FAQ

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?

The non-surgical weight loss is a component of our new comprehensive weight management program. We've had a lot of experience here doing weight loss surgery, but we want to build our program into the most comprehensive and robust program we could possibly make to take care of all patients that desire to live a healthier life and want to seek out weight loss.

Click play to watch the video or read video transcript.

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

The aspects of non-surgical weight loss is more about the overall behavioral change for patients. It's not a diet, or not a fad, or not a trick, so we have different components and different avenues for people to go down to achieve their goals they want to with their weight. Things like diet and exercise education, there's a fitness component and training sessions as well as meeting with dietitians on a monthly basis.

We also have meal replacement programs for our patients to control their calories, control their intake, as well as some of the newer weight loss medications have been very successful in certain patients.

This program is different from a weight management aspect in the fact that it's not a traditional diet. When patients look at diets, they think of tricks and eliminating this or changing this or fad diets, and those are just not successful long-term. It's been proven many times in the literature not to be successful. We focus on behavioral change and not looking at it as a diet, but simply education and changing people's lifestyles to help them lose weight.

Click play to watch the video or read video transcript.

Who is a good candidate for medically managed weight loss?

Candidates for our weight loss program is essentially anybody that wants to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle. As a comprehensive program, we'll have aspects that range from surgical weight loss, to meal replacement programs, to weight loss medications, to simple diet and exercise counseling, so anybody that wants to take a few pounds off or to lose substantial weight is more than appropriate for our program.

The biggest thing I think patients don't realize, or even physicians don't realize, is their body mass index, and that's the way we look at someone with a weight issue is their BMI, or body mass index. It's a simple formula that tells you how much you should weigh for how tall you are, and based on your body mass index determines what is the most appropriate strategy to help you lose the most weight and keep it off for a long time.

Looking at patients to see whether they benefit more from surgical weight loss or non-surgical weight loss is mostly based upon their body mass index. Patients with a BMI of 35 and higher have much more success with weight loss surgery, versus patients with 35 and under BMI are much more successful with non-surgical weight loss in most aspects.

However, that being said, a lot of patients that qualify for weight loss surgery may even not be interested in it or it's something they haven't thought of yet, so even though your body mass index might be 45, surgery just may not be ready...you might be right for it yet.

Click play to watch the video or read video transcript.

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

When you look at success rates from any type of weight loss program, the surgical weight loss is actually more successful, but those patients have more weight to lose and the statistics and data are much more studied and researched, so we see substantially higher weight loss from surgical patients.

However, with the non-surgical weight loss, even though the outcomes are highly variable, we do see tremendous success with those patients being able to lose weight and maintain it, because we focus on not a fad diet or a gimmick, but education, behavioral change, exercise components, those sort of things to help them not only have success in our program, but we give them the tools to be successful long-term.

Click play to watch the video or read video transcript.

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

The majority of our program is actually covered through insurance. Most of the time we're able to get patients seen under physician visits so that the majority of that is covered. We do have a program fee to cover our monthly visits to support groups, dietitians and for our fitness component as well.

Click play to watch the video or read video transcript.

What is a safe rate for me to lose weight?

A safe rate for losing weight is basically dependent upon each individual person. We focus mostly on their body mass index or BMI to determine how quickly someone or the expectation how someone should lose weight. With a medical weight loss or non surgical weight loss, typically one to two pounds a week is a healthy rate to lose weight. With surgical weight loss of course, the weight loss is more rapid, and especially initially after surgery, where it could be even up towards a pound a day once they get started.

Click play to watch the video or read video transcript.

How can I determine the best goals for my weight loss?

For someone to determine their goal for weight loss is mostly based upon what the individual wants to accomplish. Whether that person wants to get off their medications, prevent their self from going on medications, having more energy, that's the primary reason. We get too bogged down into worrying about weight as a number versus the quality of life someone has or the health problems people have. So looking at their goals, whether that's getting off their diabetic medications, getting off their blood pressure pills, spending more time with their family, or playing with their children, those are the goals we really look at for weight loss.

Click play to watch the video or read video transcript.

Can drastic, quick weight loss have a negative effect on my health?

Losing weight too quickly can actually negatively impact your health. We want to lose weight in a healthy fashion, in a sustainable continual fashion, and rapid weight loss actually can affect your kidneys, affect your liver in a bad way with too much drastic change. So a lot of the programs that advertise 30 pounds in 30 days or 60 pounds in 60 days are actually not the most healthy way to lose weight. We want to lose weight in a way where we're getting adequate nutrition and yet maintaining healthy habits.

Click play to watch the video or read video transcript.

How can I ensure long-term weight loss success?

long-term success with weight loss is around looking at this as a lifestyle. Not necessarily a diet or a fad diet or all the fad diets you see on, every 6 months there's a new fad diet to try or a new thing everyone's looking at, and these are all ineffective ways to lose weight long term. So really you should look at this as not a diet or not something to try, as more of a good habits to get into. In our surgical and nonsurgical patient's book, we don't expect anyone to be perfect. People still have dessert and people still have food they enjoy, but on a day to day basis, they have to be eating much better, much more good days than bad days. And getting them to good habits, and long term with diet and exercise, that'll make them more successful long term.

Click play to watch the video or read video transcript.