Weight Loss Surgery FAQs
Commonly Asked Questions for Surgical Weight Loss Patients in Houston
What percent of patients successfully lose weight following weight loss surgery?
- About 90% of patients typically lose weight successfully after surgery. The long term weight loss is about 2/3 of their excess weight. Some people lose a little more, some a little less.
Will I have to go on a diet before I have surgery?
- Yes. Most patients are placed on a pre-operative diet, generally for 1-3 weeks prior to surgery, in order to shrink the size of the liver and reduce fat in the abdomen. This greatly helps with the surgery and makes the surgery safer.
Can I have bariatric surgery* if I smoke?
- We strongly recommend that you stop smoking for at least 3 months prior to surgery. Smoking will delay recovery and increase your complication rate. It is also very important to remain smoke-free after surgery because smoking significantly increases the risks of complications after surgery such as development of ulcers.
Will I have to diet or exercise after the procedure?
- Yes. Surgery is just a tool that will enable you to lose weight. Surgery will help you with the initial weight-loss and maintenance of the weight-loss, but it is ultimately up to you to make lifelong changes to be successful. This includes making right food choices, controlling portions, taking vitamin and mineral supplements as directed, getting plenty of fluid, rest and regular exercise. In addition, sufficient sleep and stress control may help to improve long-term weight-loss success and maintenance. Without these lifelong changes weight regain is likely to occur.
Can I go off some of my medications after surgery?
- With weight loss, you may be able to go off or reduce the dosage of many of the medications you take for obesity-associated co-morbidities, such as blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, lipid abnormalities, and type 2 diabetes. If you have a gastric bypass* or gastric sleeve* you may even be able to discontinue using or to reduce the dosage of your diabetes medications few days after surgery, consult with your Doctor and follow his or her recommendations, they are most familiar with your medications, and your individual conditions, and needs.
What kind of preoperative medical workup is involved?
- All patients are required to be seen by a nutritionist and psychologist. Patients may undergo further workup involving blood work, a chest x-ray, electrocardiogram (EKG), and seeing consultants, if needed, based on their specific medical problems.
How long after weight loss surgery will I have to be out from work?
- Following gastric bypass* or sleeve gastrectomy* you should consider being off work for one to two weeks. If your job is physically demanding and requires heavy lifting a longer period off work may be necessary. If there are questions, patients should consult with their surgeons.
When can I start exercising again after surgery?
- Walking is encouraged early post-surgery and, thereafter, on a regular basis to increase your physical activity level. Aerobic activities such as brisk walking, stationary biking, elliptical machines, etc. may be engaged almost immediately after surgery and are limited generally by the degree of discomfort that these activities cause. Activities that are more strenuous or that involve lifting weights are generally discouraged for four weeks after surgery.
What is the typical hospital length of stay?
- Depending on the procedure and approach, patients can usually expect to stay in the hospital for 1-2 days for a laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass* or sleeve gastrectomy*.
When can I get pregnant after weight loss surgery? Will the baby be healthy?
- We recommend that you wait approximately 18 months after surgery to become pregnant due to the possibility of nutrient deficiencies during the weight-loss period. Obesity is a major cause of infertility and as patients lose weight it can become easier to get pregnant. It is important to practice effective contraception other than birth control pills during this period to avoid getting pregnant.
- With appropriate nutrition and vitamin/mineral supplementation, bariatric surgery does not cause growth or development problems for offspring. In fact, studies find that women who had bariatric surgery have improved pregnancy and offspring outcomes than those who are affected by severe obesity and have not had bariatric surgery.
What type of follow-up is there after surgery?
- Generally, patients will be seen 4 times within the first year after their surgery. Visits are then scheduled on an annual basis.
Will my skin sag after and bariatric surgery*? Will I need to have plastic surgery?
- Whether or not your skin will sag after surgery depends on your age, sex and on how much weight you lose. Some patients will choose to have plastic surgery. We recommend waiting until your weight stabilizes before having plastic surgery.
Will I lose my hair after bariatric surgery*?
- Some hair loss is common following surgery and typically occurs between the third and sixth months following surgery. This is usually transient and adequate intake of protein, vitamins and minerals will help to ensure hair re-growth.
*All weight loss claims are due to surgery. Results will vary by person and are based upon the patient, the surgery type and the compliance with the aftercare program.