Bariatric Care - FAQ
What is morbid obesity?
If you're more than 100 pounds overweight with a body mass index (BMI)
above 40, you are considered morbidly obese. Morbid obesity is associated
with many health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart
disease, sleep apnea, joint pain, certain cancers and premature death.
How is eligibility for weight loss surgery determined?
Lake Huron Medical Center follows guidelines supported by the National
Institutes of Health to determine a patient's eligibility for weight
loss surgery. Rather than using weight, we use body mass index (BMI) as
a criteria for surgery. Individuals are candidates for surgery if they:
- Have failed previous attempts at weight loss in a medically supervised program
Have a BMI over 40 (calculate your BMI:
- Have a BMI of 30-39 with one or more medical co-morbidities (obesity-related
conditions), such as diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, etc.
- Are committed to the lifelong changes that include diet, exercise and behavior
- Are committed to lifelong follow-up medical care
What are some reasons an individual should not have weight loss surgery?
Individuals should not have weight loss surgery if they:
- Currently have a drug and/or alcohol addiction
- Have been diagnosed with unstable psychiatric disorders
- Are unwilling to comply with post surgery diet, exercise and behavior changes
- Are unwilling to commit to lifelong follow-up medical care
Is weight loss surgery right for everyone?
No. Surgery is not a solution for everyone. We only determine whether
a patient is right for surgery after a complete evaluation and discussion
with the patient. Because weight loss surgery is a life-altering procedure,
we want to make sure patients are committed to making the lifestyle changes
needed for a successful procedure.
What are the benefits of laparoscopic surgery?
Small incisions (most less than ½ inch)
Hospital stay is 1 to 3 days
Hospital stay of approximately 4 days
Patient usually returns to work in 2 weeks
Return to week in approximately 4 weeks
Less chance of hernias
More chance of hernias
Cosmetically more appealing
Complications more likely
Greater risk of infection
Can surgery be done laparoscopically if previous open abdominal surgeries
have been performed?
Each patient will be evaluated on an individual basis by the bariatric
surgeon. It is possible to have other laparoscopic abdominal procedures
after having open abdominal surgery. Our team believes that every patient
has the right to be given the opportunity to choose minimally invasive
surgery as an option.
What are the risks of weight loss surgery?
All major surgeries have risks of complications. However, risks can be
greatly reduced with an experienced bariatric surgery team and by carefully
following instructions before and after surgery. You will undergo an extensive
pre-surgical evaluation to optimize your medical condition and therefore
minimize risks of the surgery.
Does insurance cover the cost of the procedure?
Since most insurance companies consider surgery for morbid obesity a special
category, it is necessary that you contact your insurance company before
seeking a surgical consultation to see if the operation is a benefit under
your coverage - and if you are eligible for that benefit.
Many insurance companies require documentation from your primary care doctor
detailing your specific medical conditions, treatment plans and written
proof of supervised failed weight loss attempts with diet and exercise
in order to establish whether you have met their insurance criteria. Lake
Huron Medical Center has an insurance specialist in place to help with
the insurance authorization process.
What are the benefits of choosing Lake Huron Medical Center for my bariatric care?
Our Baratric team is focused on your individual success. Our experts will
work hand-in-hand with you to provide the best opportunity for success.
We begin with an application process and offer:
- Board Certified Surgeons
- A dedicated in-patient unit
- Easy accessibility
- An experienced bariatric program coordinator
- Trained registered dietitians
- Experienced registered nurses
- Exercise physiologist available with referral
- Medical assistants
- Extensive pre-surgical nutrition and lifestyle classes
- A commitment to excellence because you deserve compassionate, high-quality
bariatric care and support
How much weight does a patient lose after weight loss surgery?
Weight loss begins immediately after surgery. The amount of weight lost
and how fast it is lost depends on which weight loss surgery is performed
and the commitment of the patient to the process. Adjustable gastric banding
patients (Lap Band™), on average, can lose 50 percent of their excess
body weight. On average, sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass patients
can lose about 60-70 percent of their excess body weight.
How long is the hospital stay?
The length of the hospital stay depends on the type of weight loss surgery.
Generally, hospital stays are between one and three days.
Can the weight be regained?
Yes. Patients can regain some of the weight. The patient's overall
behavior and compliance with diet and exercise contribute to the long-term
weight loss success. We emphasize this surgical procedure is a "tool"
which, when used properly, will produce good results. Long-term follow-up
with the bariatric team is essential.
How does the diet change after weight loss surgery?
Each patient will be given a comprehensive list of appropriate and acceptable
foods and beverages at the time of the surgical consult and during the
pre-surgical nutritional classes. Patients will learn how to get the most
benefit from the calories consumed by eating nutritious meals. Frequent
meals are recommended but each one will be smaller and take approximately
30 minutes. Protein supplementation with shakes or bars, which should
be selected pre-surgically, is critical to maintaining good nutrition
What about vitamin supplementation?
A daily multivitamin is recommended. Your surgeon may also recommend other
supplements, as needed.
How does exercise fit in?
Exercise is an important success factor for weight loss surgery. Not only
does it burn calories, but it also improves mobility and overall health.
A referral to our exercise physiologist is available upon request or the
Blue Water YMCA can assist you with your excerise goals.
What happens to the excess skin?
The amount of excess skin depends on the total amount of the weight loss,
the patient’s age, smoking habits, amount of exercise and how much
the skin was stretched. Some patients elect to have a panniculectomy,
which is the removal of excess abdominal skin after substantial weight loss.
Can a patient become pregnant after weight loss surgery?
Yes. We recommend close follow-up by your OB/GYN during the course of
the pregnancy. We also have you meet with our registered dietitian to
ensure adequate nutritional intake during the pregnancy.
What about alcohol consumption after surgery?
We do not recommend that our patients consume alcohol. Alcohol can cause
marginal ulcers in the stomach pouch, which could cause bleeding. It can
also lead to severe nutrient deficiencies and is considered empty calories.
What about tobacco use after surgery?
We strongly recommend patients not smoke. Smoking may increase the chance
of stomach ulcers. It also increases the risk of complications in the
What are some keys to lowering health risks prior to surgery?
The keys to reducing the risk of complications and ensuring weight loss
are in the hands of the individual patient.
- Stop smoking now. It is the number one cause of preventable death and contributes
to poor health.
- Exercise before surgery, even if it's just walking.
- Prepare mentally. Weight loss surgery can be the beginning of a new life,
so be determined to make the most of this opportunity.
- Above all, the patient should listen to their medical team. Ask questions,
provide information and follow instructions carefully.