10 Questions to Ask your Bariatric Surgeon

Weight loss surgery is not right for everyone, and should be considered carefully. Here are ten important questions to ask your weight loss surgeon when you’re considering bariatric surgery:

1. Do I qualify for a surgical or non-surgical bariatric procedure? 

The best candidates for surgical bariatric procedures are individuals who are severely obese with a body mass index over 40, 35 with obesity related conditions, and in some cases, a BMI of 30 with severe co-morbidities.

2. What type of medical tests do I need before surgery? 

Many bariatric surgeons require patients to undergo a thorough physical evaluation and undergo psychological testing to ensure that they are in good health for the procedure. Find out what types of tests and exams you will need to undergo prior to surgery.

3. What risks are involved with the procedure? 

Different bariatric procedures are accompanied by many risks, so you will need a detailed rundown of all risks and complications before you can pursue treatment. Ask about the specific risks beyond the risk of infection so that you can make the most informed decision.

4. How quickly can I expect to start losing weight? 

Some bariatric procedures make it easy to lose weight within a few weeks after the procedure, but it can take up to a month with others. Find out what type of timeframe you are working with so you have realistic expectations about the outcome.

5. Is the procedure reversible?

Only some bariatric procedures such as laparoscopic gastric band surgery are reversible or adjustable. Make sure you are comfortable with the idea of having a permanent procedure, and ask your weight loss surgeon about different options available.

6. How long is the recovery process?

Bariatric procedures such as gastric banding surgery generally have a shorter recovery process than gastric bypass surgery, and the length of recovery can vary depending on your state of health and how successful the operation was. Ask your weight loss surgeon what the recovery process looks like so you can plan accordingly.

7. Will weight loss surgery affect my ability to become pregnant?

Extreme weight loss can have an impact on your hormones and make it difficult to get pregnant. If you plan to have children within the next few years, find out whether you may be at risk for infertility.
8. What are the options for minimally-invasive surgery?

There are several methods and techniques used in bariatric surgery, and some doctors prefer to use minimally invasive procedures such as laparoscopic surgery to reduce surgery time. With laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon gains access through a small incision in the stomach and inserts a tiny camera into the incision to perform the procedure. This speeds up recovery time and may pose fewer risks than more invasive procedures.

9. What dietary changes will I need to make?

Restrictive weight loss surgery, malabsorptive weight loss surgery and combination surgery all require making dietary changes before and after the procedure. Your diet may be limited to liquids and pureed foods for several weeks after the procedure. Find out what the recommended diet plan is so that you know what to expect.

10. Will insurance cover my procedure?

Some bariatric surgeons will accept payment from an insurance company, while others will require the patient to pay out of pocket. Find out what your options are for financing so that you can stay within your budget.