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Frequently Asked Questions about Weight Loss Surgery

Why should I choose Providence for my weight loss surgery?

Our staff of highly trained specialists includes surgeons who are double board certified in surgery and obesity medicine. They passed the rigorous requirements of the American Board of Obesity Medicine to achieve this unique sub-specialist status. With this advanced training, they gain knowledge of the genetic, biologic, environmental, social and behavioral factors that contribute to obesity. They have a variety of tools at their fingertips, including medications to modify appetite and energy balance before surgery – and, possibly, in addition to surgery. The weight loss surgeons at Providence don’t just operate and send you on your way. They forge long-term relationships with patients, similar to a primary care provider. Along with your primary care provider, our surgeons continue to help manage obesity-related comorbidities for the long haul.

How long does the procedure take?

Gastric bypass surgery generally takes 3-4 hours.

Adjustable gastric banding surgery generally takes less than an hour.

Gastric sleeve surgery generally takes 2-3 hours.

How is the gastric band adjusted?

During surgery, the doctor places a port under your skin. The port is attached to the gastric band via a small tube. To adjust the band, the doctor injects or withdraws saline solution through the port using a needle. The procedure happens in the doctor’s office and takes just a few minutes. Patients describe it as virtually painless.

How much weight can I expect to lose?

During the pre-operative consultation with your surgeon, he/she will explain each procedure: benefits, risks and average weight loss. Generally speaking, patients lose between 50-75 percent of excess body weight within two years. It all depends on your motivation, how much you exercise and how closely you follow the post-op eating instructions. On average, patients lose 1-2 pounds per week.

What can I eat after bariatric surgery?

You’ll receive dietary instructions as part of your pre-surgery education. After surgery, you’ll start on a liquids-only diet and progress gradually to soft foods. This can take up to four weeks. Eventually, you’ll eat regular, solid food – just in smaller quantities because your stomach will hold less. You can eat out, but you’ll likely have food left over to take home.

After my initial recovery from surgery, what will my diet look like going forward?

After you recover from bariatric surgery, you can eat “normal” food again. But, since your stomach is smaller, it will hold less and you’ll eat less. You’ll learn to chew your food well and you’ll receive a list of foods to avoid because they can block the narrow passage out of your smaller stomach. You’ll have to learn to stop eating when you’re comfortably full. Eating too much, too fast or not chewing well enough will lead to pain and other side effects that will likely discourage the same behavior again. You won’t be able to gulp large beverages. You’ll have to sip liquids throughout the day in order to stay hydrated.

You’ll need to make good food choices and concentrate on your caloric intake. You’re encouraged you to avoid liquid calories or soft foods because they’ll travel right through the stomach pouch. And, it’s best to avoid sugar’s empty calories and concentrate on eating protein first.

What is laparoscopic surgery?

During laparoscopic or “minimally invasive” surgery, the doctor makes several small incisions in the abdomen and uses special instruments to perform the operation. A small camera is inserted through one of the incisions to give the surgeon a view of the surgical site. Compared to open surgery, a laparoscopic procedure involves significantly less pain, less risk and leads to a faster recovery.

Will you remove my gallbladder during weight loss surgery?

Removing the gallbladder is not a routine part of bariatric surgery. If you already have gallstones, be sure to discuss treatment options with your surgeon.

Will I lose hair after bariatric surgery?

Thinning of the hair is common with any significant weight loss. Metabolic changes are happening in your body. But, don’t worry. You won’t go bald. In fact, the hair typically grows back after the first year post-op. Ask your surgeon or dietician about supplements and other strategies to help reduce hair loss.

Still have questions?

Click here to learn more at a free informational seminar.