Bariatric Surgery Questions for your Doctor

Bariatric surgery is a decision not to be made lightly.
Lifestyle changes to live a healthier life come with a lot of hard work. But, for the opportunity to live a longer, healthier life, bariatric surgery is definitely an option to consider. Ask your doctor all the questions you may have. Here are 10 questions to get you started:
1. Am I a candidate for weight loss surgery?
Not everyone who is overweight should assume they are a good candidate. Weight loss surgery should only be considered if you have tried unsuccessfully to lose weight by any other means, or if you have Type II Diabetes caused by obesity.

2. Which bariatric surgery is best for me?
There are several types: Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve, Adjustable Gastric Band (Lap Band), and Duodenal Switch. These surgeries differ slightly from each other. Talk with your bariatric surgeon about the differences.
3. How should I prepare for weight loss surgery?
Confirming insurance coverage and learning about nutrition and healthy eating habits are required prior to bariatric surgery. Most doctors recommend you quit smoking and make some dietary changes.

4. How long of a recovery time should I expect after my weight loss surgery?
Recovery times vary. In general, full recovery will take 2-3 weeks, depending on which surgery you choose.
6. How should my lifestyle change after my procedure?
Bariatric surgery is just the beginning. While just having surgery will help you lose weight, it’s up to you to keep the weight off. Depending on the type of surgery you have, your body may not absorb all the calories from the food you eat and you will not be able to eat as much as before.

7. How will bariatric surgery affect my ability to become pregnant?
It is generally recommended that you don’t get pregnant for at least one year. After that, there are no restrictions.
8. What are the qualifications and track record of my surgeon?
Be sure to ask about your doctor’s education, experience and credentials when choosing a bariatric surgeon.
9. How much does surgery cost and will my insurance cover the cost?
Many insurance companies will cover bariatric surgery if it is a medical necessity. If your insurance doesn’t cover your procedure, talk to the staff at your bariatric surgeon’s office about payment options.

10. What should my expectations be for life after my weight loss surgery?
The goal of bariatric surgery is to lose weight and be healthy! There is no guaranteed number of pounds you can expect to lose. Again, it’s up to you to change your life for the better. Have realistic expectations on how much time and energy it will take to get there.

These questions will help start the conversation between you and your doctor in deciding if weight loss surgery is a good idea for you. Don’t stop with these questions, think hard about the specific ways bariatric surgery will affect your life. What information do you need to prepare for your new lifestyle, given your unique circumstances?

Write your questions down, as they occur to you, and take the list with you when you have your consultation.

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