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Surgical Weight Loss
Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is extreme obesity?

Extreme obesity is a serious medical condition. If you are extremely obese, it means that you are severely overweight, usually by at least 100 pounds. It also means that you have excessive amounts of body fat compared to healthy standards.

 

Knowing whether or not you are extremely obese is important. This condition puts you at very high risk for a host of serious medical problems including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. Being extremely obese may also hamper your ability to get around, expose you to possible discrimination or social stigma and may lower your self-esteem.

 

If you are extremely obese, you should remember three important points:

  1. Extreme obesity is not a sign of weakness, laziness or gluttony. It is a serious medical condition with serious medical consequences. Current research suggests that many factors work together to influence your weight. These include genetics, your eating habits as a child and adult, hormones and psychological factors.
  2. You are not alone. Approximately 68 percent of all Americans are considered overweight, about 35 percent are considered obese, and about 6 percent are considered extreme obese.

Q. How do I know if I am extremely obese?

A good way to assess your weight is to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). Your BMI estimates how much you should weight based on your height. Here are the steps to calculate it:

  • Multiply your weight in pounds by 703.
  • Divide that answer by your height in inches.
  • Divide that answer by your height in inches again.

For example, a woman who weights 270 pounds and is 68 inches tall has a BMI of 41.0.

 

Use the chart below to see what category you fall into and whether you need to be concerned about your weight.

BMI Classification
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5 - 24.9 Normal weight
25.0 - 29.9 Overweight
30.0 - 39.9 Obese
Over 40 Extremely Obese

 

Although your BMI is a simple way to evaluate whether your weight puts you at potential risk for health problems, a lot of other factors may also affect your health. These include:

  • General health history
  • Level of physical activity
  • Diet
  • Waist measurement
  • Smoking history
  • Family health history
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood sugar
  • Blood cholesterol levels

 

Your health care physician or advanced practice provider can help you to evaluate your BMI and the other factors to determine your overall health picture.

Q. If I am extremely obese, what actions do I take now?

Extreme obesity is a life-threatening medical condition. Gaining control over this serious health problem requires a commitment of your time, attention, energy and efforts. After you have tried every possible method in your fight against obesity, including nutrition, exercise and medical expertise, you and your health care physician or advanced practice provider may consider weight loss surgery.

Q. What risks do I face if I'm extremely obese?

If you are extremely obese, you have a much greater risk of developing a variety of serious medical conditions compared to individuals who are not obese. You may develop health problems at a younger age. Some of these conditions may include Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, arthritis, liver disease and certain cancers.

Q. Who is a candidate for weight loss surgery?

To be accepted for weight loss surgery (such as gastric bypass surgery), you need to meet certain criteria. Your must:

  • Be between 18 and 60 years old
  • You must have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or more, or a BMI of 35-40 and have at least two significant co-morbidities (illnesses related to obesity).
  • Are free of severe psycho-emotional or medical problems that make surgery unnecessarily risky.
  • Are neither drug nor alcohol dependent, or have at least one year of sobriety.
  • Have documented attempts to lose weight medically.
  • Are a non-smoker, or are making a serious effort to stop smoking.
  • Have a personal ongoing commitment to improve your health and lifestyle. You need to be willing to change your lifestyle for the rest of your life.

Q. What are the benefits of bariatric surgery?

There are many benefits of weight loss surgery. In addition to feeling better physically and emotionally, patients are very likely to see an improvement concerning diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), obstructive sleep apnea, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), arthritis, and asthma.

Q. Is bariatric surgery covered by insurance?

Many insurance companies cover this procedure, however, each insurance policy differs. Once it is established that you qualify for the procedure, our staff will work with you and your insurance carrier and submit all required information to expedite their approval process. This helps you by knowing, in advance, what the insurance company will cover and what is your financial responsibility.

Q. What kind of diet do I follow after bariatric surgery?

You will eat small quantities of high protein, low fat, low sugar foods immediately following surgery. The amount of food will be 2-3 ounces per meal. For the first two weeks you will eat pureed food. The types of food and the amount increases over time as you reach your goal weight.

Q. How quickly does a person lose weight after surgery?

Each person is different; it depends on the person's metabolism, but usually about 15 to 20 lbs per month, slowing down over time.

Q. When will I be able to eat regular food?

At two weeks after surgery you will be able to eat soft food without concentrated sweets in six small portions per day. You will need to learn to eat only tiny amounts, chew your food well and to eat very slowly.

Q. Will I be on an exercise program after surgery?

Exercise is an important component of our surgical weight loss program. We will work with you to develop an individualized fitness program including a cardiovacular, stretching and strength component. All patients are encouraged to participate in an exercise program following surgery, which is increased gradually, given the individual patient's health issues. We encourage patients to begin walking in the hospital. This activity improves the recovery. Follow up appointments are scheduled at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year as well as annually where we'll discuss your weight loss program and your fitness progress.