Do I really need surgery for weight loss success?
A. Although guidelines vary, surgery is generally considered when your body mass index is 40 or higher or you have a life-threatening or disabling condition related to your weight.
Your doctor may recommend weight loss surgery to you only if you have not been able to lose weight with other treatments.
Is surgery an easy weight loss option?
A. While bariatric surgery is a powerful tool in the fight against obesity, it's not a quick fix.
Weight loss surgery is part of a long process, and requires a lifelong commitment to follow up with doctors, a regular exercise program, and healthy eating.
How much weight can I expect to lose?
A. Most gastric bypass patients lose at least 60% of their excess body weight over the first year or more after surgery. Weight loss from other procedures, namely gastric banding and gastric sleeve may be slower and to a lesser degree.
Does obesity surgery carry health risks?
A. Bariatric surgery is performed under general anesthesia, and carries all the usual risks of major surgery.
Risk factors include: the condition of the patient (weight and co-morbid conditions), the skill of the bariatric surgeon and anesthesiologist and the quality of back-up services.
Complications will be explained to you but mortality in our program is less than 0.3%.
Are there any immediate or long-term side effects?
A. Most side effects usually occur in the first 2 or 3 months after surgery, as patients are getting used to their new diet and eating habits. Patients may have a few episodes of nausea, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort after surgery.
Long term side effects may include:
Will I lose my hair?
A. About half of women who have undergone gastric bypass surgery notice thinning hair. This usually occurs between months 2 and 10 after surgery.
Thinning may be minimized by maintaining adequate protein intake, taking daily multivitamins, and possibly by addition of zinc and biotin supplements. It is important to remember that this phase is temporary and hair usually comes back to normal.
Will my insurance cover the cost of surgery (or part of it)?
A. In the United States, most insurance companies will usually cover the procedure if you meet their criteria. Unfortunately, some insurance policies have a clause that absolutely excludes coverage of weight loss surgery. In these situations, your options include changing your health insurance carrier or paying for surgery yourself.
Canada: We have been named a preferred provider by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) in Canada. Our services for gastric bypass and gastric sleeve will now be covered by OHIP for Ontario patients undergoing bariatric surgery at Sisters Hospital and its St. Joseph Campus.
What should I do before weight loss surgery to prepare for it?
A. You may be directed to restrict your diet two weeks prior to surgery to shrink your liver making surgery easier to perform. Your must also quit smoking before surgery — both for your long-term health and to lessen the likelihood of problems from your operation. You may also meet with a nutritionist to learn the elements of healthy eating, and how your eating habits need to change before and after the surgery.
What happens after weight loss surgery?
A. We make sure to provide a supportive, nurturing and healing experience. Each patient undergoing a bariatric procedure meets with Karen A. Stawiasz, a registered nurse and bariatric coordinator. We also counsel all patients regarding diet and exercise to encourage weight loss while maintaining optimum health.
Can I get pregnant after weight loss surgery?
A. Pregnancy during rapid weight loss after surgery is not advisable. You will be counseled about pregnancy and birth control options before and after surgery.
Many obese women have trouble with fertility and regular menstrual cycles. As weight loss occurs, this situation may change quickly. Women get more regular periods and can become more fertile with weight loss.
What foods should I avoid after my weight loss surgery?
Will I only be able to eat tiny amounts of food for the rest of my life?
A. Initially you will only be able to eat approximately two to four tablespoons of food. The stomach pouch and small intestine learn how to work together over a period of months. Many patients notice a dramatic increase in the amount of food they can handle comfortably in the first six to nine months after surgery. It is recommended to take a daily vitamin, since you won't be able to get all the nutrients you need from food alone.
What type of post-surgery exercise plan will I need to follow to improve my overall health?
A. Walking is great exercise to start out with following your surgery. The type of exercise is dictated by the patient's overall condition. Some patients who have dsevere knee problems can't walk well, but can swim or bicycle. Many patients begin with low stress forms of exercise and are encouraged to progress to more vigorous activity when they are able.