Discussion Points with Patients and Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why should I consider bariatric surgery?
A: Patients with a BMI >35 have a metabolic disease. This disease impacts many organ systems and increases morbidity and mortality which can shorten your life span and quality of life.
Q: What are the qualifications for weight loss surgery?
A: The most common insurance and bariatric center requirements include:
- Patients between 18-65 years old
- Patients who have previously failed medically supervised weight loss (documentation requirements of failed attempts ranges between 3-12 months,
- Psychological evaluation prior to surgery
- Nutritional consultation
- No smoking or tobacco products for 8 weeks prior to surgery and no tobacco post-surgery
- Documentation of no reversible endocrine condition or other medically reversible conditions causing obesity
- Documentation of no active substance abuse
Q: Will my insurance cover bariatric surgery?
A: You will need to contact your insurance company to see if bariatric surgery is covered in your policy. There are many steps involved in the bariatric process including pre-surgical evaluations, lab work, and nutrition counseling. Be sure to ask if these are covered. Many insurance plans will require a predetermined number of nutrition visits and months of medically supervised weight loss prior to surgery. Make sure you ask how many months are required in your plan.
Q: How long will I be off work after surgery?
A: You can expect to stay overnight in the hospital after your surgery. Longer hospital stays may be needed if any complications occur. Most people return to work within 2 weeks after surgery. You may need additional time off if your job involves heavy lifting.
Q: Is weight loss surgery safe?
A: The fatality risks for weight loss surgery are ~2%. Both orthopedic and gallbladder surgery have higher rates of risk of complications than weight loss surgery does. Patients have higher rates of morbidity and mortality for staying morbidly obese. Some of the most common complications include dehydration, blood clots in the legs or lungs, and leaks.
Q: What changes in medications and supplements are required after surgery?
A: Medication dosages for ongoing chronic issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol should be closely monitored. Extended release medications should be changed to regular release formulas.
- All medications after surgery need to be liquid, crushed or chewable for the first two months.
- Oral contraceptives may not be fully absorbed after gastric bypass, potentially decreasing their effect.
- Aspirin, NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, Mobic) and steroids should be avoided.
- You will be required to take lifelong bariatric specific vitamins, supplements (B12, calcium, iron) and antacids (famotidine).
Q: What changes will I have to make to my eating habits?
A: Committing to bariatric surgery is committing to a lifestyle overhaul. Bariatric surgery is just a tool used to help you change your eating habits for good. In the months leading up to your surgery, you’ll work with our nutrition team to form a plan for healthy eating that’s sustainable for you long term.
Q: Is my surgery reversible?
A: At Reedsburg Area Medical Center, we are proud to offer three surgical options for weight loss. Depending on the surgery you choose, it may or may not be reversible. Each procedure is discussed in detail at your first bariatric appointment and at our virtual bariatric seminar.
Q: Will I need cosmetic surgery after I lose the weight?
A: Many people will have excess skin after their surgery, it means you have successfully lost the weight! We do offer cosmetics and body contouring, but keep in mind that most insurance companies will not pay for this service.