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Weight Loss Surgery FAQs

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    Weight Loss Surgery FAQs


    Is Weight Loss Surgery painful?

    All of our surgeons perform the weight loss surgeries laparoscopically. It is minimally invasive-described as a "keyhole" surgery-with minimal pain. You will be given pain medication for any discomfort you may experience.

    Will I experience a lot of pain?

    Every attempt is made to control pain after surgery to make it possible for you to move about quickly and become active. This helps avoid problems and speeds recovery. Often several drugs are used together to help manage your post-surgery pain.

    How many incisions will I have?

    You will have three to five small incisions.

    How soon will I be able to walk?

    Almost immediately after surgery your surgeon will require you to get up and move about. This aids in your recovery and prevents complications.

    Will the doctor leave a drain in after surgery?

    This varies by procedure and surgeon but generally for the Gastric Sleeve & Gastric Bypass patients they will have a small tube to allow drainage of any accumulated fluids from the abdomen.

    This is a safety measure, and is usually removed a few days after the surgery (before your release from the hospital.) Generally, it produces no more than minor discomfort.

    How long do I have to stay in the hospital?

    Your hospital stay will depend on the type of weight loss surgery you have. Generally, hospital stays are between one and three days..

    When can I go back to work?

    You should be able to return to work three to five days after surgery as long as you do not need to lift, push or pull anything over 15 lbs for the first three weeks after surgery.

    When can I start exercising?

    You may begin light exercise only one week after surgery, initially walking then gradually increasing exercise as you lose weight.

    Will I be asked to stop smoking?

    Patients are encouraged to stop smoking at least one month before surgery.

    If I continue to smoke, what happens?

    Smoking increases the risk of lung problems after surgery, can reduce the rate of healing, increases the rates of infection, and interferes with blood supply to the healing tissues. Some of our surgeons are very strict on this policy; you may also be sent home without surgery because of the risk involved.

    Is sexual activity restricted?

    Patients can return to normal sexual intimacy when wound healing and discomfort permit. Many patients experience a drop in desire for about six weeks.

    Is it possible to lose too much weight after Bariatric Surgery?

    Most people are pushing to lose the last ten or fifteen pounds. We have seldom heard of someone complaining of being too thin.

    What makes you stop losing weight?

    Calories in vs. calories out. A thin person requires less and just by virtue of eating less, you should be in balance over time by eating smaller portions. Exercise is a key factor as well.

    Can I become pregnant after having Weight Loss Surgery

    Yes, Obesity produces a hormone imbalance that can make it difficult to become pregnant. Many patients are able to become pregnant after they have lost some weight. Women with weight loss surgery have had and are still giving birth to babies with normal birthrates.

    What is the most common reason for retaining or regaining weight? What is the best way to avoid these two pitfalls?

    The most successful patients focus on three key areas:
    1. Protein
    2. Water
    3. Exercise

    The most common reason for weight retention is hidden calories in foods, not enough protein and another issue would be lack of exercise. Exercise is key in any weight loss program. Building muscle mass increases one’s metabolism. Another key to long-term weight loss maintenance is developing good habits during your initial weight loss phase; for example: exercise, eating slowly, watching your portion sizes, limiting treats, etc. Regular exercise such as walking four to six times per week for 30 minutes will help you lose the weight and keep it off.

    Other than the obvious high calorie foods, are there foods Weight Loss Surgery patients should avoid?

    Each stage will be different. You should be sure to include high fiber and high protein foods. You will be eating a lesser quantity of food, but will still need to receive the same levels of protein and fiber as before. We recommend that you not drink carbonated beverages because they will most likely make you feel uncomfortable; carbonation may cause distention so that you may feel bloated.

    Is it wise to drink prior to eating since it's advisable not to drink with meals?

    You should drink in-between meals. The general rule of thumb is nothing 30 minutes before or one hour after, but that varies. If you drink too closely to your meal, you may fill your smaller stomach with liquid, leaving no room for food. If you eat during or right after, you will be pushing your food through your stomach, thus, eliminating satiety. Plus, drinking water in-between meals helps you to lose weight.

    How many meals should weight loss surgery patients focus on? Three meals or six smaller meals per day?

    The literature says three meals per day. Some follow this regime, others have three meals per day plus a snack. Yet others eat six smaller meals throughout the day (200-300 kcal each). Those that eat three meals might eat a 300 kcal breakfast, 500 kcal each for lunch and dinner, and a 200 kcal snack for example.

    Is snacking a no-no?

    Snacking can definitely sabotage your weight loss and the usual snack foods are a no-no. High carbohydrate foods will give you calories without satisfaction. If you’re hungry you should try to have only protein. If you need something sweet, try some fruit (it has fiber). You may also “snack on water” since hydration is also important.

    What are the risks/ complications associated with Weight Loss Surgery?

    One or all of the following conditions and/or complications are possible following all types of weight loss surgery procedures, as well as all types of bariatric procedures (example: endoscopy):

    Potentially serious complications
    a. Surgical:

    b. Pulmonary:

    c. Cardiovascular:

    d. Kidney and liver:

    e. Psychosocial:

    f. Death

    Other complications (may become serious):


    • Perforation of stomach/intestine or leakage, causing peritonitis or abscess
    • Internal bleeding requiring transfusion
    • Severe wound infection, opening of the wound, incisional hernia
    • Spleen injury requiring removal/other organ injury
    • Gastric outlet or bowel obstruction
    • Pneumonia, atelectasis (collapse of lung tissue), fluid in chest
    • Respiratory insufficiency, pulmonary edema (fluid in lungs)
    • Blood clots in legs/lungs (embolism)
    • Myocardial infarction (heart attack), congestive heart failure
    • Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats)n
    • Stroke (cerebrovascular accident)
    • Acute kidney failure
    • Liver failure
    • Hepatitis (may progress to cirrhosis)
    • Anorexia nervosa, bulimia
    • Postoperative depression, dysfunctional social problems
    • Psychosis
    • Minor wound or skin infection/scarring, deformity, loose skin
    • Urinary tract infection
    • Allergic reactions to drugs or medications
    • Vomiting or nausea/inability to eat certain foods/improper eating
    • Inflammation of the esophagus (esophagitis), acid reflux (heartburn)
    • Low sodium, potassium, or blood sugar; low blood pressure
    • Problems with the outlet of the stomach (narrowing or stretching)
    • Anemia, metabolic deficiency (iron, vitamins, minerals), temporary hair loss
    • Constipation, diarrhea, bloating, cramping, malodorous stool or gas
    • Development of gallstones or gallbladder disease
    • Stomach or outlet ulcers (peptic ulcer)
    • Staple-line disruption, weight gain, failure to lose satisfactory weight
    • Intolerance to refined sugars (dumping), with nausea, sweating, weakness


    What is done to minimize the risk vein thrombosis / pulmonary embolism (DVT/PE)?

    Because a DVT originates on the operating table, therapy begins before a patient goes to the operating room. All patients are treated with leg compression stockings and possibly in some cases they are given a blood thinner prior to surgery. The major preventive measure involves getting the patient moving and out of bed as soon as possible after the operation to restore normal blood flow in the legs.