St. Francis Eastside Surgical Weight Loss

frequently asked questions

How do I know if I am a candidate for bariatric surgery?

You are a candidate if you have a BMI >35 or are roughly 50 or more pounds overweight and have been able to lose weight with traditional diet and exercise. Bariatric surgery patients usually have one or more comorbid conditions such as Diabetes, Hypertension, Sleep Apnea, High Cholesterol and Arthritis.

Does insurance cover bariatric surgery?

Many insurance companies do cover bariatric surgery. We will help you determine if you have coverage when you come to our informational seminar.  If your insurance does not cover surgery, we offer self-pay pricing and have a financial agreement with Prosper Healthcare Lending. You can discuss this in more detail with our Quality Coordinator.

How long does it take to get surgery scheduled after I attend an informational seminar?

It depends on your insurance requirements as some insurance companies require a supervised diet and exercise program for 3-6 months prior to surgery. In general, it takes approximately 3-6 months.

How much weight can I expect to lose?

Weight loss varies with each person, but you can lose an average of around 50-70% of your excess body weight by following our recommended program diet and exercise plans.

Is bariatric surgery considered cosmetic surgery?

Bariatric surgery is not a cosmetic surgery. The benefits and goals of surgery are improvement of overall health.

Do I have to pay a fee to join the St Francis Surgical Weight Loss Program?

Our program does not have a program fee.

Do I have to be on a special diet prior to surgery?

Our program requires a two-week, pre-operative diet that consists of real food, no special premade commercial formulas required. This low-fat, low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet is designed to help shrink your liver, making laparoscopic surgery easier, and in some cases, possible. The only other pre-operative diet would be a plan required by your specific insurance company.

How long will I have to be out of work after surgery?

For most patients recovery takes approximately 3-4 weeks. Some patients return to work in as little as one week, while others require 4 weeks. Recovery time is dependent on how well you feel and what your job requirements are. Lifting and activity restrictions are in place for 3-4 weeks after surgery.

When can I drive after surgery?

Most patients can drive within a few days of surgery, as long as they are not on pain medication.

How soon can I start exercising after surgery?

We encourage patients to begin exercising before surgery, and to stay very active during the first four weeks after surgery with walking and light activities.  You are not allowed to do strenuous exercise or heavy lifting during this time. After 3-4 weeks, you will be able to resume full activities, including exercise.

Are there age limits for bariatric surgery?

Our program policy limits surgery to ages 18-65. For those over the age of 65, we review each situation on a case-by-case basis.

What if I have had surgery with another surgeon, can I be a part of your program?

If you are interested in general follow up or a revision, we review your records and accept patients on a case-by-case basis.

Will I have to follow a diet after surgery?

You will follow a liquid diet for approximately one week after surgery, before progressing to soft food and normal food, based on recommendations from our dietitian. The diet is high protein, and minimizes carbohydrates. We recommend that most patients consume a minimum of 60 grams of protein per day and 64 ounces of fluid per day.

Will I have to exercise after surgery?

Exercise and physical activity are key components of success. We will guide you on what is appropriate for you at each stage, but you must commit to some form of exercise. While surgery is an excellent tool, you will need to follow our recommended diet and exercise plans in order to experience full success.

What if I cannot exercise?

We have special programs we can refer you to in order to help you achieve your maximum mobility, even prior to surgery. Our program offers physical therapy and aquatic therapy many patients find helpful. You will need to do some form of activity in order to achieve success.

Will I have to take vitamins or supplements for the rest of my life?

For all surgical weight loss patients, supplementation is essential to your health and certain vitamins will be taken for life. This will be discussed at your dietitian evaluation and will be personalized as needed.

Can I have surgery if I smoke?

Our program has a very strict no-smoking policy. If you smoke and are unable to quit, you are not a candidate for bariatric surgery. Our policy requires that patients be smoke-free for six months prior to joining the program. We do test for smoking in our pre-operative blood work.

Why do I have to have a psychological evaluation? 

A psychological evaluation is a national standard required by our program and all insurance providers. Bariatric surgery is a wonderful tool, but can have negative effects for those with unstable psychological symptoms or problems with drug or alcohol abuse.

How long is my hospital stay?

In general, you will stay 1-2 nights in the hospital.

Is surgery performed laparoscopically?

In the majority of cases, surgery is performed laparoscopically. As with any other laparoscopic surgeries, there is always a potential that the surgery could have to be converted to an open procedure. To date, all of our sleeve surgeries have been laparoscopic, and the majority of our gastric bypass surgeries have been laparoscopic.

What are the risks of surgery?

The risks of surgery are generally the same as with any surgery; bleeding, infection, injury to other organs, blood clots, and pneumonia. Bariatric surgery has specific risks that we discuss in our informational seminar and during your surgeon visit. The most concerning risks are leaks and obstructions. We take every precaution, but as with any surgery, you should be aware of the risks associated with your surgery.

Will I have hair loss?

Hair thinning can occur, especially between months 3-6 following any rapid and significant weight loss. We recommend adequate protein intake, hydration, and supplementation with biotin and folic acid, if directed by our dietitian. It is important to remember that hair thinning is temporary, and you should return to normal hair volume within a few months of your weight loss.

Will I have excess skin after surgery?

Several factors affect loose skin. The two most common are age (generally patients over age 50 are at higher risk) and exercise (a workout including both cardio and strength training will help shape your body). Not all loose skin can be prevented. Body contouring and plastic surgery are options after approximately 18 months of stable weight. These procedures are often considered cosmetic by insurance companies, and most likely will not be covered. There are certain instances when insurance does cover removing excess skin, especially in cases of skin breakdown or infections.

Will I be able to have children after bariatric surgery?

Surgery resulting in weight loss can help patients who have been unable to have children. While it doesn’t cure infertility, we have several patients who have been able to have children after many years of infertility. We strongly recommend that you wait 18 months before becoming pregnant after bariatric surgery.

Will my health improve after I have bariatric surgery?

Most patients see improvement, if not complete resolution, of obesity-related health problems such as:

  • Diabetes, type 2
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Hypertension
  • Joint disease/Arthritis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • High cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

How do I get started?

Attending one of our free informational seminars, or watching our online seminar, is the first step to learning more about surgical weight loss.