Weight Loss Surgery FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some questions and answers we often hear regarding weight loss surgery. If you don’t find the answer to your questions below, we invite you to explore our website or call our office. We also encourage you to write down questions you may have to discuss with your provider at your next visit.
Q: What percent of patients successfully lose weight following weight loss surgery?
A: About 90% of patients typically lose weight successfully after surgery.* The average long term weight loss is about 2/3 of their excess weight. Some people lose a little more, some a little less.
Q: Is weight loss surgery reversible?
A: Weight loss surgery may be reversible for the Lap Band, however, the Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, Sleeve Gastrectomy, or Duodenal Switch should not be considered reversible. Rerouted parts of the small intestine could be put together again, but such an operation carries the same risks associated with the original operation.
Q: Is weight loss surgery the “cure all” for obesity?
A: No. Weight loss surgery is only a tool. Patients must abide by dietary and exercise guidelines in order to be successful.
Q: What types of weight loss procedures are there?
A: There are two categories of weight loss procedures:
- Gastric Banding (LAP-BAND) involves placing a silicone saline filled band around the top of the stomach to limit food intake.
- Sleeve Gastrectomy / Gastric Sleeve involves stapling vertically down the stomach to limit food intake
Malabsorptive and Combined Procedures
- Roux-en-Y gastric bypass involves dividing the top portion of the stomach into a small 15-20cc pouch and connecting this to a loop of small intestine in order to bypass the upper digestive tract and induce malabsorption.
- Biliopancreatic Diversion (+/- Duodenal Switch) involves stapling part of the stomach as well as bypassing a large portion of the digestive tract to cause malabsorption of nutrients.
Q: Which weight loss procedure is best for me?
A: This decision is best made between you and your bariatric surgeon. Your surgeon should discuss the operations that he provides as well as the risks and benefits of each procedure.
Q: What are the risks associated with the LAP-BAND procedure?
A: The risks include, but are not limited to bleeding, infection, injury to adjacent organs, band slippage, band erosion, hernia formation, ulcer formation, gastritis, gastroesophageal reflux, heartburn, gas bloat, dehydration, constipation, weight regain, need for re-operation and/or death.
Q: What are the risks associated with the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure?
A: The risks include, but are not limited to, bleeding, infection, injury to other organs, deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolus, chance for gastrointestinal leak, wound problems, bowel obstruction, hernia formation, ulcer formation, stomal stenosis, dumping syndrome, vitamin and/or mineral deficiency, temporary hair loss, need for re-operation and/or death.
Q: What kind of preoperative medical workup is involved?
A: All patients are required to be seen by a nutritionist and psychologist. Patients may undergo further workup involving blood work, a chest x-ray, electrocardiogram (EKG), and seeing various consultants based on their specific medical problems.
Q: What is the typical hospital length of stay?
A: Depending on the procedure and approach, patients can usually expect to stay in the hospital for less than 24 hours for the LAP-BAND, and 1-2 days for a laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.
Q: What percent weight loss can I expect with the LAP-BAND vs. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass?
A: LAP-BAND patients can expect to lose 50-60% of their excess weight within the first 2 years.* Roux-en-Y gastric bypass patients can expect to lose 50-75% of their excess weight in the first year.*
Q: What about pregnancy following bariatric surgery?
A: As patients lose weight following surgery it can be easier to become pregnant. It is advisable not to become pregnant during your time of rapid weight loss. However after this time, it is fine to get pregnant.
Q: What type of follow-up is there after surgery?
A: Generally, patients will be seen 4 to 6 times within the first year after their surgery. Visits are then scheduled on an annual basis.
Q: Upon completion of an initial consultation, how long does it take until a patient under goes the procedure?
A: It may take anywhere from less than a month to up to 12 months depending upon the complexity of the case and the pre-approval process. Some patients are required by their insurance company to complete Physician Supervised Weight Loss Visits prior to being cleared for bariatric surgery and some are not.
*Results will vary between patients