Learn more about SCL Health's Nutrition and Weight Loss and Bariatrics services.
When it comes to shedding unwanted pounds, it’s a good idea to weigh your options. Many consider weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, a great way to meet their health goals.
Like any medical procedure, there are common questions asked throughout the process. Kyle J. Thompson, MD, a bariatric surgeon at Saint Joseph Hospital, has the answers you’ll need before and after your weight loss surgery.
Before Weight Loss Surgery
1. Am I a good candidate for weight loss surgery?
To qualify for bariatric surgery a person needs to have a body mass index (BMI) over 40. A BMI over 35 may also qualify if they have an obesity related comorbidity including type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, osteoarthritis, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.
The essential question is whether you’re a good fit for the procedure. While there are a few factors involved, motivation is a significant one. Being able to commit your body and mind to a healthy lifestyle will pave the way to a successful process.
2. What are the types of weight loss surgery?
Once you know that bariatric surgery is a viable option, you can familiarize yourself with the types of procedures. Saint Joseph Hospital offers two types of weight loss surgeries: vertical sleeve gastrectomy and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Talking with your doctor will determine which one is right for you, but both are minimally invasive.
3. How much weight can I expect to lose?
There’s no precise answer to this. Weight loss estimates depend on starting weight, height, and other medical problems. These estimates are unique and generated by a specialized American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery calculator. Most people, however, can expect to lose 60-70% of their excess weight after the procedure.
4. How effective is weight loss surgery?
If you’re someone who has tried all the exercise routines and diets and still can’t lose weight, you may be skeptical about bariatric surgery. However, according to Dr. Thompson, weight loss surgery is the most effective tool doctors have to help patients lose weight. Saint Joseph Hospital bariatric patients lose more weight than average nationwide programs.
5. What can I do, before surgery, to lower complication risks?
Once you decide on weight loss surgery, the next step is knowing how to prepare for the operation. Bariatric surgery risks can include intestinal leaking, losing too much weight, or not enough weight. However, sticking to an assigned diet before the surgery and taking blood-thinning medication can reduce risks.
After Weight Loss Surgery
6. How should I care for weight loss surgery wounds?
Caring for your wounds following surgery can prevent scarring and infection. However, SCL Health bariatric surgeons make only five small incisions in their procedures, and each incision is less than two centimeters deep. Along with the help of dissolvable stitches and superglue, this makes it so wound care is rarely needed.
7. What should I be eating after weight loss surgery?
Your doctor will provide you with strict dieting instructions before and after the surgery. You can expect a progression of clear liquids, pureed foods, soft foods, and after about a month, a modified regular diet. It’s important to note that your newly reduced stomach will require smaller portions.
8. Should I take any medication/supplements after weight loss surgery?
Medication isn’t necessary following bariatric surgery. Your doctor will check your vitamin levels to ensure you’re getting the essential nutrients. If you take unrelated medicines, they will need to be consumed in crushed or liquid form for the first two weeks. After those initial weeks, you should take a daily calcium/iron multivitamin.
9. What is the best way to prevent regaining weight?
Bariatric procedures are much more than surgery if you haven’t caught on already. Especially at SCL Health, a holistic program leads to a positive weight loss experience. After weight loss surgery, you’re encouraged to maintain the program’s diet, lifestyle, and exercise routines. You will also have access to SCL Health’s devoted dietitian team.
10. How many follow-up visits should I expect?
After weight loss surgery, you should expect surgeon, dietitian, and nurse practitioner follow-ups. These thorough check-ins are to ensure a successful weight evolution. “This is a unique surgical field, in that we join patients along a journey,” said Dr. Thompson. “We feel that patients in our program are patients for life. We want to continue that relationship with them after surgery.”
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, visit saintjosephdenverweightloss.org