Frequently Asked Questions about Weight Loss Surgery

Bariatric surgery eligibility

Insurance companies often require that you show evidence that you have tried to lose weight through structured, non-surgical means. This may include health clubs, recognized diet programs, nutritional counseling or medically supervised diets.

  • Does insurance cover the cost of bariatric surgery?
  • Should I have bariatric surgery?
    Surgery offers the best chance to successfully lose weight if you are approximately 100 pounds or more overweight. Candidates typically have tried unsuccessfully to lose weight for at least five years. Ultimately, only you and your Henry Ford surgeon can make that decision. The answer also depends on your willingness to make permanent lifestyle changes, which is critical to achieving long-term, sustained weight loss.

Nutrition & exercise after weight loss surgery

  • How can I live on one ounce of food?
    A few months after bariatric surgery, your meals will be roughly three to six ounces in size. You will work your way towards 1200-1400 calories per day within a year. This amount of food (if you choose healthy foods) is quite sufficient to allow you to live with vitality.
  • What changes to diet do bariatric surgery patients have to make to be successful?
    Patients enjoy a new way of eating a balanced meal plan. This balanced plan has three small meals and one or two healthy snacks daily that include adequate protein, moderate carbohydrate and moderate fat. Fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy products and small portions of healthy fats are included as part of this healthy way of eating.
  • What is dumping syndrome?
    Dumping syndrome is the result of eating concentrated sugar or simple carbohydrate after gastric bypass surgery. When sugar in high concentration reaches the intestine rapidly, the following symptoms can occur:
    • Heart palpitations
    • Sweaty, clammy feeling
    • Cramping, diarrhea and weakness
      Often times when this occurs, lying down may help as the discomfort passes after the food passes. Following the nutrition plan given to you by your dietitian will help minimize or even avoid this problem.
  • Can post-surgical patients have a problem with consumption of dairy products?
    Dairy products contain lactose, a natural sugar found in milk. In some patients, lactose sugar is not well digested. When lactose sugar passes through undigested the symptoms of intolerance include gas, cramping and diarrhea. Lactaid supplements found over the counter can be helpful .Choosing Lactaid-treated dairy products or cultured dairy such as yogurt can improve tolerance.
  • Do post-surgical patients take vitamin supplements?
    Taking vitamin supplements is recommended after surgery. Your surgeon and primary care doctor will routinely check nutritional status with regular laboratory blood work and prescribe a vitamin and mineral program depending on which weight loss surgery is performed.
  • How does exercise fit in?
    Exercise is one of the most crucial components of your success with weight-loss surgery and long-term weight maintenance. Not only does it burn calories, but it also improves your mobility and cardiovascular health. You will begin an exercise program that is specifically designed for you and your lifestyle before surgery. The staff of our Working On Weight program will guide you to your goals.

After bariatric surgery

  • How much weight does a patient lose? Will the weight loss be quick?
    The amount of weight lost and how fast it is lost depends on which weight loss surgery is performed and the effort you put in. Nationally, patients who have an adjustable gastric band procedure usually lose 30 to 40 percent excess body weight. Those who have laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy lose about 60 percent excess body weight. Patients who have a laparoscopic gastric bypass (RYGB) lose about 70 percent of excess body weight. In our program, the average patient loses between 68 to 78 percent of his or her excess body weight after bariatric surgery. Weight loss is also dependent upon patient compliance with life style changes.
  • Can the weight be regained?
    Yes. Patients can regain some, or all, of the weight. The patient's overall behavior and compliance with healthy eating, portion control and exercise can contribute to the long-term weight loss success. We emphasize that this surgical procedure is a tool which when used properly will produce good results. The most common reason for weight regain is behavioral drift and poor compliance with lifestyle changes. Ongoing follow up with your doctor and bariatric team is important to your success.
  • Can a person become pregnant after weight loss surgery?
    Women should avoid pregnancy for at least 18 months after surgery. Please discuss any pregnancy plans with your surgeon.
  • What happens to my excess skin?
    The amount of excess skin depends on the total amount of weight you lose, your age, and how much the skin was stretched. Some patients elect to have plastic surgery after weight loss surgery.
  • Can bariatric surgery procedures be reversed?
    Yes, but the need for this is very uncommon.
  • How long will the patient have to stay in the hospital after surgery?
    The length of the hospital stay depends upon the type of weight loss surgery. Generally, hospital stays are between one to two days.
  • How long will the patient be off of work?
    Usually, patients return to work within three to four weeks.

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