Deciding whether bariatric surgery is right for you can lead to a number of questions. Getting accurate answers is important. Surgeon Michael Mahoney, DO, with LVPG Surgery–Health & Wellness Center at Hazleton, as well as LVPG General and Bariatric Surgery–Steamtown, answers 10 of the most frequent questions he is asked by patients who are looking for weight-loss solutions.
Is Bariatric Surgery Right for You?
Surgeon Michael Mahoney, DO, has answers to frequently asked questions about bariatric surgery
1. Am I a candidate for bariatric surgery?
Qualification is based off BMI (body mass index: a height and weight calculation), and this requirement differs depending on other medical conditions. If there are no medical conditions, the BMI is 40. If you have an obesity related illness, it goes to 35. Continue monitoring this because there may be some changes in the very near future lowering requirements.
2. Is bariatric surgery safe?
There are always risks with surgery, but bariatric surgery is something I would consider safe. It is done in a setting where a patient can be evaluated and optimized before surgery. It’s also much safer than staying obese.
3. Will I ever be able to eat normally and go out to dinner again?
‘Eating normal’ will have new meaning after bariatric surgery, but yes, you will be eating regular foods. You can certainly go out to eat, go on vacation and live a normal life. By entering our program, you will be educated on how to make healthier choices in those circumstances.
4. Which procedure should I have done?
There are a few different options for weight-loss surgery, all with different pros and cons. This is something your surgeon will discuss with you on an individual basis to decide which one fits you best. We also provide minimally invasive approaches to bariatric surgery, including the use of robotic surgery systems, which result in quicker recovery for most people.
6. Will I have a lot of excess skin after I lose weight?
Excess skin is a major concern for bariatric patients, and again, this differs from person to person. I often remind my patients that having excess skin is healthier than having excess weight. In many cases it’s not as big of a problem as people think it will be. In cases where patients are having difficulties due to excess skin, there are options for skin removal, often consulting with a plastic surgeon.
7. How much weight will I lose with bariatric surgery?
This is a very common question, but difficult to answer. Every person is different – different starting weights, different ages, different physical ability. On average a patient can expect to lose anywhere between 60-80% of excess weight.
8. Will I gain all the weight back?
The goal of the bariatric program to keep patients engaged after surgery to continue the lifelong process of being healthy. There are some cases where weight is gained back, however most instances of weight gain that I have seen are still below the person’s starting weight.
9. How does bariatric surgery work?
Bariatric surgery works by restricting how much one can eat, and how much food gets absorbed. Depending on the procedure chosen, it can also have an appetite-lowering effect.
10. Can I get pregnant after bariatric surgery?
Yes – in fact fertility can often increase for female patients. It’s recommended to be on reliable birth control at the time of entering the program and avoiding getting pregnant for 1-2 years after surgery. After that it can be a very normal process, just be certain to continue with your vitamins and make your OB doctor aware of your previous surgery.
What else should you know before bariatric surgery?
Following bariatric surgery, you will need to be off from work for a few weeks: For light duty jobs, plan on 1-2 weeks. For jobs that include lifting or strenuous activity, 4 weeks. After that, it is back to normal.
We believe that feeling fully informed about your weight-loss surgery – including what to expect before, during and after the procedure – leads to better results.
That’s why the first step to joining the bariatric surgery program at LVHN is all about education. Sign up for one of our free informational events. We hold them many times a month, so it’s easy to find a session that fits into your schedule. Or, watch our informational videos online. We also offer informational events in Spanish.
Start on the path to a healthier you. Register for an informational event today.