Frequently Asked Questions
What is bariatric surgery?
Also known as weight-loss surgery, bariatric surgery is a method of helping obese people lose weight, along with a healthy diet, exercise, and behavioral modifications. Bariatric surgery has been shown to reduce or even eliminate dangerous medical conditions over time.
Am I a candidate for bariatric surgery?
To be eligible for bariatric surgery, you must:
- Be at least 13 years old
- Have a history of trying other diet methods unsuccessfully, including medically supervised dieting
- Have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more (100 pounds or more overweight), or have a BMI of 35 with two or more weight-related conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and/or sleep apnea
Each potential weight-loss surgery candidate is evaluated to determine whether he or she is a good candidate for a successful weight-loss outcome. In addition, each insurance company has candidate requirements.
What types of bariatric surgery do our surgeons perform?
Our surgeons have expert, long-standing experience performing a wide range of weight-loss procedures, including:
- Gastric sleeve
- Gastric bypass
- Gastric banding
We also offer revisional surgery for patients who’ve had complications with previous bariatrics or general surgeries.
Which surgery is for me?
Once you qualify for our weight-loss program, our bariatric surgeons will discuss your surgical options. They will make recommendations based on factors, such as your medical history, current health, BMI and more.
All of our doctors perform various types of bariatric procedures. Gastric sleeve, known as sleeve gastrectomy, is the most common because it generally has the fewest complications and the best weight-loss outcomes. The gastric band and gastric bypass are no longer considered best practices in bariatric surgery, and generally, physicians will counsel you towards other surgery options. However, there are circumstances that warrant these procedures.
What kind of support do you provide?
Success comes from your commitment to the weight-loss and maintenance process. Weight-loss surgery is a tool that, along with a change in lifestyle, can change your story. We are here to support you throughout the process.
Prior to your surgery, you are required to meet with our nutritionist and psychologist. They can provide you with professional support to better understand both the nutritional and emotional components of your surgery, as well as the diet and behavioral changes you will need to make in order to successfully lose weight. You will also meet with our nutritionist and psychologist after your surgery. As your weight-loss journey continues, we encourage all of our patients to schedule ongoing appointments with a nutritionist and a psychologist who have experience with weight-loss surgery patients.
We also offer patient support groups, which gives you the opportunity to share your experiences with others who have gone through similar weight-loss journeys. Patients who are scheduled for surgery are encouraged to attend one of our support groups prior to surgery, although the groups are primarily geared to helping you achieve your desired weight goal after surgery. Our support groups also incorporate nutritional and psychological components.
Are your weight-loss surgery seminars available in other languages?
When we do have seminars available, yes, they are in both English and Spanish.
How does the weight-loss surgery process work?
Most patients begin their journey by calling 305-585-TRIM for a consultation. There, you can learn about general requirements for bariatric surgery, get an overview of insurance requirements, and complete a patient intake form. After that, the following process usually applies:
- You will call and schedule a consultation appointment with the surgeon you’ve chosen. You can also call to to discuss your options and receive assistance choosing a surgeon.
- You will meet with our bariatric coordinator, who will educate you about what to expect as you change your weight-loss story. You’ll be briefed on the changes you can expect, such as any medications you take, additional health and medical monitoring you may require, the psychological effects you may experience during your journey, the eating and nutritional changes you will have to make, and more.
- You will have appointments with our nutritionist and psychologist.
- You will complete pre-surgery testing, including lab work, an EKG, and a chest x-ray.
- You will obtain clearance from your primary care physician. If you do not have a primary care physician, we can refer you to one.
- There are financing options for those who don’t have insurance or can’t self-pay, and our finance team can help you through that process.
- You will have your surgery in one of our two dedicated bariatric surgery centers. Both of our South Florida bariatric surgery centers are are rated as Accredited Comprehensive Centers with Adolescent Qualifications by Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP), conducted under the auspices of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).
- Most patients stay one night with us in the bariatric surgery center. This differs with each patient, but rest assured that all of our rooms are tailored toward bariatric patients (e.g., larger beds and toilets).
- Before you leave, you’ll meet with our nutritionist, who will give you a personalized nutrition plan for your first month after surgery. You will also receive a personalized medical care plan, which will detail new recommendations for any medications you are taking, as well as appointments you have with other healthcare providers.
- We encourage you to meet with your primary care doctor and specialist one to two days after your bariatric surgery.
- While your surgery is complete, the process to change your weight-loss story is just beginning.
- We encourage all of our patients to continue to consult with a nutritionist and a psychologist who have experience with weight-loss surgery. Your insurance may require these appointments. We’ll make sure you know what is required, what is covered and what we recommend.
The process from your consultation to surgery is typically around three months, although it can vary per person. Don’t worry: Our expert team will be with you throughout every step as you change your story.
How much weight can I expect to lose?
Weight loss will be different for every person based on the procedure they had performed, as well as each person’s health, weight prior to surgery, and how well each person adapts to a new lifestyle after surgery. Typically, patients can expect to lose weight quickly in the initial months, after which weight loss will be slower.
How long will I need to stay in the hospital?
The length of your hospital stay will depend on the type of surgery you have. Patients typically stay one day and overnight, unless they have any special needs or may require more time to recover.
What can I expect immediately post-surgery?
Patients are encouraged to meet with their primary care doctor and specialist between one to two days after the procedure. Each type of surgery will be followed up with specific postoperative care, including:
- You will be on a special diet the first 30 days after your surgery. After that, you will go back to solid foods.
- Your blood pressure and blood sugar levels will need to be closely monitored if you are on medication or under a physician’s care for high blood pressure or diabetes. Your medications may need to be adjusted frequently.
- You should meet with a nutritionist who has bariatric experience.
- Attend one of our monthly support group meetings.
How soon can I return to work and regular activities after surgery?
After you leave the hospital, you will be able to take care of your personal needs, but will require help with other tasks, such as driving, lifting heavy objects, and caring for children. The time away from your job will depend upon the type of surgery you have and the kind of work that you do.
Generally, you can expect to take one to two weeks off work following your surgery, although this varies per person. During that time, your focus will be on establishing healthy eating and drinking habits. You should be back to regular activities in three to five weeks.
What changes will I need to make after surgery?
It is important to remember that weight-loss surgery is a tool to help you lose weight, but keeping the weight off will depend on changing your eating and exercise habits for the rest of your life. Your surgeon, nutritionist, and psychologist will be important resources in helping you make healthy lifestyle choices.
Will insurance cover my weight-loss surgery?
Many insurance plans, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, cover all or a portion of bariatric surgery when it is used to help address serious medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. However, insurance plans vary regarding surgery requirements and the amount of coverage provided.
Jackson’s bariatric surgery coordinators will work with you to help you better understand your situation,and to explore financing options if your insurance does not cover the surgery, or if you need assistance paying your share of the cost.
The self-pay option has a number of advantages. You may be able to schedule your surgery sooner, because many insurance plans require documented diet histories. Your cost may also be tax-deductible, though you should always review that with your tax advisor.
Could I regain weight after bariatric surgery?
Weight-loss surgery is a tool to help you lose weight, but your success in losing weight and keeping it off are dependent on your own commitment to changing your diet, exercise habits, and lifestyle. It is possible for some patients to regain weight after surgery, but we will give you all the support we can to help you succeed and stay successful.
Can I get pregnant after weight-loss surgery?
Yes, and in some cases it is easier to get pregnant after bariatric surgery, once you have attained a healthy weight and BMI. Female patients are advised to wait at least two years after surgery before trying to become pregnant. Your surgeon can offer advice for your individual situation.