Weight-Loss Surgery Program FAQs
Answers to Your Weight Loss Surgery Questions
The following are some of the most common questions about weight-loss surgery. Memorial Comprehensive 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 Memorial's Weight-Loss Surgery Program?
A: Weight-loss (or bariatric) surgery is reserved for people who are seriously obese. By definition, "obesity" is a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more, while "overweight" is 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 have a BMI of 40 or 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, but generally you can expect to lose approximately 10 to 15 pounds per month for the first year. Most patients will lose 50 to 70 percent of their excess body weight; 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 you may learn more by attending our free Weight-Loss Surgery Program information session.
Q: What kind of care will I need after surgery?
A: You will need to be committed to long-term follow-up care. 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: Weight-loss surgery requires that you greatly reduce your intake of sweets and fats. You will 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 five to six 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 occupation and level of activity is different, and therefore, recovery time will be different, as well. You can resume normal activity within four to six weeks after your operation. 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. Whether or not you have surgery, exercise is important to your overall health. The more you exercise, the healthier you will be and the more weight you will lose. 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.
As part of Memorial Comprehensive Weight-Loss Surgery Program, Memorial Fitness & Rehabilitation Centers at Memorial Regional Hospital and Memorial Hospital West offer a customized fitness program specially designed to meet the individual needs of weight-loss surgery patients. Fitness membership is available at the corporate discount rate.
Q: How long will I be in the hospital?
A: Although each individual is different, most Roux-En-Y gastric bypass surgery patients remain in the hospital three days after surgery, while the LAP-BAND® surgery usually requires a 23-hour outpatient stay.
Q: What health issues can weight-loss surgery help to resolve?
A: Health issues that often 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: Coverage depends on your individual insurance plan. You can learn more about working with your insurance company at our Weight-Loss Surgery Program information session. If you do not have insurance coverage, you can learn more about your options as a self-pay patient.
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. If you would like a referral to a physician, call Memorial Physician Referral Service toll-free at (800) 944-DOCS. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In addition to the program for weight-loss surgery patients, Memorial Fitness & Rehabilitation Centers at Memorial Regional Hospital and Memorial Hospital West offer a number of exercise programs that promote weight loss and better fitness. Their licensed dietitians also may help with a personalized nutrition program.
Is Your Doctor a Memorial Doctor?
To find a physician who performs bariatric weight-loss surgery, call Memorial Physician Referral Service toll-free at (800) 944-DOCS. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.