13 Questions to Ask Your Bariatric Surgeon

13 Questions to Ask Your Bariatric Surgeon

There’s more to weight loss surgery than meets the eye. If you are thinking about getting bariatric surgery, then there are a few questions you need to ask your bariatric surgeon before undergoing any sort of procedure. In this article, we underline the 13 most important ones. 

1. What Is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery refers to any weight loss surgery, including procedures like gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bands, and BPD/DS (Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch). For more information on each, check out our 101 Pocket Guide to Bariatric Surgery, where we outline the different types of surgery, their advantages and disadvantages, and the difference between robotic and laparoscopic procedures. 

Be sure to discuss which procedure would work best for you with your bariatric surgeon, and ask all the questions you want about that particular surgery, including how it works, the risks, the recovery time, and post-surgery care.

2. Am I A Candidate For Bariatric Surgery?

We have a full article to help determine who is a candidate for bariatric surgery. In short, to qualify for weight loss surgery people need to match a few requisites:

  • When a person has a BMI (Body Mass Index) of over 40. 
  • When someone is over 100 pounds overweight.
  • When they have a BMI greater or equal to 35 but with an obesity-related illness (such as type II diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, osteoarthritis, gastrointestinal disorders, heart disease, etc.)
  • Have at least six months of supervised weight-loss attempts

You should always consult with your doctor as there may be other non-surgical options worth exploring first, or other underlying factors that might make you suitable for weight loss surgery.

3. Do I Need To Get Medical Tests Before The Surgery?

Yes! Your surgeon will ask that you fulfill a series of surgical, medical, nutritional, and psychological evaluations before being cleared for the process. To do this, you will probably need to meet with a team of experts which may include a primary care doctor, a surgeon, an anesthesiologist, a dietitian, a psychologist or psychiatrist, a nutrition expert, and other specialists depending on your medical and health conditions. 

Ask your bariatric surgeon which tests you need in order to qualify for bariatric surgery.

4. Will My Insurance Cover The Procedure?

This depends on your insurance coverage and if your surgeon accepts payments from an insurance company. At Colorado Bariatric we are always looking to offer the best benefits and financing options to our patients. Take our free insurance evaluation to help you determine the benefits of your insurance card and let you know if your insurance can cover your bariatric procedure.

5. How Quickly Will I Lose Weight?

It depends on multiple factors, including the patient’s current status, the recovery process, the post-surgery care, etc. But normally, people who undergo bariatric surgery can expect to lose weight a few weeks after the procedure. However, some may start to see results even a month after surgery. Ask your doctor about the timeframe for each particular procedure and don’t forget: patience and consistency are key!

6. Are There Any Risks?

As with any other surgical procedure, there are risks (we also explain this a bit further in our 101 Pocket Guide to Bariatric Surgery). A few of them are:

  • Infection
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Reactions to anesthesia
  • Blood clots
  • Lung problems
  • Leaks in the gastrointestinal system
  • Death (rare)

There are also some long-term risks and complications that can vary depending on the type of surgery. These can include bowel obstruction, hernias, gallstones, low blood sugar, ulcers, acid reflux, vomiting, dumping syndrome, or even the need for a second procedure.

Ask your doctor what risks are involved in the procedure you’re interested in before making any decisions. 

7. Is Bariatric Surgery Reversible?

Most bariatric procedures are permanent. The exception would be the gastric band procedure, which can be adjustable or reversible. Be sure to discuss this thoroughly with your doctor before undergoing a permanent procedure.

8. Is There A Minimally-Invasive Option?

Even though all surgeries are, by nature, invasive procedures, the best option for a minimally invasive one will always be robotic bariatric surgery. It’s the procedure carried out at Colorado Bariatric thanks to the fact that it has technologically advanced control, better suturing capabilities, and fewer complications. Ask your surgeon if robotic bariatric surgery is a possibility.

9. What Do I Need To Do In Order To Prepare For Bariatric Surgery?

This will depend entirely on your team of experts, including your bariatric surgeon. You may be required to undergo a special dietary regime, prepare yourself mentally and psychologically, and other activities to lower the risk of complications. Ask your doctor what they recommend and follow their instructions to the letter to minimize risks.

10. How Long  Will It Take To Recover?

The recovery process for a bariatric procedure will depend entirely on the type of surgery. For example, a gastric band procedure will have a shorter recovery time than a gastric bypass. Also, the time it takes to recover depends on each individual’s health. Ask your doctor what the average recovery time is for the specific procedure you are planning to undergo.

11. What Care Do I Need Post-Surgery?

You will need to follow special instructions post-surgery. Ask your bariatric surgeon what medicines you will need to take, if you need help from someone at home, what your wounds will be like and how you are expected to take care of them, how long you need to wait before physical activity, and if there are any other special instructions to follow. 

12. Do I Need To Change My Diet?

Yes. As we already mentioned, part of the previous evaluations that any patient needs in order to qualify for weight loss surgery include psychological and nutritional evaluations. This is because the patient needs to be in the right mindset in order to change his or her habits for the better, including diet, exercise, and other health practices. Also, don’t think of it as a diet – it’s a new way of living, full of healthy choices and habits in order to keep the weight off and make your procedure a successful one!

Also, right after the surgery, your doctor may limit your diet to liquids and puréed foods in order to facilitate the digestive process. Ask your bariatric surgeon about all the dietary changes you will need to make both before and after the procedure.

13. Can I Get Pregnant After Weight Loss Surgery?

Weight loss surgery is meant to help with extreme weight loss for individuals who are morbidly obese. While it is intended to help patients with excess weight, type II diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, osteoarthritis, etcetera, extreme weight loss can result in hormonal changes that can make it difficult for females to get pregnant. Ask your doctor if you are at risk of infertility and decide on an action plan with them if you are looking to have children in the years following the procedure. 

These are a few of the questions you should ask your bariatric surgeon before undergoing bariatric surgery. Your doctor knows best and will always put your health first and foremost, so be sure to listen carefully and always remember: there are no stupid questions when it comes to healthcare. Find out more about our robotic bariatric surgery processes or contact us to find out if bariatric surgery is right for you.

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