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Is Surgery Right for You?

What is weight loss surgery?

Weight loss surgery adjusts the amount of food a person can consume and/or digest. The most common procedures are:

  • Restrictive procedures, which reduce the amount of food your stomach can hold but do not interfere with your digestion
  • Malabsorptive procedures, which reduce the calories and nutrients your body can digest
  • Combined procedures, which restrict the amount of food you can comfortably take in, as well as the amount of calories and nutrients your body can digest

Am I a candidate for weight loss surgery?

Those who meet the following requirements are generally considered good candidates for bariatric surgery:

  • 100+ pounds overweight for men / 80+ pounds overweight for women
  • Body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher
  • Serious, elevated risk for life-threatening conditions or diseases, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, due to obesity
  • Obese for five years or more
  • Multiple unsuccessful attempts at traditional weight loss efforts
  • Age 18 to 65 (although sometimes younger)

How much weight will I lose?

The amount of weight you lose varies from individual to individual and depends on the procedure. Your goal weight will be determined by you and your doctor based on a healthy weight for your height.

  • Adjustable Gastric Banding - Weight loss occurs steadily over two to three years. After three years, most patients have lost 40 percent of their excess body weight.
  • Gastric Bypass Surgery - Weight loss usually exceeds 100 pounds, or up to 70 percent of excess body weight. Weight loss generally levels off in one to two years. It is common for patients to regain up to 10 percent of excess body weight.
  • Sleeve Gastrectomy - Weight loss occurs steadily for at least 12 months. Most people experience a weight loss of 60 percent of their excess body weight.

Are there risks or complications associated with surgery?

Gastric bypass surgery generally has fewer complications than other weight loss surgeries. However, all forms of weight loss surgery are major procedures that can pose serious risks and side effects.

How do I know which surgery is right for me?

Your surgeon will help you determine which procedure is best for you, taking into account your weight, medical history and lifestyle. You should also educate yourself on the different procedures available and, when possible, talk to people who have undergone the surgery.

How much do the procedures cost? Will insurance cover it?

Weight loss procedures generally cost between $20,000 and $35,000. Medical insurance coverage varies by state and insurance provider.

Will weight loss surgery improve my health?

Weight loss surgery can eliminate or improve most obesity-related medical complications, including:

  • Dermatitis 
  • Diabetes 
  • High cholesterol 
  • Hypertension 
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Reflux 
  • Sleep apnea 
  • Stress incontinence 

Improvements in body image and in the symptoms of depression are common. Weight loss has also been associated with improved fertility and more favorable pregnancy outcomes.

What qualifications should I look for in a surgeon?

Choosing a surgeon to perform your weight loss surgery is one of the most important decisions you will make. Take the time to do some research and be sure to ask:

  • How many years of experience do you have in bariatric surgery?
  • How many operations have you performed?
  • How many times have you performed a specific procedure?
  • Are you board-certified?
  • Are you a member of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery?
  • What is your commitment to follow-up care?
  • What is involved in preparing for surgery?

You will first undergo a rigorous medical and psychological screening. This process helps to identify the aspects of your health that will improve after surgery, as well as the risks associated with surgery.

This is also the time to gain a complete understanding of the life-long lifestyle changes you must commit to with weight loss surgery.

How long will it take to recover?

Depending on the procedure, most patients have a hospital of stay of one to three days.

Recovery times differ by individual and by procedure. If you receive adjustable laparoscopic banding, you may begin resuming normal activities after about one week. Gastric bypass surgery patients may take several weeks to recover.

How will my life change after surgery?

Weight loss surgery is a life-long journey. Lifetime follow-up care is recommended, and attending support groups is encouraged. You will need to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes a nutrition plan and regular exercise.

What is non-surgical, or medically managed, weight loss?

Dr. Joe Northup discusses non-surgical, or medically managed, weight loss. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

How is the medically managed weight loss program different from other diets?

Dr. Joe Northup discusses how the medically managed weight loss program is different from other diets. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Who is a good candidate for medically managed weight loss?

Dr. Joe Northup discusses who is a good candidate for medically managed weight loss. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

  

What is the success rate for a medically managed weight loss program compared to weight loss surgery?

Dr. Joe Northup discusses the success rate for a medically managed weight loss program compared to weight loss surgery. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

What is the cost of this type of medically managed weight loss program, and is it covered by insurance?

Dr. Joe Northup discusses the cost for medically managed weight loss and whether it is covered by insurance. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

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