process of getting ready for surgery?
- Establish a relationship with a primary care physician, if you don't already have one. Work with that physician to get "caught up" on your routine health maintenance testing.
- Discuss the symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and work with your physician to get this evaluated and treated.
- Initiate contact with your health insurance company to learn about their criteria to cover Weight Loss Surgery.
- Bring any pertinent medical data with you to your appointment to see your surgeon; this would include reports of special tests (echocardiogram, sleep study, etc.) or hospital discharge summary if you have been in the hospital.
- Bring a list of your medications with dose and schedule.
- STOP SMOKING.
What if I have had a previous bariatric surgical procedure and I'm having problems?
What about insurance coverage?
If you don't find answers to all your surgical procedure questions then you may locate them in the side by side comparison of the procedures on our How We Can Help page.
What is dumping syndrome?
One key feature that helps control calorie intake after Gastric Bypass is that food leaves the tiny pouch into a section of the small intestine called the jejunum. The jejunum is simply not made to handle concentrated calories, especially refined sugar. The effect of a person consuming concentrated sugar after a gastric bypass (such as ice cream, chocolate candy, or a soda) is a reaction called dumping syndrome that affects the whole body.
During an episode of dumping you may feel palpitations (i.e. heart racing), a sweaty and clammy feeling, cramping abdominal pain, diarrhea, and then a feeling of weakness during which the person simply must lay down for an hour or so until it passes. Dumping syndrome is not dangerous but it feels awful. It is not exactly a side effect in the sense that it works in a beneficial way by steering patients away from that type of food.
Patients with gastric sleeve do not usually have dumping syndrome.
What happens to the lower part of the stomach that is bypassed?
What important digestive functions do people lose when the lower stomach is bypassed?
What about the staples inside my abdomen? Is it OK in the future to have an MRI test? Will I set off metal detectors in airports?
Watch the Video
What should I bring with me to the hospital?
Basic toiletries (e.g. comb, toothbrush, etc.) and gowns are provided by the hospital but most people prefer to bring their own. Choose clothes for the hospital that are easy to put on or take off and that can stand staining by blood or other body fluids. Bring slippers so you can begin walking ASAP after surgery. Other ideas:
- A small fan (room temperature control can be variable)
- Reading material
- Portable music
- Notepad keep track of questions you may have or information you receive
- Skin moisturizing lotion
- Cell phone and/or tablet. Free Wifi is available for patients.
I am so big. Will I have trouble with hospital gowns, hospital beds, etc.?
How is pain managed?
What is done to minimize the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?
Because a DVT often originates on the operating table, we begin therapy before you go to the operating room. We treat patients with sequential leg compression stockings and Heparin (blood thinner). Both of these therapies continue throughout your hospitalization. The third major preventive measure involves getting the patient out of bed as soon as possible after the operation in order to restore normal blood flow in the legs. The nursing staff will ask you to get out of bed and walk in the hall the same day as your surgery.
Watch the Video
What is the right amount of exercise after Gastric Bypass?
Many patients are hesitant about exercising after surgery but in reality exercise is an absolutely essential component of success after surgery. Exercise begins on the afternoon of surgery. You will be out of bed and walking. The goal is for the patient to walk further on the next day and progressively further every day after that, including the first few weeks at home.
We usually release the patients from medical restrictions and encourage them to begin exercising regularly after the first post operative office visit which normally occurs within one to two weeks after surgery. Patients are limited only by the level of incision discomfort. Some patients who have severe knee problems may not be able to walk well but almost all can swim or bicycle. Many patients begin with low stress forms of exercise and we encourage them to progress to more vigorous activity when they are able. Sexual activity is okay from two weeks onward, again as dictated by comfort level.
Can I get pregnant after Gastric Bypass surgery?
Yes, but we strongly recommend you wait at least one year after the surgery. Please think about some reliable method of birth control for use in the first year after surgery to avoid the possibility of pregnancy. At approximately one year your body will be fairly stable from a weight and nutrition standpoint. You should be able to carry a baby with no nutritional issues. You should be in contact with your surgeon as you plan for pregnancy
Long Term Outcomes
How much weight should I expect to lose?
Will I just keep losing weight until I waste away to nothing?
What can I do to prevent lots of excess hanging skin? Will exercise help?
Will I be miserably hungry after bariatric surgery since I'm not eating much? What if I am really hungry?
Will I have to change my medications?
Many medications such as those used to control blood pressure, diabetes, etc., can be stopped at some point after surgery. Medications that do need to be continued the can still be swallowed and absorbed as they were prior to the surgery. Sometimes a change in dose is required. Please ask your NP during your follow up appointments.