The following are some of the most common questions about weight-loss surgery. Catawba Valley Medical Center Surgical Weight Management Center hosts informative bi-monthly seminars to answer your questions and introduce you to people who have undergone weight-loss surgery. Click here to view our upcoming information seminars and to register.

What health issues can weight loss surgery help to resolve?

Health issues that often improve following weight loss include diabetes, heart disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, sleep apnea, respiratory insufficiency, high cholesterol and weight-induced arthritis.

Will insurance cover surgery?

Coverage depends on your individual insurance plan. You can learn more about working with your insurance company at our information seminar. If you do not have insurance coverage, learn more about the financial options available to you by calling our office at 828.326.2082.

How soon will I start to lose weight?

You will start losing weight immediately after surgery but you may not notice any loss until the second week. The weight loss after gastric bypass and the sleeve gastrectomy is initially rapid, with a slowing about nine months after surgery. At the four week follow-up visit, we typically see around a 15-20 pound weight loss. This depends on how much the starting weight was. The heavier the starting weight, the more weight that is lost.

How much weight can I expect to lose?

Results depend on your motivation and cooperation with the program, but generally, most patients will lose 50 to 70 percent of their excess body weight; some patients can lose more.

Can I regain weight?

With the gastric bypass and the sleeve gastrectomy, weight-loss continues up to 18 months and then plateaus. Depending on the size of the stomach pouch and the type of food eaten, some patients can experience a 20 to 30 pound weight regain after two years. That is why it’s very important that you use the stomach pouch as a tool, and follow the instructions given to you by the dietitian on how and what to eat.

Is it possible for me to get too thin?

It is unusual for a person to become too thin after bariatric surgery. These operations still allow you to ingest and absorb a sufficient amount of calories (about 1,000-1,500) so that you do not become too thin. With time, you will be able to eat more than you were able to immediately after surgery, but portion size will be smaller prior to surgery.

How long will I be in the hospital?

Although each individual is different, most gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy patients have a one night stay in the hospital after surgery.

When can I drive?

You may resume driving 24 hours after you have stopped taking your pain medication. The first week or so after surgery, you may still feel pretty sore across the abdomen and that may impede your ability to brake quickly or suddenly.

How long before I can return to work?

The answer to this question is, it depends. It depends on the procedure you have and the type of work that you do. If you have a relatively sedentary job and do not do a lot of heavy lifting (greater than thirty pounds), you are usually able to return to work within one to two weeks after surgery. If you have a more physical job, then you may need to be off as long as 4-6 weeks.

Will I require vitamin supplements after weight loss surgery?

Patients undergoing bariatric surgery will require a daily vitamin supplement for the rest of their lives.

What is “dumping syndrome”?

Eating simple sugars (such as sugar, honey, and corn syrup) or high-fat foods can cause dumping syndrome in patients who have had gastric bypass surgery. This occurs when these products are “dumped” from the stomach into the intestine at a rapid rate. Water is pulled into the intestine from the blood stream to dilute the sugar load. This flush of water causes symptoms that can include diarrhea, rapid heart rate, hot flashes or sweating and clammy skin and dizziness.

Can I get pregnant after bariatric surgery?

Most doctors recommend that women wait at least 18 months after the surgery before a pregnancy. Approximately 18 months post-operation, your body should be fairly stable (from a weight and nutrition standpoint), and you should be able to carry a normally nourished fetus. Consult your surgeon as you plan for pregnancy.

Will I need plastic surgery after my weight loss surgery?

After a large amount of weight loss, you may find yourself with excess skin in various places. Plastic surgery may be an option 18-24 months following surgery once your weight has stabilized. This is typically performed by a plastic surgeon experienced in this field. The plastic surgeon will evaluate you and decide with you what areas need “tightening” up. Unfortunately, this is cosmetic surgery and not covered by insurance, however, there are many plastic surgeons that are flexible and may offer a discount or work out a payment schedule with you.

What health issues can weight loss surgery help to improve or resolve?

Health issues that often improve or resolve following weight loss surgery include diabetes, heart disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, sleep apnea, high cholesterol and weight-induced arthritis.

Bariatric surgery patients have significantly reduced rates of developing diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious diseases, and pulmonary disorders.

Patients also benefit from improved social and employment opportunities, self-image, self-confidence, ability to interact with others, and the capability to participate in recreational and physical activities, which lead to a higher quality of life.     

What impact does bariatric surgery on resolving Type II Diabetes?

Bariatric Surgery has been shown to improve or resolve Type II Diabetes. Immediately after bariatric surgery, blood sugar levels improve and diabetic medications may be stopped, even before significant weight loss.

Recent studies show that Gastric Bypass improves diabetes not only through rapid weight loss, but also by bypassing a portion of the small intestine from the flow of nutrients. This means that gastric bypass surgery improves diabetes even before weight is lost. 

Almost 90 percent of obese patients who undergo gastric bypass are free from diabetes one year after surgery. These results are typically persistent for the rest of life, as long as a healthy body weight is maintained. 

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