Surgical Weight Loss - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is weight loss surgery important?

The goal of weight loss surgery is to help you lose a significant amount of weight in a safe and supervised way to improve your overall health.  Most patients will lose at least 60 pounds after surgery (50-60% excess weight), and we want to ensure that you have the right resources to maintain the weight loss in a healthy way.
 

How is surgery performed?

Surgery is performed through five or six, small, half-inch incisions (laparoscopic surgery). Laparoscopic surgical instruments, including a small camera, are placed through tubes inside these incisions, called ports. The abdominal wall is lifted off the intestines by putting air into the abdomen, a process called insufflation.  Both types of surgery are equally effective, and change the internal structure of the digestive system in exactly the same way, through two different approaches. PPG – Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery performs bariatric surgery laparoscopically.
 

What if I do not have insurance coverage for bariatric surgery?

Our Self-Pay Options Program is a cash-pay option that many patients have taken advantage of.  Financing your surgery offers many advantages such as fixed rates and a simple application process. 

Additionally, Parkview Health offers financial counselors who are here daily to assist our patients in their understanding their financial needs and options.
 

How long will it take before I can have surgery?

This is dependent on upon your insurance requirements and the changes you need to make before surgery.  You are generally in the pre-operative evaluation and preparation period for 3-6 months before you will be able to have bariatric surgery.  Often this is related to the insurance requirements that we must meet in order for you to get an approval for surgery.  Consequently, it is very important that you complete the pre-operative steps that are ordered from your surgeon; you are able to comply with diet and exercise changes that are given to you; and you are able to fully commit to lifestyle change.
 

What will my recovery be like after surgery?

Everyone is different in their response to surgery and their healing rate.  Depending on your surgery type, you are in the hospital for 1-2 nights.  During that time, you will be up and walking several times a day, you will be introduced to the diet you will be following post-operatively, and you will be assessed for any signs of complications during that time.  Expect to have some pain/discomfort and this will be managed with pain medication while you are in the hospital.  You will also be discharged on appropriate pain medication when you leave the hospital.  Expect to be sore with movement, but walking is important because it helps prevent post-operative complications such as blood clots and pneumonia. 
 

What are the risks of bariatric surgery?

The potential risks associated with bariatric surgery are the same as any other major abdominal surgery: bleeding, infection, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary emboli, bowel obstruction, and leaks.
 

When can I start activity again after surgery?

You will take short walks while you are in the hospital. The key is to start slow. Listen to your body and Dr. Pfister. If you lift weights or do sports, stay “low impact” for the first month (avoid competition, think participation). Build slowly over several weeks. If you swim, your wounds need to be healed before you get back in the water.  Your team at PPG – Weight Management & Bariatric Surgery will build an exercise plan that is right for you.
 

Can I get pregnant after bariatric surgery?

Most young women are much more fertile after surgery, even with moderate pre-op weight loss. It is very important to understand that birth control pills may not work as well during the time your weight is changing. For this reason, having an IUD or using condoms and spermicide with ALL intercourse is necessary. Menstrual periods can be very irregular, and you can get pregnant when you least expect it! It is advisable that patients wait at least 18 months after bariatric surgery to become pregnant.  This allows for maximum weight loss, stabilization of the weight loss you are experiencing and an opportunity to have developed healthier lifestyle behaviors.
 

How do my eating habits change after surgery?

Our team will explain what and how you should eat before and after surgery. In general, patients will be on a liquid diet two-weeks prior to surgery in order to shrink the liver and improve the visualization of the stomach during surgery.  After surgery, you will also be on a liquid diet for four weeks, then you will gradually return to eating a normal diet in smaller amounts. We usually recommend that patients limit their intake of food to ¼ cup, or two ounces, of food at each meal. Eventually, you will be able to eat larger portions.

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