Are you thinking about getting weight loss surgery? Then you may have questions, such as these:
How Much Weight Will I Lose?
How much weight you lose in the first year after surgery depends on the type of surgery. You may lose between 50% and 70% of your extra body weight within two years after surgery.
How Do I Find a Surgeon?
When you're considering bariatric surgeons, ask the following questions:
- Are they board-certified by the American Board of Surgery?
- Are they members of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery?
- What’s their success rate?
- How many weight loss surgeries do they perform each year?
- How often do their patients have complications? What side effects are most common?
Look for a center or hospital that offers educational seminars, or for support groups that you can turn to before and after your operation.
What Should I Expect Before the Surgery?
Your doctors may ask you to lose some weight before surgery to show your commitment to change, and to improve your health. Some surgeons ask people to try to lose 15 pounds to 30 pounds before surgery.
If you smoke, your doctor will likely tell you to quit, both for your long-term health and to cut the chances of problems from your operation. Smokers are more likely to have complications, such as pneumonia, from surgery.
You may also meet with a nutritionist about changing the way you eat. When people start building better food habits before surgery -- eating smaller portions, eating slowly, paying closer attention to the nutritional makeup of meals -- they often adapt better to life after surgery.
The process may also require a psychological evaluation.
What Are the Risks?
You should get a thorough checkup to find any potential problems before surgery. Using an experienced and qualified surgeon is also critical.
There’s also a chance of getting medical problems due to nutritional deficiencies such as anemia. Your doctor will want to monitor your nutritional health with regular checkups as well as have you follow a healthy diet and exercise plan that may include taking supplements.
What’s the Recovery Period?
Because of new techniques, weight loss surgery can often be performed with minimum invasion, via small incisions. In a few centers around the country, weight loss surgery is even done on an outpatient basis.
How Do I Pay for Surgery?
Paying for weight loss surgery yourself is very expensive. A typical weight loss operation can run from $20,000 to $25,000. There may be financing options; check the terms carefully so you know what you're getting into.