Frequently Asked Questions about Weight Loss & Weight Loss Surgery
Q. Can a woman still have children and nurse after bariatric surgery?
Absolutely, in fact, women who have had weight-loss surgery and have lost a significant amount of weight do have healthier babies than patients who remain morbidly obese. You do not want to become pregnant in the first year after bariatric surgery. After about one or two years after the weight loss stabilizes, though, it's perfectly safe to get pregnant and nurse.
Answered by: Dr. Brad Snyder
Q. Why do I need psychiatric evaluation before surgery?
There are two reasons. First, because an evaluation is required by our program and may be required by your insurance company. Second, because we need to assess how well you understand the surgery and its risks, and whether you have the ability to make the lifelong commitment required to maintain good health.
Q. How long does weight loss surgery take?
It depends on your physical condition and the type of surgery you have. In general, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours.
Q. What kind of staples are used in weight loss surgery? Will they set off metal detectors?
The staples are made of stainless steel or titanium and are very small. They will not set off metal detectors.
Q. Do men and women respond differently to weight loss surgery?
Not significantly. Both respond well, though men tend to lose weight faster than women.
Q. How old do I have to be to have weight loss surgery?
The American Society for Bariatric Surgery and National Institutes of Health recommend patients should be at least 18, although some have been as young as 14. This is primarily because younger patients may not have matured physically to the point that their body can handle the procedure or emotionally to the point that they can make a decision this important.
Q. Is there an age limit for weight loss surgery?
At NewStart, we will evaluate patients for a gastric bypass up to the age of 60. For patients between the ages of 60 and 65, we recommend the adjustable gastric band as there are fewer potential complications, and older patients do not handle complications well.
Q. Can weight loss surgery help me live longer?
Yes. On average, weight loss surgery increases life expectancy up to 6.5 years. By comparison, heart bypass surgery increases life expectancy by about 3.5 years.
Q. When can I go back to work after weight loss surgery?
The usual time frame for returning to work is 10 to 14 days.
Q. What kind of exercise regimen should I follow after surgery?
Exercise is an important part of your recovery. Patients begin walking the day of their procedure – they walk a little more the next day, a little more the day after that, and so on. As you get stronger, you should aim to reach 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day.
Q. Are there any limitations on the medicine I can take?
Diuretics and over-the-counter pain medicine should be avoided. Diuretics cause your kidneys to lose potassium, and most weight loss surgery patients already experience a reduction in potassium intake just because they're eating less. Over-the-counter pain medicines can cause ulcers in the small stomach and bowel. Always consult with your bariatric surgeon about the medications you are taking or wish to begin taking.
Q. Can I start smoking again after weight loss surgery?
We recommend strongly that you don't smoke. It increases the potential for lung problems after surgery, stalls the healing process, promotes infection and interferes with the blood flow to tissues that are healing.
Q. When can I resume sexual activity?
Sexual activity can resume usually within 7-10 days, but it depends on how well and how fast your wound heals and on your threshold of discomfort from the surgery.
Q. Should I worry about losing too much weight?
No. But if you are concerned about your weight loss, talk with your surgeon.
Q. Will I lose my hair after weight loss surgery?
Some patients experience either hair loss or thinning, typically in the first four to eight months after surgery. In most cases, it comes back naturally. You can help prevent hair loss by getting enough protein with meals and by drinking sufficient fluids during the day.
Q. When will my appetite return after weight loss surgery?
Every individual is different. Some people experience a return in appetite shortly after surgery, while for others, it takes longer. Usually, hunger returns three to six months after surgery.
Q. What are some potential complications of weight loss surgery?
They include gallstones, liver problems, hernia, staples in the stomach pouch that pull loose, leakage, blocked bowel and other risks typically associated with any surgery.
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