Frequently Asked Questions About Bariatric Surgery

For patients looking for long-term weight loss solutions, bariatric surgery might be an option if losing weight through diet and exercise has been unsuccessful.  

Common questions about weight loss surgery

Bariatric surgery can be a successful treatment for some people and it’s normal to be curious if the procedure is right for you. After bariatric treatment, you must be dedicated to making lifelong changes in your approach to food, nutrition and exercise.

Because obesity is linked to so many medical problems, it may be the right choice for your health goals. Keep reading to find answers to some of the most common questions about bariatric surgery.

What is the definition of obesity?

Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher. Along with putting you at risk for certain health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, it can also interfere with daily life. You may struggle with basic physical functions like walking or breathing. Additionally, you may experience social and economic impacts due to obesity. Losing weight can increase your overall quality of life. 

What are the main causes of obesity?

There is no one cause of obesity, and it’s not as simple as being a result of overeating. Research has shown that the major causes of obesity are tied to genetic, environmental and social factors. Obesity's root cause is often complex. Diet and exercise may not provide long-term weight loss if certain factors are involved, requiring alternative treatments for better results. 

What is BMI based on?

BMI is a measurement of your height and weight that helps healthcare professionals better understand health issues associated with weight. You can use a BMI calculator to easily determine your BMI. 

What is bariatric surgery for obesity?

Bariatric surgery, also called weight loss surgery, refers to a minimally invasive procedure designed to help you lose weight and resolve your health issues. We offer four different bariatric surgery procedures: laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, endobariatrics, roux-en-Y gastric bypass and laparoscopic duodenal switch. 

Weight loss surgery or diet: What difference does it make?

Weight loss dieting and exercise programs often don’t deliver lifelong results, and many diet pills have unpleasant side effects, have limited benefits (up to 40 lbs), are expensive and only work if taken for life. Bariatric surgery works because it changes food absorption and affects all gut hormones (eight to 10) to reduce hunger and increase satiety. Newer weight loss medications only affect one or two. 

How do I know if I am a candidate for bariatric surgery?

While your doctor will be able to fully determine if you’re a candidate for bariatric surgery, basic qualifications for weight loss surgery include: 

  • Be age 18 years or older
  • Have a BMI of: 40 or greater without other risk factors OR 35 or greater with weight-related risk factors, such as: Diabetes, Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure, Sleep Apnea
  • Experiencing diminished quality of life because of your weight
  • Be willing to take recommended vitamins and minerals 

Other common guidelines include: 

  • Having failed at previous attempts to lose weight 
  • Understanding the risks of bariatric surgery 
  • Committing to dietary and lifestyle changes recommended by your surgeon 
  • Undergoing a complete examination, including medical tests and a psychological evaluation 

Is bariatric surgery right for me?

Your surgeon and doctor will be able to help you determine if bariatric surgery is an appropriate option for you. As you consider, there are things to keep in mind: 

  • Bariatric surgery is not cosmetic surgery 
  • Bariatric surgery does not involve the removal of adipose (fat) tissue by suction or surgical removal 
  • You must be dedicated to long-term lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, which are key to your success
  • Complications after surgery are rare, but you may need corrective procedures or opt to have plastic surgery following weight loss

If surgery is not right for you, our medically managed weight loss program can help you meet your goals. 


What about bariatric surgery insurance coverage?

Because every insurance policy is unique, it’s important that you thoroughly understand your Certificate of Coverage to know exactly what is and is not covered through your plan. Get in touch with our office or your insurance company. If your insurance plan does not cover bariatric surgery and associated fees, a separate, comprehensive self-pay package is available. 

What are the steps to weight loss surgery

  • Learn about our program from our website, our online videos or our Facebook page. 
  • Speak to patients who have completed our program. 
  • Learn about healthy eating habits. 
  • Start a sustainable exercise program. 
  • Start to track your food intake. 
  • Attend a bariatric support group. 
  • Ask your family and friends for their support. Talk to them about why you want to have bariatric surgery. It helps to have people behind you, waiting to help. 

What should I expect post-bariatric surgery?

While bariatric surgery can offer lifelong results, it is not a quick fix. After surgery, you’ll be on an ongoing journey toward transforming your health through lifestyle changes.  

After surgery: 

  • You will feel satisfied and fuller with less food 
  • You will experience positive changes in your body, your weight and your health if you maintain the diet and exercise routines recommended by your bariatric program
  • You may experience unexpected responses to alcohol after bariatric surgery and should avoid it, if possible 

We offer psychological services for bariatric patients who have concerns regarding alcohol intake and other addictive or impulsive behaviors before or after surgery so you can feel supported throughout your health journey. Bariatric counseling services are also helpful as you navigate relationships, work and lifestyle while transitioning to a new way of life. 


How often will I be able to eat

We recommend you eat three small meals a day and two snacks. Your provider will be able to give you more details about how often you can eat.  

When can I go back to my normal activity level?

Your ability to resume pre-surgery levels of activity depends on your physical condition, the nature of the activity and the type of bariatric surgery you had. Many patients return to work in one to two weeks and to regular activity in four weeks. 

What are the bariatric surgery exercise guidelines?

We encourage you to begin exercising about two weeks after surgery at whatever level is recommended for you (as long as it doesn’t cause discomfort). The type of exercise depends on your overall condition, but the long-term goal is to work up to 30 minutes of exercise, three or more days each week so it becomes a regular part of your lifestyle. 

Is there any difficulty in taking medications after bariatric surgery

Most pills or capsules are small enough to pass through the new stomach pouch. At first, your doctor may suggest that medications should be taken one at a time. As a general rule, ask your bariatric surgeon before taking any medication.

What is the follow-up after bariatric surgery?

After bariatric surgery, you’ll typically see the surgeon for three to five follow-up appointments in the first year, then once per year after that. Over time, routine follow-up blood work will be ordered for all patients at regular intervals. 

How can I find a bariatric support group?

Ongoing support after surgery in a bariatric support group can help you achieve the greatest level of success. By finding a community to keep motivated, celebrate small victories together and provide perspective on the everyday successes and challenges of life after bariatric surgery, you’ll have a support system of other patients with similar goals. You’ll also have the opportunity to talk through personal concerns regarding relationships, emotions after surgery and more.