Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery FAQ
1. Am I a candidate for weight loss surgery?
Weight loss surgery is recommended for people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or greater (approximately 100 pounds over the ideal body weight for men or 80 pounds for women) or those who have a BMI between 35 and 40 and at least one significant obesity-related medical condition, such as sleep apnea, diabetes or heart disease.
You may also be a candidate for Lap-Band (gastric banding) surgery if you have a BMI of 30 to 34 and at least one other medical condition related to obesity.
2. Do I need a doctor’s referral to get started?
No, however, if you are seeing a family physician for diabetes, hypertension or other health issues, you may want to approach the subject with them.
3. Does insurance cover weight loss surgery?
It depends on the individual insurance carrier and whether or not weight loss surgery is offered in your policy. If your policy covers weight loss surgery, your insurance provider can tell you what health requirements are necessary for coverage. The office staff of the surgeon and practice you choose can also assist you with this information.
Contact us today for general bariatric pricing information, including self-pay pricing options.
4. How do I get started?
We encourage anyone who is interested in weight loss surgery to attend one of our FREE public information sessions (also called PI meetings), which are offered monthly throughout the area. Check the event calendar for upcoming sessions.
At these educational sessions, you will learn about:
- the surgical procedures available
- the application process
- any required pre-operative evaluation
These sessions are hosted by one of the two bariatric surgeon practices that perform surgery at NGMC. Some people choose the surgeon they relate to best and then choose a PI meeting based on their group. Others choose the first available session.
We encourage you to research our bariatric surgeons and learn more about them and their individual philosophies of care.
*It is required that all patients attend a PI meeting before progressing to the next stage of the bariatric surgery process.
5. If I don’t have insurance can I still qualify for surgery?
Yes! We offer some private-pay or self-pay options and discounts if you don't have insurance. Special financing options are also available. Click here to learn more about the cost of bariatric surgery.
6. What foods can I have after weight loss surgery?
The dietary requirements immediately after surgery will be discussed at great lengths by your surgeon and dietitian and can vary depending on the patient and procedure.
However, you can expect to be on a liquid diet immediately following surgery. Your surgeon will determine the next dietary level after this point, and their dietitian will be available for guidance on specific dietary requirements and necessary food items.
In general, you will want to stay away from foods that contain high sugar, high fat. Click here to learn more about the bariatric surgery diet.
7. What is dumping syndrome and does this happen with every weight loss surgery procedure?
Dumping syndrome can occur after eating foods that are high in sugar, high fat and high complex carbohydrates. It is a result of food passing too quickly into the small intestines and occurs primarily after Gastric Bypass surgery*, however, some patients who have undergone the Sleeve Gastrectomy procedure say they have experienced some of the same symptoms.
Some of the symptoms of dumping syndrome include: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea and fatigue.
*Not everyone who has the Gastric Bypass surgery will experience the same symptoms. Different foods may have a different effect on each person.
8. Is bariatric surgery safe?
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks. However, the risks are minimal when compared to untreated conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, which are all medical conditions that are associated with obesity.
We encourage you to talk more with your physician and/or the bariatric surgeon you choose, as the risks can vary based on procedure and patient health.
9. Will I ever need to go on diet again?
The goal of bariatric surgery is for you to never “diet” again. If you follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding dietary requirements and have adopted a healthy eating pattern, along with a healthier lifestyle, you should be able to maintain your weight loss. Not following the guidelines for eating properly and exercising puts you at risk for weight regain.
10. How long after surgery until I can return to work or usual activities?
Recovery time varies based on procedure and patient health, as well as the level of activity required to return to your normal everyday activities. Your surgeon will discuss this with you to determine the appropriate timeframe for recovery.
11. What kind of support is available or recommended after surgery?
The Bariatric Weight Loss Center offers support group meetings twice a month. Everyone is encouraged to attend. In fact, as part of your pre-surgery requirements, you will be required to attend these meetings.
Statistics have shown patients who attend support groups on a regular basis remain successful in their weight loss journey. Click here to learn more about our surgery support group meeting times.
12. What can I do if I start to regain weight?
If you had your weight loss surgery at least one year ago and have either started to regain weight or are afraid you might, the Bariatric Weight Loss Center at NGMC invites you to get the support you need from our Obesity Survivors Club.
13. What is life like post-bariatric surgery?
Recovering from bariatric weight loss surgery requires a commitment to making changes to both your diet and your everyday lifestyle. Click here to learn more about life after bariatric surgery.