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Prisma Health Weight Management Center - FAQs

What is bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery helps individuals suffering from obesity achieve permanent weight loss by banding, removing or by-passing a portion of the stomach.

Is bariatric surgery going to work for me?

It is not unusual for patients who suffer from obesity to be afraid that surgery may fail, simply because nothing they have tried before has provided lasting weight loss or because they know someone else who failed. Our experience at the Weight Management Center and from several long-term studies is that 100% of patients are successful when they are committed to making the lifestyle changes that are taught and reinforced in the program. We invite you to read some of our patient stories and attend our support group meetings to have one-on-one exposure with our post-operative patients.

Can I start the process before attending a seminar?

Yes, you can begin the process of getting insurance approval. Not every insurance policy covers weight loss surgery, but those that do usually require a preoperative medically supervised program that can lasts three or six months. This can cause a delay in obtaining insurance approval and scheduling your surgery. We suggest you visit your primary care provider and start your program as soon as possible. If your provider has questions or if you do not have a provider that can assist you with this, we would advise you to call us at the Weight Management Center and we will be happy to assist you in that.

Will I need skin reduction surgery?

This question isn’t answered easily, as a number of factors can come into play, such as your starting weight, your age, the nature of your skin, the amount of weight you lost plus the location of the excess weight. In general, younger patients are less likely to require skin reduction surgery because they have a greater amount of skin elasticity. We recommend you wait until your weight loss has stabilized before making a decision. When you call us at the Weight Management Center we will be glad to refer you to an experienced plastic surgeon for an evaluation.

Will I have gallbladder problems/complications?

A small percentage of patients have been known to develop gallstones following weight loss surgery. If problems stemming from gallstones occur following surgery, the gallbladder can be removed laparoscopically. If a patient has a history of suffering from gallstones, the gallbladder most likely will be removed during the initial weight loss surgery.

How long is my hospital stay?

Depending on the procedure, most patients will stay in the hospital one to three days. Those who have an open incision during surgery will stay about four to seven days. Each patient is unique, so your length of stay could vary.

What should I expect on the day of surgery?

Our caring team at the Weight Management Center will make your stay as comfortable as possible, with special equipment in our surgical suite and each patient room designed for the comfort of our bariatric patients. Our compassionate caregivers in our operating room and on the inpatient unit are specially trained to care for bariatric patients and are sensitive to your needs.

Upon arriving at Prisma Health Baptist Hospital, our team will prepare you for surgery. Most surgeries are done laparoscopically and take about two hours. After your surgery is finished, the surgeon will update your family on the procedure. After two to four hours in the recovery room, you will be moved to your room where your family can visit with you.

Most patients spend the first night in their room, and a family member is welcome to stay with them. Activity helps prevent complications such as blood clots, so the staff will help you walk the evening of surgery.

Will I be in pain?

Patients do experience pain after any surgical procedure, but our bariatric team will provide medication to manage the pain and keep you comfortable.

Besides the surgeon, what other Weight Management Center team members will I see in the hospital?

You will be seen by the nurse practitioner throughout your inpatient stay as she assists in your medical care and answers your questions. A dietitian will assess you each day to monitor your transition to a clear liquid and then full liquid diet. You also can expect a visit from a behavioral care nurse, and perhaps some members of our bariatric support group. We want to make sure that your physical and emotional needs are met during this time.

How long will I be out of work?

This varies between patients as they are required to be on weight lifting restriction for four to five weeks after surgery. For sedentary, office-style work, patients can typically return to work in one to three weeks.

What happens to the old stomach after the Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass?

Even though the old stomach no longer serves as a reservoir to hold food, it remains in the abdomen after surgery, continuing to supply digestive juices to the intestines.

Can I become pregnant after weight loss surgery?

Yes, many women have had successful pregnancies following weight loss surgery. As a matter of fact, we recommend you use birth control post-surgery as fertility tends to increase due to the normalization of hormones. We offer referrals to experienced gynecologists for placement of an intra-uterine contraceptive device that can be removed once weight loss stabilizes.

How will I know if my insurance will cover the surgery?

Some insurers have elected to include weight loss surgery coverage and unfortunately some have not. We understand that you may have questions and concerns about the cost of weight loss surgery procedures. Our dedicated staff will make sure you’re comfortable in making an informed decision about paying for surgery. First we will need to determine if you have insurance coverage that covers all or part of your recommended treatments. We also highly recommend that you contact your insurance company by phone (there will be a phone number on the back of your insurance card) prior to calling us. Ask your insurance company this question: “Do I have coverage for weight loss surgery?” This will help you know what your insurance will pay for, even before you come to see us for the first time.

If I have insurance coverage, what will my insurance pay and what will I pay?

Insurance companies typically have certain guidelines or criteria you must meet to be approved to have bariatric surgery. It is a very good idea to ask them to supply you with the criteria for your plan. Even when insurance covers weight loss surgery, they may not pay for all expenses related to the surgery. We have a dedicated team to help you through the process of verifying your insurance benefits and finding out all the information needed to minimize any payment surprises.

What can I do if I didn’t have insurance coverage for weight loss surgery?

If you have an “exclusion policy” or do not have coverage for weight loss surgery, your insurance will not pay for your surgery even though you need it for serious medical conditions. We will gladly discuss any available payment arrangements or financing options.

Does the Weight Management Center offer support group meetings?

The Weight Management Center offers support groups designed to meet the needs of patients who either had weight loss surgery or are still in the process of having surgery. Groups meet at 1850 Laurel St. and on the Prisma Health Baptist Hospital campus. For more information, call 803-376-5982.