Questions to Ask When Considering Weight Loss Surgery

By | May 15, 2017

The idea of having a surgery to help reduce weight holds a lot of appeal for people suffering from obesity. And surgery has often worked out where other conservative techniques of weight loss like exercise and diets have failed.

But obesity surgery by itself is not a magic wand. It can be considered a very effective tool for you to lose weight. It is very important to have complete knowledge of and realistic expectations from bariatric surgery. Hence, we have compiled a list of questions that you can ask your doctor or health professional before deciding on weight loss surgery:

Why should I go for weight loss surgery?

No doctor will usually suggest weight loss surgery as the first option. If he or she does, then it should ring alarm bells. If you have a BMI more than or equal to 35 with obesity-related conditions, you can be a candidate for weight loss surgery.

Can bariatric surgery be performed in a minimally invasive way?

Yes, minimally invasive weight loss surgery is possible. And it carries many benefits to the patient like less pain, speedier recovery, etc. But be it open or laparoscopic surgery, certain risks remain. Also, some patients, like morbidly obese patients, may not be considered eligible candidates for laparoscopic surgery.

What are the risks involved?

Be it lap band, gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, or duodenal switch surgery, they all come with risks and possible complications. A clear understanding is a must before deciding on surgery.

How quickly will I lose weight and will I put the weight back on again?

Patients lose weight rapidly up to two years after surgery. But if you eat deep-fried or high-calorie foods or eat more than you are supposed to, the weight can come back.

I have some health conditions related to my obesity. Will surgery still be an option for me?

You will be subjected to a detailed heart and lung evaluation before this question can be answered. Patients with obesity-related health conditions are advised to actually lose some weight before surgery.

Which weight loss surgery is best for me?

The lap band surgery is considered the safest among weight loss procedures, but it requires a high level of patient motivation and compliance for success. The Roux-en-Y surgery is most frequently performed and is advised for patients with a BMI of 35-55. The duodenal switch procedure has many possible complications but has long-term weight loss benefits. Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose the weight loss procedure that best suits you.

Will I have to change my lifestyle after the surgery?

Yes, drastically. As we said earlier in the article, weight loss surgery cannot work miracles for you if you don’t co-operate. Throughout your life after bariatric surgery, you will need to pay a lot of attention to what you eat and take nutritional supplements.

Will my mental state be checked prior to surgery?

Yes. You will be put through a psychological screening to see if you suffer from depression or other emotional conditions. If yes, you will need to address those problems before undergoing surgery.

How long will I be in surgery?

1-3 hours or 4-6 hours, if additional procedures are done.

How long will I have to stay in the hospital?

3 days, if everything works out normally. But, if complications develop, hospital stay can be a month or more.

What am I supposed to eat after the operation?

Liquid food is recommended for 2 weeks. You can then slowly graduate to regular food in the next three months. A healthy diet has to be followed according to the instructions of your nutritionist.

What is the recuperation period for weight loss surgery?

It could be 3 days or 6 weeks, depending on how active you were before surgery and what type of procedure you had. You can safely assume that you will need about 2-4 weeks off from work. Those who undergo lap band surgery get back to work within a week.

Do my family and friends also need to understand this surgery?

It’s good if they make an effort to understand the procedure as they can help you with the follow-up program.

How much will weight loss surgery cost me?

The cost of weight loss surgery can range from $17,000 – $25,000, depending on several factors. Weight loss surgery in Mexico, Costa Rica, India and other medical tourism centers abroad comes at a fraction of US cost, with no compromise on quality.

What if I don’t have health insurance or if my health plan does not cover bariatric surgery?

Not to worry. Patients with obesity problems are increasingly taking the medical tourism route if they are unable to afford the procedure in the US, UK, Canada, etc. Popular destinations for weight loss surgery are Mexico, India, and Belgium, to name a few.

What support will be available to help me cope after the operation?

This is a very important question because the success of obesity surgery depends on how well you are able to follow the diet and exercise plans. If you are getting your surgery done abroad, make sure you find support groups back home.

Is obesity surgery for children?

Surgery is not generally recommended for children who have not been through puberty. But pubescent children may be considered for weight loss surgery, if they are facing serious health risks because of their weight.

Will I still be able to get pregnant?

Pregnancy is not advised at least for a year after the operation.

How do I handle extra skin and stretch marks?

Many patients undergo plastic surgery to resolve the problem of extra skin and stretch marks. But, this is best done after you have reached your ideal body weight.

Is weight loss surgery reversible?

The lap band procedure is reversible, whereas stomach stapling is not. Gastric bypass procedures are generally reversible, but do consult your doctor on this.

Can I get the body of a supermodel after obesity surgery?

Bariatric surgery mainly aims to lower the immediate health risks related to obesity. You may not achieve a BMI of 18.5 to 25 – considered to be the healthy range – but you can come close, provided you comply fully.

We hope this comprehensive list of FAQs for weight loss surgery will help you arrive at an informed decision. Losing weight through obesity surgery is not easy, but can be accomplished, if you wish to.