Bariatric surgery isn’t cosmetic or something you can do on a whim. It requires careful consideration and commitment to making several significant lifestyle changes. You need to know the facts about weight loss surgery before making an educated decision. The following are important questions you should ask your doctor as you begin this journey:
- Am I a good candidate for bariatric surgery? Weight loss surgery isn’t for everyone, and your doctor may have minimum requirements based on your body mass index (BMI). You are likely a good candidate if you have a BMI over 40 or a BMI over 35 with obesity-related health conditions. Some surgeons will consider bariatric surgery for patients with a BMI over 30 if their obesity poses significant health risks.
- Does insurance cover bariatric surgery? Some insurance providers offer coverage for bariatric surgery. You can call your insurance company to find out or ask your company’s human resources department about coverage options. You should also discuss payment options with your surgeon, as some accept insurance while others do not. Many surgeons offer financing so you can budget accordingly.
- What do I need to do before surgery? You will likely need several health exams before your surgery, including a physical, blood work, a chest x-ray, and an EKG. Your surgeon needs to know as much as possible about your health before surgery to avoid complications. If your insurance is covering some or all of the surgery costs, your insurance company will likely require a psychological evaluation as well.
- Does weight loss surgery affect fertility? Obesity can cause several reproductive problems, including infertility, and couples trying to conceive may consider weight loss surgery as a potential solution. Bariatric surgery may resolve this issue for men and women alike. Obesity-related conditions such as PCOS can cause infertility in women. Obesity can also affect hormones in men, leading to infertility. However, it’s important to note that rapid weight loss can also cause infertility. Once the weight loss stabilizes, fertility returns for many patients. You should discuss all the possibilities if fertility is your primary goal for weight loss surgery.
- How soon after surgery can I try to conceive? Bariatric patients should wait for one to two years after their surgery before trying to conceive. Your body will need time to heal before it is ready to carry a baby. Your weight loss also needs to stabilize before trying to conceive or else the baby may not get the nutrients it needs.
- Is the procedure permanent? Some weight loss procedures are reversible or adjustable; however, your surgeon may not recommend it. For some, reversing the procedure would lead to regaining their lost weight. Your surgeon may not be comfortable with the risks and potential complications, as they may increase with a reversal surgery. You should consider how comfortable you are with the permanent lifestyle changes before deciding on a bariatric procedure.
- How quickly will I begin to lose weight? You won’t likely notice weight loss for the first few weeks of recovery. You may retain fluid after your surgery, as it’s the body’s response to help you heal. You may also find it difficult to move around during the initial week or two of recovery. However, most patients begin losing weight a few weeks after surgery.
You may be considering weight loss surgery if you’re struggling to lose weight despite your best efforts or if obesity-related conditions are negatively affecting your health. Contact us to learn more about the life-changing benefits of bariatric surgery.