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Riverside Community Hospital

Weight Loss Surgery FAQ

Bariatric surgery is a treatment option available for adults aged 18-65 years old who have a BMI over 40 (or for those who have a BMI between 30 & 39.9 and obesity-related medical conditions, such as: diabetes, significant cardiovascular disease, or sleep apnea).

If you do not find the answer to your question by reading our FAQ below, please use our Center for Surgical Weight Loss Contact Us Form to ask the Bariatric Coordinator.

Is weight loss surgery right for everyone?

The short answer is no. Surgery is not a solution for everyone. We only determine whether a patient is right for surgery after a complete evaluation and discussion with the patient. Since weight loss surgery is a life-altering procedure, we want to make sure patients are committed to making the lifestyle changes needed for a successful procedure.

How is eligibility determined?

Riverside Community Hospital follows guidelines supported by the National Institutes of Health in order to determine a patient's eligibility. We use BMI as a criteria for surgery; excess fat in relation to height, rather than weight. Individuals are candidates for surgery if:

  • Their BMI is greater than 40 or between 30 and 39.9 with major obesity-related medical problems (sleep apnea, high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol)
  • They have attempted (and failed) previous weight loss efforts with diets, exercise, lifestyle changes, or medications.
  • Age between 18 and 65.
  • Must be motivated and have realistic expectations of the surgery. Surgery is a tool to help you lose and manage your weight.

How do patients start the process?

  • Attend a seminar offered at Riverside Community Hospital to see what options you have.
  • Contact one of the medical groups who practice at Riverside Community Hospital and schedule a consultation appointment.
  • Do research on the various procedures and decide which procedure is right for you.

Does insurance cover the cost of the procedure?

Insurance coverage depends on the individual plan. Before a patient goes to their first appointment, they should contact their insurance company to find out if weight loss surgery is a benefit on their plan. The Gastric Sleeve procedure may be considered "experimental" as it is a newer procedure.

How long do I have to wait before getting my surgery date?

After the surgeon visit, it depends on your insurance provider and the criteria they require as well as the tests and requirements our team find necessary before a surgery date can be scheduled.

Can I become pregnant after surgery?

Yes. Bariatric surgery often increases fertility in those who have had difficulty conceiving in the past. However, pregnancy must be avoided for 18-24 months post operatively, until your weight has stabilized. Please discuss any pregnancy plans with the surgeon.

Does the Adjustable Gastric Banding procedure limit any physical activity?

The laparoscopic banding procedure does not hamper physical activity including aerobics, stretching and strenuous exercise.

Can the weight be regained?

Yes. The patient's overall behavior and compliance with the diet and exercise contribute to the long-term weight loss success. We emphasize that this surgical procedure is only a "tool" which when used properly will reveal great results. Long term follow-up with the bariatric team is critical.

How long will I be off of work after surgery?

Time off depends on the type of weight loss surgery you have. After laparoscopic gastric band surgery, patients can return to work in about 2-3 weeks. The gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy procedures average a 4-5 week recuperation period.

How soon will patients start losing weight?

Weight loss begins immediately after the surgery.

What if I go out to eat?

Order only a small amount of food, such as an appetizer. Eat slowly. Finish at the same time as your table companions. You might want to let your host know in advance that you cannot eat very much.

Will I need to take vitamin supplements?

You may. It's possible you may not get enough vitamins from three small meals a day. At your regular check-ups, your bariatric specialist will evaluate whether you are getting enough vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron. Your surgeon may advise you to take supplements.

How big will my stomach pouch be after the surgery?

The stomach pouch is designed to hold about one ounce (30mL). In the first few months it is stiff due to the natural swelling from surgery. From about 12-18 months after surgery, the stomach pouch expands a bit as the swelling decreases. Most patients end up with a meal capacity of about 4-6 fluid ounces (120-180mL).

Please call (951) 788-3463 for the contact information on our surgeons who will be more than happy to assist you.