Bariatric Surgery FAQs
I’ve been thinking about getting weight loss surgery, but everyone tells me I should be able to just lose weight on my own. Why should I think about getting the WRAP?
Generally, people consider having a weight control procedure when they feel they are unable to lose weight by “free will” or “self control” alone. Consider how many diets you have tried, how much money you have spent and still agonize about not being able to lose weight or keep it off. Perhaps you have a medical condition that demands you lose weight or will suffer dire consequences. Imagine what your day would be like if worrying about eating and your weight were a thing of the past.
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Unlike gastric bypass that divides and rearranges the intestinal tract, or gastric sleeve that amputates most of the stomach, the WRAP simply reduces how much the stomach can hold without cutting any of the stomach or intestines.
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For almost 20 years and thousands of patients, we realized that it’s impossible to tell how heavy someone is by hearing his or her story. From our heaviest patient to the lightest, people express serious concerns about their weight, health, comfort, and self-esteem. All of these concerns area really about the single issue that we care most about, the patients “quality of life”.
Traditionally, weight loss surgery is reserved for people approximately 80 pounds or higher. These guidelines were developed decades ago when surgeries were more complex and required relatively large “open” incisions – very different than the minimally invasive WRAP technique. And unfortunately, the diseases that effect patients health become more common at much lower weights.
WRAP technique requires considerable experience and skill in performing “advanced laparoscopic” surgery. Dr. Waldrep has been practicing advanced minimally invasive surgery since it’s earliest days, and has performed thousands upon thousands of laparoscopic surgeries. Very few surgeons in the world perform these type of techniques since Dr. Waldrep’s first WRAP surgery in 2009. The challenge for surgeons inexperienced with this procedure is to complete the surgery in a reasonable time and create a lasting effect. Gastroplasty is not listed with traditional surgeries because not enough surgeons are experienced enough in this technique yet. Please contact us to learn more.
Please contact us to learn more.
Each case uses five incisions about the width of a drinking straw. Gastric balloon placement requires no incisions. Some procedures require one slightly larger incision the size of a Sharpie pen or magic-marker. We make special efforts to include these within natural body lines and close the incisions with fine, dissolving suture and small paper tapes to make these small scars as invisible as possible.
Despite what someone may have told you, weight loss surgery is NOT “cheating”. There are many reasons people consider weight loss surgery and non are better or more worthy than another, since they all attempt to achieve one thing: a better quality-of-life. Some seek an end to decades of effort and stress of ineffective dieting, some desire to get off medications for diseases brought on by or made worse by extra body weight, and some simply want more mobility to enjoy time with their family. So, we feel weight loss surgery is no more “cheating” than using automobiles, air-conditioners, or antibiotics.
Eligibility may be a somewhat evolving and controversial topic. There are traditional guidelines established by the National Institute of Health 30 years ago and based on a very different era of bariatric surgery. These guidelines were made when there were relatively few surgeons practicing weight loss surgery, through large incisions prior to minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques, based on surgical procedures that haven’t been performed in decades. The essential recommendations include that suggestion that patients have a BMI (body mass index) of at least 40, or a BMI as low as 35 if the person has additional medical illnesses or co-morbidities. Over time, some procedures have been felt to be appropriate for BMI as low as 30 if the person has medical issues associated with extra body weight. Unfortunately, what legitimately constitutes these “associated medical issues” has been manipulated over the years by insurance companies, and even surgeons. Weight loss surgery has been shown, as would be expected, to be safe in lower BMI patients; sensibly, it may be better and less risky to operate when the patient weighs less and has less illnesses. We feel the most important elements for eligibility is an interested, participating, educated patient who is aware of the options, techniques, and risks involved in the goal of having a better quality-of-life.
The addition of minimally invasive or laparoscopic surgery has made weight loss surgery much more attractive to patients and surgeons, changing – and saving – millions of lives.
Generally, for the laparoscopic procedures we are discussing, five incisions the width of a drinking straw are used. We take effort to hide these small incisions in normal body folds or creases to they will heal essentially invisibly. During the operation, the space inside your belly, the space around your organs and intestines, is filled with a low-pressure gas (Carbon Dioxide, which is what you are exhaling now when you breathe). The inflation allows us enough space to put small straw-sized cameras and instruments through the incisions. The surgeon performs the procedure by watching a magnified, bright, high-definition image on a large flat screen monitor. After the surgery, the small wounds are closed with very fine dissolving suture and small paper-tapes. The ability of a highly experienced surgeon to perform these techniques greatly decreases discomfort and recovery time.
Our expert staff is always happy to help you navigate questions about your health insurance, which may cover all or part of your WRAP procedure. Please contact us to learn more.
The goal of WRAP is that you can eat healthy foods you enjoy, but without over-eating. After surgery, you will be guided through a specific diet that will help start your weight loss while minimizing any discomfort during the healing process. Within a few weeks, you should be able to enjoy your favorite foods, but be “comfortably full” after eating much less than you did before. Please contact us to learn more.
You can do anything you feel comfortable doing starting immediately after surgery – there are no formal restrictions. Generally, most clients return to normal activities and even back to work within a few days. Please contact us to learn more.
I already had/have a Gastric Band and I am not comfortable or satisfied with my weight loss; can I still be considered for a WRAP?
We have helped many band patients. It is possible to perform WRAP in addition to or as a replacement of an existing Gastric Band. Typically our patients achieve significant weight loss with significantly more comfort. Please contact us to learn more.
The need for a hospital stay and how long may depend on your choice of procedure, and the actual amount of time you may be in the hospital can be determined by many things.
Sleeve gastrectomy typically requires one overnight stay and for some patients this may be in an aftercare suite in an outpatient setting.
Gastric bypass typically requires a one- or two-night stay in a hospital.