Bariatric Surgery Frequently Asked Questions
There are always questions that come up often regarding weight loss surgery. Following are the answers to the most common questions we receive. If your question isn’t listed below, we invite you to contact us or schedule a consultation at one of our bariatric clinics in Victoria and Corpus Christi, Texas. We also encourage you to write your more specific questions to discuss with Dr. Chang at a consultation.
Q: How many patients are successful in losing their excess weight following bariatric surgery?
A: The majority of weight loss surgery patients will 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. The amount of excess weight loss will often revolve around your dedication to the post-operative lifestyle. Surgery is simply a tool, but you have the option to use it to it maximal effect…or not. Most importantly, always know that Dr. Chang and our entire ABSS family is available for you after surgery to ensure both your safety and renewed health.
Q: Is weight loss surgery reversible?
A: The Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass and Sleeve Gastrectomy are not considered reversible and the Lap-Band can easily be removed. With that being said, in cases where patients do not get the long-term lasting weight loss effect that they and their surgeon expect, the gastric bypass and gastric sleeve can be revised. Revision bariatric surgery requires a surgeon with experience in the procedures because of the higher risk. However, revision surgeries, when performed on qualifying patients can be very successful in helping patients lose weight.
Q: How is weight loss surgery performed?
A: Virtually all of the bariatric surgery Dr. Chang performs will be laparoscopic, meaning with several small incisions and special instruments. Laparoscopic surgery does not require large incisions in the abdomen like open surgery. Laparoscopic surgery reduces the risk of complications and shortens recovery after surgery. In rare cases, medical necessity may require conversion to open surgery – this possibility will be discussed during consultation with Dr. Chang.
Q: Is bariatric surgery the best treatment for obesity?
A: For some patients, weight loss surgery is the best chance at significant weight loss and long-term maintenance. Bariatric surgery is not magic and does require that patients adhere to dietary and exercise guidelines in order to be successful. Bariatric surgery is not suitable for all patients and for some, non-surgical methods will be more appropriate.
Q: What types of weight loss procedures are there?
A: Bariatric surgery is categorized into two types:
Restrictive Procedures limit the amount of food being eaten by decreasing the size of the stomach or increasing the restriction felt when eating. The sleeve gastrectomy and gastric band are considered restrictive bariatric surgeries.
Malabsorptive procedures include the gastric bypass where the stomach is decreased in size and the small intestine is rerouted to decrease the absorption of excess calories during digestion.
Q: Which weight loss procedure is best?
A: The decision about which procedure to choose is personal to each patient. What bariatric procedure is right for you is a decision best made between you and Dr. Chang. You will discuss the different operations that we provide as well as the unique risks and benefits of each procedure and how that will fit with your lifestyle.
Q: Is pregnancy safe after bariatric surgery?
A: Weight can greatly impact your fertility and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is common in obese patients. Many patients will find it can be easier to become pregnant after losing weight. It is advisable not to become pregnant for 18 months post op. As long as you are healthy, it is perfectly okay to get pregnant after 18 months.
Q: How often will I have follow-up visits after surgery?
A: Most of our patients will be seen somewhere between 4 to 8 times within the first year after their surgery. Then about once per year thereafter. Learn more about our bariatric follow up schedule here.
Q: How long does it take from the first appointment to get to surgery?
A: The timeline from the first consultation to bariatric surgery varies between patients, mostly based on insurance requirements. It can take anywhere from less than a month to up to 12 months depending upon the details of your specific case and the pre-approval process. Typically, self-pay patients are able to move more quickly through the process.
Q: What is ‘dumping syndrome’?
A: Dumping syndrome is a complication typically associated with the gastric bypass. It has symptoms including cramping, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea. Eating something too high in fat or sugar or drinking with a meal may cause dumping syndrome. While not life-threatening, it is very uncomfortable. On the plus side, it teaches you what not to eat and you will quickly learn to avoid the offending foods.
Q: Why is carbonation not allowed after surgery?
A: Fizzy, carbonated drinks contain carbon dioxide gas. The gas that you drink expands when it reaches your stomach and can cause pain or discomfort for your pouch. Carbonated drinks are associated with weight gain over time or insufficient weight loss. Carbonic acid also eats away your bone mass. This results in weak bones.
Q: Will I have nutritional deficiencies after bariatric surgery?
A: While deficiencies in vitamins and minerals can occur after weight loss surgery, you will be taking supplements and we will also be monitoring your levels with blood work at intervals after surgery. Nutritional deficiencies are easily prevented and simply managed if they do occur.
Q: Will I regain weight after surgery?
A: Studies show that most bariatric patients are successful in losing weight and keeping it off. However, this doesn’t come without hard work and dedication to a healthy lifestyle. Proper eating and exercise are your best bet to ensure excellent weight loss.
*Results will vary between patients.