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Frequently Asked Questions About Weight-Loss Surgery


The following are some of the most common questions about weight-loss surgery. The Memorial Weight-Loss Surgery Program hosts informative monthly seminars to answer your questions and introduce you to people who have undergone weight-loss surgery. Check our calendar for details.

Q: How do I know if I am a candidate for the Memorial Weight-Loss Surgery Program?
A: Weight-loss (or bariatric) surgery is reserved for people who are morbidly obese. "Obesity" is defined as a person with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. "Overweight" is defined as a BMI of 25 to 29. To determine your body mass index – which is calculated by your height and weight – use our BMI calculator In order to be considered for weight-loss surgery, a person must be age 18 or older, have a BMI of 40 or a BMI of 35 to 40 with obesity-related diseases (e.g., hypertension, type 2 diabetes). Additionally, he or she must be well informed and motivated, have been unsuccessful at other non-surgical approaches, have a strong desire to lose weight, and be considered an acceptable operative risk.

Q: How much weight can I expect to lose?
A: Results depend on your motivation and cooperation with the program, which includes eating healthy and exercising regularly following surgery. Generally, you can expect to lose approximately 10 to 15 pounds per month for the first year. Following the guidelines, patients can expect to lose an average of about 50 to 70 percent of their excess body weight and maintain the weight loss over time. Some patients can lose more.

Q: Are there any risks associated with weight-loss surgery?
A: Weight-loss surgery is a surgical procedure and, as with all surgeries, involves certain risks. Your surgeon will explain these risks to you, or join us for a free weight-loss surgery seminar, where experts are available to answer your questions. Click here for a calendar of upcoming weight-loss surgery seminars

Q: What kind of care will I need after surgery?
A: You will need to be committed to long-term follow-up care, which includes eating healthy and exercising regularly. You'll need to take a daily vitamin supplement for the rest of your life, and your physician also will order occasional blood tests to assess your level of micronutrients.

Q: Are there any restrictions after surgery like lifting and driving?
A: After surgery, especially while you are taking pain medication, it is recommended that you do not drive. Depending on how well your recovery progresses, lifting also may be restricted.

Q: Can I eat whatever I wish after surgery?
A: No – not if you want to successful maintain weight loss. Weight-loss surgery requires that you greatly reduce your intake of sweets and fats. Some patients may experience physical symptoms such as abdominal cramping, sweating, and general weakness when you consume too many fatty foods or sweets, or too much alcohol. Expect to eat small, well-balanced meals daily and to follow daily vitamin supplementation.

Q: When can I return to normal activity?
A: It is important to remember that everyone's level of "normal" activity is different. Therefore, recovery time will be different, as well. Typically, patients resume their normal activity within one to two weeks after weight-loss surgery. Any pain related to the surgery should go away after 10 days or so. General fatigue can last three to four weeks after surgery.

Q: Is exercise a part of my weight-loss program?
A. Yes. Whether or not you have weight-loss surgery, exercise is important. Eating healthy and maintaining a schedule of regular exercise is important to leading a healthy lifestyle. Since walking greatly accelerates weight loss – specifically, fat loss – it is highly recommended. A good goal, after you have recovered fully, is to take two one-hour walks daily. The Memorial Fitness & Rehabilitation Centers–located at Memorial Regional Hospital and Memorial Hospital West–offer customized fitness programs designed to meet the individual needs of weight-loss surgery patients. Click here for more information about Memorial Fitness Center membership.

Q: How long will I be in the hospital? A: Each individual is different, and you should consult with your doctor regarding the duration of your hospital stay. The typical hospital stay for laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is about a two-night hospital stay. For laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, it can typically be about a one-night hospital stay. Lap Band® surgery typically requires about a 23-hour outpatient hospital stay.

Q: What health issues can weight-loss surgery help to resolve?
A: Health issues that may improve following weight loss include diabetes, heart disease, gallbladder disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, sleep apnea, respiratory insufficiency, high cholesterol, and weight-induced arthritis.

Q: Will insurance cover surgery?
A: This varies depending on your insurance company and your insurance policy. Join us for a free Weight-Loss Surgery Seminar to learn more about working with your insurance company. Click here for more information. If you learn that your insurance does not cover weight-loss surgery, contact our office at 954-276-8559 to discuss other options to help you achieve your goal.

Q. What options are available to me if I do not qualify for weight-loss surgery or if I do not choose surgery?
A: For optimum health, we strongly urge you to speak with a Memorial physician about a medically supervised weight-loss program. Eating healthy and exercising regularly are important to maintaining successful weight loss. Contact the Memorial Fitness & Rehabilitation Center to learn more about membership, exercise programs, and nutrition information.