Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some common questions related to metabolic and bariatric surgery.
We accept most insurances, including United Healthcare and Medicare.
Please contact us for any question for which you have not found an answer.
Pre-Operative PhaseExpand all
Is there anything I can do to prepare for surgery?
- STOP SMOKING: Smoking has a significant influence on your surgical outcome, including the chance of dying around the time of surgery. Everyone knows that smoking causes lung problems, patients who smoke have a 5-10 fold increase in infections, impaired wound healing, heart attack, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and pulmonary embolism (PE).
- Lose weight before surgery: The heart and lungs, as well as other organs in the body, are negatively affected by obesity. Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your excess weight will decrease stress on your body. WE WILL HELP YOU WITH THIS WEIGHT LOSS!
- Exercise: Get your heart and lungs in the best possible shape by doing whatever physical activity you can tolerate.
- Prepare Mentally: Consider your surgical journey as the beginning of a whole new lifestyle. If you approach surgery with education and determination to make the best of the opportunity, the chances of success are very high. Be ready for a change.
- Attend a support group - We offer monthly support groups and encourage patients to attend regularly. Much can be learned from other patients both in the pre-operative and post-operative phases.
What can I do before the appointment to speed up the process of getting ready for surgery?
- Contact your health insurance company to learn about coverage of bariatric surgery.
- Establish a relationship with a primary care physician if you don't already have one. Work with your physician to get "caught up" on your health maintenance and routine testing.
- Discuss the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea with your primary care doctor and participate in testing or treatments recommended.
- Bring any pertinent medical data with you to your appointment to see your bariatric 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 including doses and frequency.
- STOP SMOKING. Discuss a smoking cessation plan with your primary care physician.
What if I have had a previous bariatric surgical procedure and I'm having problems?
The first option is to contact your original surgeon. It is highly preferable for the original surgeon to take care of any problems because he/she is most familiar with your medical history and previous operation. Your second option is to call us to make an appointment. You will need to provide an operative report from your first operation as well as any recent imaging or testing you have had.
What about insurance coverage?
Insurance coverage for treatment of morbid obesity is constantly changing. We have developed a dedicated staff who will be happy to assist you during the insurance approval process.
Surgical and Recovery PhaseExpand all
What is done to minimize the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?
What happens to the lower part of the stomach that is bypassed?
How do I eat after bariatric surgery?
During bariatric surgery, the size of the stomach is drastically reduced. The modifications made to your gastrointestinal tract will require permanent changes in your eating habits. You may hear of other patients being given different guidelines following their weight loss surgery. It is important to remember that every patient does not undergo the same surgery and the dietary guidelines will be different for each type of procedure. It is important is that you strictly adhere to your surgeon's recommended guidelines.
The following are some of the generally accepted dietary guidelines a weight loss surgery patient may encounter:
- When you start eating solid food it is essential that you chew thoroughly. You will not be able to eat steaks or other chunks of meat if they are not ground or chewed thoroughly.
- Don't drink fluids while eating. They will make you feel full before you have consumed enough food.
- Omit desserts and other items with sugar listed as one of the first three ingredients.
- Omit carbonated drinks, high-calorie nutritional supplements, milkshakes, high-fat foods, and foods with high fiber content.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Limit snacking between meals.
What important digestive functions do people lose when the lower stomach is bypassed?
What is dumping syndrome?
A 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 effects a person feels after consuming concentrated sugar after a gastric bypass (such as ice cream, chocolate candy, or a soda) is a reaction called dumping syndrome which affects the entire body.
During an episode of dumping, you may feel sweaty or clammy, have palpitations (i.e. heart racing), 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 is not pleasant. Avoiding refined sugars and concentrated sugars will decrease your risk of experiencing dumping syndrome.
Patients with gastric sleeves do not usually experience dumping syndrome.
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?
Can I get pregnant after metabolic and bariatric surgery?
Long Term OutcomesExpand all
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?
What can I do to prevent lots of excess hanging skin? Will exercise help?
When do I follow up with Upstate's bariatric clinic?
Appointments following bariatric surgery are critical. When you are losing weight, you will be asked to follow up frequently. We ask patients to come back to the clinic at 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 3/6/9/12 months and then yearly for life. At your annual visits, we will monitor your success and order blood work to check for anemia (low red blood cell count), as well as low Vitamin B12, folate and iron levels.Learn more here.
Where do I find additional support?
Our program has support groups in place to assist with your short and long-term questions and needs. The use of support groups provides weight loss surgery patients an excellent opportunity to discuss their various personal and professional issues. Many also find support for emotional issues that years of obesity can cause. Most bariatric surgeons will tell you that ongoing post-surgical support helps produce the greatest level of success for their patients.