Frequently Asked Questions
Morbid Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater. Many associated health problems are closely linked to obesity including heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, arthritis, reflux, hormonal imbalances, stroke, depression, and even early death, to name a few.
How much you can eat after surgery depends on the procedure that you chose. For gastric bypass & lap-band patients the recommended amount is 1-2 ounces of food. Lap Sleeve patients can eat a little more because they have a larger pouch, the recommended amount for a sleeve patient is about 4 ounces, per meal.
As time goes on, you can eat more (as instructed by your medical team). Most people can eat approximately 1 cup of food after approximately one year from surgery.
Small frequent meals are recommended. A good practice is 3 small meals daily with 1-2 snacks daily. High calorie snacks should be avoided. These type foods are not nutrient dense, and are largely “empty calories.”
The guidelines are designed to improve the chance of long-term success in weight loss. If you don’t follow the guidelines, you may not lose the estimated percent of excess weight or you may have difficulty maintaining the weight loss. You may experience complications such as vomiting, diarrhea, or malnutrition after surgery.
Soon after surgery, we will require you to get up and move around. Patients are asked to walk or stand at the bedside the night of surgery and take several walks the next day.
Upon leaving the hospital, you may be able to care for all your personal needs, but you will need help with shopping and lifting, and with transportation during the initial recovery phase.
You should not drive until you have stopped taking pain medications (associated with surgery) and can move quickly and alertly. For laparoscopic procedures this may be 4-5 days, but open procedures may require longer.
Your ability to resume pre-surgery levels of activity depends on your physical condition, the nature of the activity, and the type of bariatric surgery you had.
Many patients return to normal levels of activity, with some restrictions, within 1-2 weeks of surgery, however, depending on the type of procedure, you may have some activity restrictions for 4-6 weeks. Most patients are able to return to work after 1-2 weeks.
Many problems with fertility improve as excess weight is lost. There are no major problems with childbearing following bariatric surgery. In fact, both Mom and baby are healthier in patients who have lost significant weight. However, there can be some complications with pregnancy during periods of rapid weight loss.
We recommend that patients wait at least 1-2 years after surgery to become pregnant in order to help avoid problems with malnutrition.
Each patient is different. Some patients have fairly elastic skin that shrinks as excess weight is lost. However, some patients end up with loose skin that may be unattractive. If you are interested, we can refer you to our plastic surgery colleagues for possible abdominoplasty (“tummy tuck”) or other procedures to help tighten excess or sagging skin.
The bypassed portion of the stomach remains in place but does not actively participate in the digestive process anymore. It still secretes fluid and some acid, which flows downstream into the intestine and eventually mixes with ingested food in the small intestine.
The stomach is still alive and if necessary, we can access the stomach with a small tube for nutritional supplements and vitamins.
Yes. The bypassed portion of the stomach remains normal. Complete reversal is seldom performed, however, as it can be a risky procedure and is usually unnecessary.
Yes. On rare occasion patients may need to have their band removed due to a complication, such as slippage, erosion, or infection of the band. In most instances, removal of the band is possible laparoscopically. Once the band is removed, the stomach is left intact or a gastric bypass can be performed based on the clinical situation.
Occasionally weight loss is poor following Lap-Band placement. This is usually due to excessive caloric intake and poor exercise habits. Some of these patients choose to convert their Lap-Band into a gastric bypass, again this is considered on an individual basis.
Yes. Certain other surgeries can be performed in conjunction with gastric bypass and band placement. You will need to discuss this with your surgeon during your consultation.