Bariatric Surgery Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I know if I’m eligible for weight loss surgery?
- Is bariatric surgery safe?
- What are the risks of bariatric surgery?
- What if I don’t have time for bariatric surgery?
- How much does bariatric surgery cost?
- Will I look unhealthy after surgery?
- Will I become too thin after surgery?
- My family doesn’t want me to have surgery
- Is surgery a life-long cure?
- Will I have excess skin after surgery?
1) How do I know if I’m eligible for weight loss surgery?
Your eligibility is not based on your weight. Instead, we use Body Mass Index (BMI) as the primary criteria—this metric factors in your height and body weight to show how much excess weight you’re carrying. If your BMI is above 40, or between 35 and 40 with weight-related medical problems, then you’re probably eligible for weight loss surgery.
Before becoming a candidate for bariatric surgery, we request that you meet with our surgeon, nurse practitioner, dietitian, and social worker for a full evaluation. Bariatric surgery is a powerful tool but it is not a miracle cure, and our patients must commit to a healthy lifestyle after surgery. We want to make sure that bariatric surgery is a good fit for you personally.
2) Is bariatric surgery safe?
Dr. Joshua Long works hard to insure that his surgeries are exceptionally safe. Bariatric surgery at the BMCC has no higher risk than most minor outpatient surgeries, for example gallbladder surgery*.
What’s not safe is staying where you are. Americans who are severely overweight have a relative mortality rate that’s 350% that of people who are a normal weight. Being severely overweight helps cause many health concerns, from diabetes to cancer, which weight loss surgery can alleviate or even cure*. In the first 5 years alone, patients who have had bariatric surgery have an 89% reduction in their odds of dying an early death compared to people of similar weight who don’t have surgery*.
Twenty or even ten years ago, bariatric surgery was less safe. But medicine has come a long way since then, and Dr. Long is a pioneer in safe surgery with minimal complications.
3) What are the risks of bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery can come with some complications, like dumping syndrome. However, Dr. Long has decades of experience minimizing complications. His patients routinely suffer fewer complications than other practices*. Our practice has patient satisfaction scores in the 99th percentile in part because we work so hard to make sure that your surgery comes with minimal risks.
4) What if I don’t have time for bariatric surgery?
This is a common concern, but bariatric surgery can actually save patients time. Dr. Long uses laparoscopic, or “minimally invasive”, surgery that barely leaves a scar. Patients typically only spend 1-2 nights in the hospital, and can often return to work 1-2 weeks after that after that.
Bariatric surgery pays high dividends on this time investment. It can improve your health, boost your energy levels, and decrease your risk of illness and even death*. All of these factors can make you more productive, more than making up for the couple of weeks that you might spend recovering from surgery.
5) How much does bariatric surgery cost?
Most major insurers, as well as Medicaid and Medicare, provide coverage for bariatric surgery. Your insurance program should cover most of the cost, although the precise amount that you’ll pay out of pocket depends on your coverage.
If your insurance doesn’t cover weight loss surgery, or if you don’t have insurance, then we do offer a very reasonable cash payment option.
Bariatric surgery is an investment in your health, your career, and your relationships. Surgery can dramatically improve your quality of life, your energy levels, and can reduce your health issues*. It enables many patients to live longer and to spend more quality time with their loved ones*. Most patients, once they realize these benefits, decide that there is no way they cannot afford to invest in their future, their health, and their life.
6) Will I look unhealthy after surgery?
Many patients worry that they’ll look sickly or unhealthy after surgery. But this isn’t the case. We require our post-op patients to take daily vitamins, which help them look leaner and healthier. These vitamins also help them to live more active, fulfilling, and healthier lives*.
We help our patients with all aspects of their health, including putting together individualized exercise and vitamin regimes. This helps our patients to develop lean muscle and look and feel fit and healthy*. If you’d like to see some of our patients after surgery, you can find pictures here.
7) Will I become too thin after surgery?
Some people worry that after surgery they’ll continue to lose weight until they waste away. Fortunately, this is not how the body works.
Your body can sense when it’s nearing a healthy weight range, and once it senses this it slows your metabolism down to prevent too much weight loss. For this reason, your weight loss typically plateaus about 1 year after surgery. So long as you’re eating a healthy, protein-rich diet, you can remain at a very healthy weight*.
8) My family doesn’t want me to have surgery
Many families mean well when they counsel you to avoid surgery. But they typically don’t have current facts about bariatric surgery, and their concerns can be misguided.
If your family’s opposed to you having surgery, consider bringing them to a free live seminar, to your consultation, or inviting them to do the online seminar alongside you. That will help them to understand the benefits of bariatric surgery and how it can improve the quality of your life*. We encourage family members to ask questions, and Dr. Long is happy to take time to answer even the most difficult questions that your family may have.
Generally, once they have a chance to see the benefits of surgery and to have their questions answered, family members can become your biggest cheerleaders as you undergo weight loss surgery.
9) Is surgery a life-long cure?
Surgery is a powerful tool that can level the playing field in your struggle with your weight. However, it is not a magical cure. In order to maximize your weight loss, you need to combine surgery with other tools like a strict diet and daily exercise*.
At the BMCC, we understand that weight loss is a journey. We are with you every step of the way as you create a healthier life for yourself.
10) Will I have excess skin after surgery?
Probably. A majority of patients do have excess skin after weight loss surgery. However, for patients concerned about this, plastic surgery can eliminate unwanted skin and recontour the body. Patients who go this route are usually very satisfied.
Many other patients do not undergo plastic surgery, for the simple reason that they don’t feel that their excess skin is a significant problem. You can choose the solution that works best for you.
Bariatric Surgery Questions
Do you have any other bariatric surgery questions? Is there anything we didn’t touch on that you’d like to know more about, or are there any concerns that you have? Give us a call or email us, and we’ll be happy to answer them!