What to Expect with Bariatric Surgery

What To Expect With Bariatric Surgery

Our bariatric program goes beyond delivering excellent surgical care. We also give you all the information, tools and encouragement you need to make a lifelong commitment to healthy living.

With every office visit and phone call, we will help you prepare physically and emotionally for surgery. And after your procedure, we are with you every step of the way as you recover and learn to navigate everyday life with a renewed focus on your well-being.

What to Expect Before Weight Loss (Bariatric) Surgery

Preparing for weight loss surgery can be a long and complex process, but we work hard to provide you with an organized and convenient experience. Before having weight loss surgery, you will:

  1. Attend an information seminar: You can learn a lot about bariatric surgery and if it is right for you by attending one of our free information seminars. During these sessions, you learn about all the different treatments we offer from one of our surgeons and how your lifestyle may change after surgery. Find out more about our information seminars.
  2. Complete a new patient packet: We require all new patients to complete an information packet before making their first appointment. The information you provide helps personalize your care right from the start.
  3. Go to your first office visit: We cover a lot of ground in your first visit, so please plan on spending several hours with us. During your first visit you will meet with:
  • Our physician assistant who will gather information about your medical history and conduct a physical exam.
  • A psychologist who specializes in working with bariatric patients. The psychologist performs a screening to understand your motivation for weight loss surgery and to determine whether you need extra support.
  • A dietician who helps you learn what foods you should be eating. We also establish nutrition goals with you and teach you how to make healthy changes to your diet to achieve them. Learn more about nutrition.
  • Our insurance coordinator goes over your insurance coverage and expected out of pocket costs. Learn more about the costs of obesity and bariatric surgery.
  1. Complete required pre-surgery testing: Our surgeon and your insurance may require certain tests to make sure you are healthy enough for surgery. These tests may include heart and lung exams or an evaluation of your intestines. You can get all of these tests at our Baptist Health location near you or at a hospital in your home community.
  2. Participate in our medically supervised weight loss program: Most insurance plans require you to try losing weight with the help of a medically supervised weight loss program before surgery. If you opt not to have surgery or it is not covered by your insurance, you can receive ongoing nutrition and exercise support through our medical weight loss program.
  3. Meet with your surgeon: You will meet with your surgeon to discuss the procedures that may work best for your medical needs and personal preferences. Learn more about the treatments we offer.
  4. If you are required to complete a medically supervised diet prior to surgery, you will meet with the physician assistant monthly: We discuss your progress with healthy eating and becoming more physically active. We also help you set new goals and give you helpful tips to stay on the right track. Learn more about the education and support we give our patients.
  5. Prepare for surgery: Once your insurance approves the surgery, you will meet with your surgeon. You and your surgeon will discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure you have selected. You will also complete some final paperwork (informed consent). You may need to complete additional pre-surgery testing, such as a chest X-ray or heart testing.

You can expect bariatric surgery preparation to take approximately six months. This includes consultations, developing a sustainable exercise regime, reducing your calorie intake, and mentally preparing for lifetime changes to your diet.

What to Expect After Weight Loss (Bariatric) Surgery

Your weight loss journey does not end after your surgery is complete. The ongoing care and support we provide can make all the difference in keeping unwanted pounds off for good. Here is what to expect after weight loss surgery:

  • Education: We will prepare you for what to expect after surgery long before you arrive in the operating room. During pre-surgery follow up visits, we will provide information and answer all of your questions so that you know exactly what to expect.
  • Recovery from surgery: Most patients stay in the hospital for 1 to 3 days. During this time, you will receive care from your surgeon as well as nurses with special training in meeting the unique needs of weight loss surgery patients.
  • Discharge: You will have to demonstrate that you are able to get around on your own and drink water before you can go home.
  • Getting back to your daily routine: We let you know how long you need to recover at home before going back to work. If you sit at a desk, you can go back to work sooner. If your job requires you to be on your feet all day or lift heavy things, it may take longer.
  • Follow up care: We stay in close contact with you in the weeks following your surgery. During follow up visits in our clinic, we talk about your successes and challenges and then set new goals. Over time, your visits become less frequent.
  • Taking care of yourself: Eating healthy portions of the right foods and adding physical activity to your daily routine are key in keeping unwanted pounds off for good. If you get off track, don’t give up. Be kind to yourself and know that mistakes will happen. Also, we are always available to provide encouragement and help you overcome challenges.
  • Support: We offer a range of support services to help you stay motivated, including support groups. Support groups meet monthly and give you a chance to talk with our team as well as other bariatric patients who know what you’re going through. Learn more about our support groups.

In the first month after surgery, you might lose up to 30 pounds. Three months later, you might lose up to 30% of your excess weight. After six months, you can lose up to 50% of your excess weight. At 12 months, you might reach 60%. After 18 months, you can lose between 70% and 80% of your excess weight.

After surgery, you may also experience some side effects. Your doctor can help you understand the risks and side effects associated with bariatric surgery. One common symptom is swelling. The swelling can last from a few weeks to a few months after your procedure.

Common symptoms after bariatric surgery:

  • Infection
  • Acid reflux
  • Severe vomiting
  • Severe nausea
  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss
  • Breathing problems
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Dilated esophagus
  • Dilation of esophagus
  • Blocked stomach
  • Trouble eating certain foods
  • Sudden blood pressure changes