home > is surgery for me? > questions to ask

Common Questions To Ask Your Bariatric Surgeon Before Having Weight-Loss Surgery

What types of weight-loss operations do you perform?

We offer the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, the duodenal switch, the LapBand®, and Vertical Gastrectomy. We perform all of these totally laparoscopically. Patients who are extremely obese and weigh over 500 pounds or patients with complex medical or surgical problems may not be candidates for the laparoscopic approach. We also do the same procedures with an open approach if necessary. We also offer revisional procedures to patients who have failed other weight loss procedures.

How many of each weight-loss surgery procedure have you performed?

We offer a broad range of complex laparoscopic procedures, and we have a combined experience of over 3000 laparoscopic operations. With regards to weight loss surgery, we have performed over 1000 laparoscopic obesity surgeries, over 650 of these weight loss procedures since November 2001. This number far exceeds the minimum of 125 procedures per year considered necessary to be a center of excellence.

Can weight-loss surgery be performed using minimally invasive techniques?

We perform all of these procedures using minimally invasive techniques. The cameras and instruments have evolved to offer superior visibility and access for precise dissection of tissues and associated blood vessels. We can do these operations in a reasonable amount of time (usually less than 3 hours) and with minimal blood loss. The benefits to the patient include: less pain, easier breathing, and a quicker recovery. Bear in mind, these operations are only as safe as the surgeon performing them, and complications do occur whether they are done open or laparoscopically.

Can I be considered a candidate for weight-loss surgery even though I have one or more associated health conditions related to my obesity?

Yes, but we may insist that you undergo a detailed heart and lung evaluation to be sure that you are safe for surgery. We occasionally ask patients to make special efforts to reduce their risk for surgery including losing 10% of your weight, using a CPAP machine to treat your sleep apnea, or taking a new medication to help your heart. In general, patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea are usually not "too risky" for surgery.

Which weight-loss surgery procedure is best for me?

Usually that is a decision that is up to you and your insurance company. In general, the LapBand® is the safest procedure but, requires a very motivated and compliant patient for success. It is a reasonable procedure for patients who are higher medical risk and/or have a lower BMI (between 35-50Kg/M2). The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is the most common procedure and most widely accepted by insurance companies. It is a reasonable procedure for patients with a BMI between 35-55Kb/M2. Patients who have BMIs greater than 50 Kg/M2 may not have adequate weight loss with this procedure. The Duodenal Switch procedure has the highest risk but tends to produce a greater long-term weight loss. The Vertical Gastrectomy can be done laparoscopically in very high risk weight individuals. The only good way to answer this question is to come to our support group or make an office appointment.

What are the risks involved with weight-loss surgery?

There are over 50 risks and complications associated with these procedures. Fortunately, major complications occur less than 5% of the time. A complete list of risks and complications will be reviewed with you at support group and at an office appointment.

How long will I be in surgery?

The operations range from 1-3 hours. Occasionally, we have had operative times from 4-6 hours, and this is usually because the patient is quite large or we are doing additional procedures.

What is the length of my hospital stay for my weight-loss surgery procedure?

The average hospital stay is 3 days. We do not force any patients out of the hospital and most request to leave. Patients who have complications often stay longer than 3 days. Occasionally, a patient may have a serious complication and be in the hospital for a month or more. We have 1-2 patients each year who stay in the hospital for more than 10 days.

How long will it be before I can return to pre weight-loss surgery levels of activity?

This ranges anywhere from 3 days to 6 weeks and depends on how active you were and what type of procedure you had. Most patients need about 2-4 weeks off from work. Patients who undergo the LapBand® procedure can usually return to work within 1 week if they desire. Even if you are doing well, you may feel quite fatigued from the starvation and need to avoid work until this resolves.

How will my eating habits change after weight-loss surgery?

You will be restricted to liquids for 2 weeks and then slowly progress to regular foods over 3 months. Total daily calories range from 500 calories/day early on to 1000-1200 at one year after surgery. Specific nutritional guidelines for each procedure are available in over postoperative diet guides.

Do you have information about weight-loss surgery costs and payment options?

Total costs vary from $5-$30,000 depending on what procedure you are having done. Usually insurance will cover some or all of the procedure. Please call us for specific details.

What is the typical excess weight loss and improvement of associated health conditions for your other patients?

Typical percent excess weight loss ranges from 50% to 90% depending on the procedure and your starting weight. This is an important question to discuss during your office appointment.

Do you have patients who are willing to share their weight-loss surgery experiences, both positive and negative?

Yes, you can come to the support group and ask other patients questions, or we can provide you with some names and phone numbers of patients who would be willing to talk to you. You can also view our patient testimonials.

What information can you give me to help family and friends better understand this surgery?

The best way to learn more is by attending one of our support groups. We also have a preoperative information guide that you may download.

What type of long-term, aftercare services (such as support groups and counseling) can you provide for me post weight-loss surgery?

We have monthly support groups and monthly online chat rooms where you can ask the physicians questions. You can sign up to receive our monthly email newsletter. We will also see you in the office for follow up several times in the first year and annually thereafter.

What do you expect from me if I decide to choose a surgical weight-loss solution?

We expect that you will comply with the entire surgical weight loss program including diet, exercise, and lifelong follow up.


Contact us via email or phone or register for an appointment.

Read about the Roux En Y Gastric Bypass, laparoscopic surgery, obesity help, and weight-loss surgery.

meet the doctors
meet the doctors