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Ask the Expert

Below is a collection of commonly asked questions regarding obesity and weight loss surgery.

General Questions

General Questions

  • Obesity is related to significant health risk and is often associated with a variety of medical conditions. It is usually defined as being 100 pounds or more above ideal weight and a BMI of 40 or higher. How do I determine my BMI? There is a BMI calculator on the home page of our web site.

  • Diseases or conditions associated with obesity such as: Type 2 diabetes, High blood pressure/Heart disease, Osteoarthritis of weight bearing joints, Sleep apnea/Respiratory problems, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Gallbladder disease, Depression, Infertility and/or menstrual irregularities, Skin breakdown, Swollen legs/Skin ulcers, Urinary stress incontinence, & Pancreatitis.

  • Lap Band® patients usually go home the same day. Sleeve patients usually go home after one to two nights and Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass patients typically remain in the hospital two days after surgery. We take a very conservative attitude toward recovery so some patients may need to stay longer.

  • When you return to work will depend on the type of work you do, your personal energy level and any restrictions your employer places on you. Patients have returned to work as soon as the next 4-7 days but the majority of patients take off 2-3 weeks. During the first few months after surgery, you will find that your body uses a great deal of energy for the healing process. This means that there is not a lot of energy “left over” for other activities. You will have days when you seem to have more energy, and others when you seem to tire easily. When you feel tired, take time to rest. However, the more you can do the better. Be sure to listen to your body and use common sense.

  • You need to wait at least 24 hours after taking the narcotic pain medication. If you don’t take this medication and you feel up to it you may drive the day after going home.

  • The more you move around the faster the gas will dissipate. Also avoiding the use of straws early on after surgery will help reduce the build up of additional gas. You may take over the counter Gas-X or drink (sip) warm tea or broth for relief.

  • The minimum recommended time is 12 months after you reach your goal weight. Ideally, you should wait 18 to 24 months after surgery before conceiving. Your body has just undergone some dramatic changes and needs time to adjust before entering the stress that pregnancy will place on it.

  • NO!!! Surgery is only a tool and the beginning of a new process and new life. After surgery, you will need to follow a progressive diet that is low in fat and sugar. Diet and exercise is still how weight loss and weight control are accomplished. You must commit to a change in your dietary habits and an exercise regime for maximum success.

  • Weight loss varies depending upon your pre-operative weight and your commitment to following the diet/exercise recommendations after surgery. On an average, people lose approximately 40-75% of their excess body weight depending upon which procedure you select.

  • You will be on a liquid diet for the first 2 weeks. Over the next 6 weeks, you will progress from a pureed diet to a soft diet to finally solid foods around week 8. Your diet will always need to be low in fat and sugar. Remember, when you begin to think about solid foods, you will want to avoid breads, pasta, potatoes, and rice at least initially. Most patients are able to tolerate a bite or two of these items by 6 months or so post-op.

    When you eat any meal, think PROTEIN FIRST!

    You will always have access to a nurse and a dietitian to answer any questions you have concerning food choices and good nutrition.

  • Yes. Any time you go through rapid weight loss, you can experience hair loss. This is generally a problem noticed from around 3 months to 9 months or longer after surgery. This is temporary and varies from person to person. The most important thing you can do to minimize hair loss is to follow the prescribed requirements of the program. Proper nutrition will not prevent hair loss, but it will put your body in the strongest position possible to minimize the effects.

  • You may resume sexual activity when you’re comfortable. This is usually about three weeks after surgery.

  • The skin incisions need to be sealed prior to going swimming in a pool or soaking in a tub. This is usually 2-3 days after surgery. Showering is fine.

  • Any medication that irritates the stomach should be avoided. This includes aspirin, ibuprofen, and NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Any physicians who treat you in the future should be made aware of your surgery, and aware of avoiding these drugs. However, there may be situations where these drugs are necessary for a short time. If you have any questions, always call your surgeon for guidance.

  • Once you have WLS you are at an increased risk for bleeding ulcers and the substances listed are known to contribute to stomach ulcers. Carbonation also can cause unpleasant gas and/or bloating.

  • Everyone is different. This depends on your particular skin elasticity. Exercise can certainly help. However, if you lose an excessive amount of weight, more than likely you will have some excess skin. Some patients opt for plastic surgery to correct this problem, but it is truly a personal decision and not usually covered by insurance.

    Most plastic surgeons require that your weight loss be complete, and your weight be stable for 3-6 months prior to plastic surgery.

  • The operation is a tool which helps you control your weight by requiring modification in your dietary intake. If you do not use it correctly, you can regain the weight you have lost. Three common culprits to poor weight loss or weight regain are: 1) Not exercising; 2) Drinking high calorie liquids; and 3) Grazing (eating little bits throughout the day).

  • Not yet, although some do not lose enough weight. The operation is a just a tool. It is still up to you to make the right choices when it comes to healthier eating and making exercise a part of your everyday life.