Considering weight loss surgery

Bariatric treatment could drastically improve your health, happiness, and lifespan. Here are a few things to consider.

What causes obesity?
Several factors can lead to obesity including genetics, metabolism, environment, eating disorders and medical conditions.

What are the health threats of obesity?
There are many health threats linked to obesity including heart disease and/or stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, some cancers, gallbladder disease and gallstones, joint and back problems, osteoarthritis, gout, breathing problems (such as sleep apnea), and asthma.

Am I a candidate for weight loss surgery?
If you are between the ages of 18 and 70 and have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or greater, or 35-39 with co-morbidities such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, or congestive heart failure, you may qualify.

How do I find out my Body Mass Index (BMI)?
You may use the BMI calculator at bmi-calculator.net.

Should I have bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery is not a quick fix. It requires a major life change. Not only it is major surgery, but success and your health depend on lifestyle changes both with diet and exercise. Before and after surgery, you will need to work closely with Dr. Fernandez, a nutritionist or dietitian, and a physical therapist to monitor your diet, exercise and any side effects from surgery.

How do I prepare for weight loss surgery?
Preparation begins with a private consultation. Dr. Fernandez will do a comprehensive work-up to ensure you are a good candidate for bariatric surgery. To determine the risks of surgery, an accurate health assessment is necessary. Your insurance provider may require that you participate in a physician-assisted weight loss program for three to six months. The average time from the initial consultation to surgery is four to six months.

What should I expect before surgery?
Dr. Fernandez may ask you to lose some weight before surgery to improve your health and show your commitment to change. Those who use tobacco products are at a higher surgical risk.

What are the risks?
While all surgeries carry some risk of infection or blood clots, being obese makes complications more likely, particularly if you have early signs of diabetes or heart disease. Specific complications of bariatric surgery include leaking, intestinal obstruction, low blood sugar, vomiting, poor nutrition, and dumping syndrome. Long-term risks include ulcers, vitamin deficiencies, and internal hernia with the laparoscopic gastric bypass. You should get a thorough check-up to find any potential problems before surgery.

How do I pay for surgery?
Insurance coverage varies by provider. Contact your insurance provider to see if it provides coverage for weight loss surgery or bariatric surgery if considered medically necessary. If your insurance provider does not coverage weight loss surgery, we offer a self-pay or financing options.

How much weight will I lose?
How much weight you lose in the first year after surgery depends on the type of surgery. You may lose between 50% and 70% of your extra body weight within two years after surgery.

Will I regain weight?
Not if you maintain the healthy lifestyle and diet changes that you adopt the first year after surgery.

What should I expect following surgery?
Most patients go home the day after surgery. Recovery time varies depending on the type of surgery. With gastric bypass, recovery can take up to four weeks.

After your procedure, it is typical to have the following sensations: Soreness, sluggishness, tiredness, moodiness and chilliness. Experiencing dry skin and some hair loss after bariatric surgery is not unusual.

Your nutritional health will be monitored with regular checkups and you will need to follow a healthy diet and exercise plan.

What will my diet be following surgery?
You will be on a progression from liquids, then to pureed foods, and then to a variety of healthy, solid foods after about a month. In the long run, you will be able to each most anything that you choose, just in moderation.

What vitamins will I need to take?
Bariatric surgery dramatically decreases the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and nutrients and/or restricts the amount of food you can consume which results in malnutrition, or vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Vitamins and minerals are needed after surgery so the body can heal properly. They also regulate the metabolism and help convert calories into energy.

All patients will need to take an adult multi-vitamin and calcium daily. Some patients will require extra vitamin B-12, vitamin D and iron. Gastric bypass patients are more likely to need these additional vitamin supplements.

How do I achieve long-term success?
Maintain a healthy lifestyle including diet and exercise, follow-up annually with Dr. Fernandez, and attend a bariatric support group.

How do I get started?
Call Dr. Fernandez’s office at 256-882-1908.