There is no substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a qualified bariatric surgeon when it comes to getting your pressing questions about weight loss surgery answered. But if you are considering surgery, it’s best to be armed with as much information as possible as you meet with a physician and make decisions about treatment, timing, and more. Here, we provide valuable insights supported by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
Am I a good candidate for surgery?
The only way to truly know if you are a good candidate for weight loss surgery is by discussing it with a bariatric surgeon. Your doctor may advise you to try a strict diet and exercise plan if you have not already. If this doesn’t work or is not possible for you, weight loss surgery may be an option.
Will I have to go on a diet before surgery?
Yes. Your bariatric surgeon will put you on a special diet for usually two to three weeks just before surgery. Some insurance providers require a physician-monitored diet for up to six months prior to surgery as part of their conditions of coverage. The reason for the pre-operative diet is to shrink your liver and reduce fat in your abdomen. This helps promote a safe and successful procedure.
Will I have to diet or exercise after my procedure?
Yes and no. There is no one-size-fits-all plan after weight loss surgery. Most people think of a “diet” as something that will leave them hungry. That is not the way people feel after surgery. Your appetite will be less and easier to satisfy than before.
Most patients also think of exercise as something that must be intense. Regular, modest activity after surgery is far more useful in the long term. Work with your surgeon to find a variety of activities that can work for you, and expect to learn and change your routine as you go.
When can I start exercising again after surgery?
As soon as possible. You may be prompted to take gentle, short walks even while you are in the hospital. The key is to start slow. Listen to your body and your surgeon. If you lift weights or do sports, practice “low impact” moves for the first month and build slowly over several weeks. If you swim, your wounds will need to be healed over before you get back in the water.
How long will I need to be off work after metabolic or bariatric surgery?
Most patients return to work in one to two weeks. You will experience low energy for a while after surgery and may need to gradually return to a full-time routine. Your surgeon will give you instructions as to what is safe for your situation.
Will I be able to go off some of my medications after surgery?
It’s possible. As you lose weight, you may be able to reduce or eliminate the need for many of the medications you take for high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, high cholesterol and/or diabetes under your doctor’s supervision. If you have a gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy or duodenal switch, you may even be able to reduce the dosage or discontinue the use of your diabetes medications shortly after your procedure.
Does having type 2 diabetes make surgery riskier?
It can. Be sure to follow all instructions from your surgeon about managing your diabetes around the time of surgery.
Can I have laparoscopic bariatric surgery if I have had other abdominal surgery in the past, have a hernia or have had a stoma?
In general, yes. Be sure to tell your surgeon and anesthesiologist about all prior operations, even childhood surgeries, especially those on your abdomen and/or pelvis. The surgeon may request the operative report from complicated or unusual procedures, especially those on the esophagus, stomach or bowels.
Can I have laparoscopic surgery if I have heart disease?
Yes, but you may need medical clearance from your cardiologist. During the screening process, be sure to let your surgical staff know about any heart conditions you have. Bariatric surgery is known to improve a number of conditions related to heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and lipid problems. Even patients with atrial fibrillation, heart valve replacement, or previous stents or heart bypass surgery usually do well. If you are on blood thinners of any type, expect special instructions just before and after surgery.
Will I have to have plastic surgery?
It’s common to have some loose or sagging skin after bariatric surgery, but it is often more temporary than you might think. You will see the most change between 6 and 18 months after your surgery. Your individual appearance will depend upon factors such as how much weight you lose, your age, your genetics, and whether or not you exercise or smoke. Generally, loose skin can be well-hidden by clothing but some patients will choose to have plastic surgery to remove excess skin. Most surgeons recommend waiting at least 18 months after bariatric surgery.
At Lee Bariatrics, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice, we want you to have as much good information about bariatric surgery as possible. Learn more in our Patient Resources area, or call us today at 1-888-715-4330.
The above is for general information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for the medical guidance from and discussion with your physician.