Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Weight Loss Surgery

Q. Does insurance cover the procedure?
A. Insurance will usually pay if it is not a cosmetic procedure and the purpose is to lessen the risk of other health problems secondary to obesity (cardiac, respiratory, sugar control, sleep apnea). However, you will need to check with your carrier to make sure they don't have any exclusions.

Q. Is there a weight limit for laparoscopic weight loss surgery?
A. Although there is no absolute limit, patients with a weight over 400 lbs or BMIs greater than 55 have a greater probability of having an open procedure.

Q. Is there a minimum weight required for obesity surgery?
A. The lower limit for weight loss surgery is 40 or higher. If you have major health problems related to obesity like diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea you may be a candidate with a BMI as low as 35.  You want to consider the surgery if you have already tried to loose weight with conservative measures.  This is usually not the first line of treatment.

Q. Can my surgery still be performed laparoscopically if I've already had abdominal surgery?
A. Abdominal surgery can result in scarring inside the abdomin.  These scars can cause the tissues to stick together making it difficult to get a good view of the anatomy. In most cases previous abdominal surgery is not a problem when performing the gastric bypass laparoscopically. Any previous abdominal surgery, especially upper abdominal surgery increases the chance of needing to be converted to an open procedure.

Q. Is gastric bypass surgery reversible?
A. Gastric bypass surgery is considered a permanent operation. Banding procedures can be reversed for medical reasons only if you suffered from severe malnutrition which is extremely rare.

Q. What are the long-term side effects of the gastric bypass surgery?
A. If one does not take their vitamin and mineral supplements they can suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Q. How long will I be in the hospital after the surgery?
A. About 3-4 days.

Q. How long after the surgery can I return to work?
A. Most patients can usually be back to work in 7-10 days after the laparoscopic gastric bypass. Everyone heals differently with different pain tolerances and this can vary among patients.

Q. Are there any special concerns regarding the anesthesia?
A. Anesthesiologists tailor their care around the needs of the patient.  They will help to make sure you wake up pain-free and are able to breath adequately on your own.  If they feel that you can not get enough air because of obstructive apnea or you are too sleepy they will help you breath with a ventilator until you are awake enough to breath without mechanical support.

Other Links:
Gastric Bypass Malabsorbtive Surgery
Gastric Stapling Restrictive Surgery
Cardiovascular Disease Prevention