Bariatric Surgery

Are you struggling with weight loss? Have you been unsuccessful with traditional weight loss options including diet and exercise?

Dr. Fernandez, a board-certified general surgeon, and his dedicated staff are ready to help you achieve your health goals through minimally invasive bariatric surgery.

Bariatric surgery is safe and effective and can help you achieve long-lasting weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.  Bariatric surgery is covered by many insurance policies. Call our office today to get started. 256-882-1908

weight loss couple

Exclusive Live Online Event on Bariatric Surgery by Dr. Dennis Fernandez, FACS
Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 7 pm CT - [ Ask your Questions via LIVE Chat ]

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Begin Your Journey

Weight loss surgery can change your life. Losing dangerous excess weight can significantly improve your health and enhance your psychological and social well-being—not to mention your overall quality of life.

Call our office at 256-882-1908 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Fernandez. During your consultation, Dr. Fernandez will do a thorough history and physical to determine if you are a good candidate for bariatric surgery. If Dr. Fernandez determines that you are a good candidate, he will discuss which operation will be best for you.

Interested in learning more about bariatric surgery before scheduling an appointment? Attend a free support group meeting at the Crestwood Bariatric Center. The support group typically meets the first Thursday of every month starting at 6:00pm. Meetings are held in the conference room at Crestwood Medical Center, One Hospital Drive in Huntsville, Alabama. For additional information, contact Caris Cantrell, RN, Clinical Coordinator at 256-429-4092 or caris.cantrell@crestwoodmedcenter.com.

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Insurance Coverage & Cost

Although weight loss is important for your health, your insurance provider may not pay for bariatric surgery. Contact your insurance provider to see if it provides coverage for weight loss surgery or bariatric surgery if considered medically necessary. Insurance providers typically do not pay for dietary counseling.

If your insurance provider covers bariatric surgery, you will still be responsible for co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance. Most insurance carriers have rigorous requirements that you must meet before you receive approval for bariatric surgery. This may include, but is not limited to, six months or more of physician-supervised dieting, a three to five-year history of being morbidly obese, extensive records, a dietician assessment, monthly visits with a dietician, psychological clearance, medical testing, etc. Each carrier and each policy have different requirements. Please be patient as we work with you and your insurance provider to obtain approval.

You also have the option of avoiding all of the extra requirements to get bariatric surgery by going the self-pay route.

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Self pay Costs

For those that do not have insurance coverage for weight loss or bariatric surgery, below is the self-pay pricing.

Crestwood Medical Center

Dennis L. Fernandez, M.D., P.C. Fees
Surgery: $3,750
Initial office-consultation: $ 185
Follow-up appointments: $ 75*
*Follow-up appointments within 90 days from the date of surgery are covered in the surgery fee.

Crestwood Medical Center Fee
Sleeve Gastrectomy: $4,225
Gastric Bypass: $8,000
Must be paid 48-hours in advance. Call pre-registration at 256-429-4878 and ask for Donna.

Anesthesia Fee
Anesthesia: $800.00 if paid in advance ($2,400.00 if not paid in advance)
Physynergy contact: Betty, 256-469-7895, Option #2

Pathology Associates Fee
Pathology: $ 172.00 to $277.00

Huntsville Hospital

Dennis L. Fernandez, M.D., P.C. Fees
Surgery: $3,750
Initial office-consultation: $ 185
Follow-up appointments: $ 75*
*Follow-up appointments within 90 days from the date of surgery are covered in the surgery fee.

Huntsville Hospital Fee
Sleeve Gastrectomy: $5,200 (inclusive of anesthesia and pathology)
Gastric Bypass: $9,100 (inclusive of anesthesia and pathology)
Must be paid two weeks prior to the date of surgery.  Call Amy Castillo at 256-265-9567.

Financing

Financing is offered through Prosper Healthcare Lending, the premier financing company in the healthcare industry. With over $5 Billion borrowed and over 250,000 people empowered, this is a name and a program you can trust.

Here are some of the benefits you’ll receive with a loan from Prosper Healthcare Lending:

  • Immediate decisions without affecting your credit!
  • Longer terms for lower monthly payments
  • No collateral required
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Fast & easy loan inquiry process
  • 100% Confidential
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Surgery

Bariatric surgery is offered at the accredited bariatric center at Crestwood Medical Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Bariatric Surgery Stomach Staple

Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy

Dr. Fernandez offers sleeve gastrectomy, a proven surgical technique for patients who suffer from obesity, but have experienced little to no success with exercise and dieting. Sleeve gastrectomy, also known as vertical sleeve gastrectomy or gastric sleeve operation, involves removing 85-90% of the volume of the stomach and then reshaping the remaining portion into a sleeve-like structure.

The reduced stomach effectively restricts the flow of food particles in the intestines, leading the patient to experience a faster-acting and longer-lasting sensation of satiety. As a result, a patient eats less in each sitting.

The laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy can be effective in curing or relieving Type II diabetes. It is also very effective in improving or curing high blood pressure, sleep apnea, asthma, heart disease, joint pain and acid reflux. The surgery is performed laparoscopically through tiny incisions, and most people go home from the hospital the day after surgery. Most patients are back to work in 2-3 weeks, but often in less time.

Bariatric Surgery Gastric Band Weight LossLaparoscopic Gastric Bypass

The laparoscopic gastric bypass is both a restrictive and malabsorptive procedure in which a tiny pouch is created, and the stomach is bypassed.

It is very effective in curing or relieving Type II diabetes, as well as high blood pressure, sleep apnea, heart disease, joint pain, and acid reflux.

The surgery is performed laparoscopically through tiny incisions, and most people go home from the hospital the day after surgery. Most patients are back to work in 2-3 weeks, but often in less time.

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After the Surgery

Post-Op Diet

Phase 1: Clear liquids days 1 and 2
Water, diluted juice, sugar-free Jell-O, popsicles, tea, Crystal Light, broth

Phase 2: Drinkable full liquids days 3-14
Thin yogurt, creamy soups, milk, protein shakes, smoothies

Phase 3: Pureed foods weeks 3 and 4 (and maybe 5)
Runny eggs, low-sugar apple sauce, cottage cheese, pureed meats and fish, refried beans, and anything you can puree to the consistency of baby food

Phase 4: Regular foods one month and beyond
Start with soft, healthy foods including fish, canned chicken or tuna, soups, veggies, and beans. Only try one new food at a time, and go very slowly. Small bites. Small amounts. Emphasize protein. Initially, avoid chewier or drier meat, such as chicken breast and steak.

Eating Tips after Bariatric Surgery

  • Do not drink liquids during meals. Wait 30 minutes after eating before having something to drink.
  • Chew, chew, chew
  • Eat slowly and take 30 minutes to eat your meal.
  • Eat proteins first, then fats and carbs.
  • Grazing, snacking, poor food choices at meals, and not exercising can sabotage your weight loss.
  • Initially, breads will be difficult to eat unless toasted.
  • Sugar-free doesn’t mean calorie-free. And there’s no such thing as diet ice cream.
  • Sugar, simple carbs, and starchy foods can cause dumping syndrome. High fat or greasy foods can cause immediate diarrhea.
  • Avoid carbonated beverages as they will cause discomfort and excess gas.
  • Avoid gulping and swallowing air when you eat. Otherwise, you may have discomfort and a lot of gas.
  • Some medications may need to be chewable, crushed, or converted to liquid or capsule form in the first month after bariatric surgery. In general, if the pill is small enough to fit into a regular size straw, you can just swallow it.
  • Initially, use chewable or liquid vitamins and calcium. But don’t forget to change to regular, adult multivitamins and calcium within 2 months after surgery.
  • Go to a support group. Other patients understand the changes in your life and can help you.

Post-Op Appointment

People who keep their bariatric post-op check-ups typically lose more weight than those who don’t. These office visits are comprised of far more than just the number you see on the scale. The follow-up visits are important to make sure that you are adjusting to your procedure, and that you are not having problems with your nutritional intake from either food or any recommended vitamins. Dr. Fernandez will also check your labs and ensure that you are progressing mentally, emotionally and physically.

As part of Dr. Fernandez’s comprehensive bariatric program, we recommend at least 4 follow-up visits during the first-year; every six months during the year after surgery; and once yearly thereafter.

After your weight loss surgery, the outcome is up to you and you alone. You can achieve a good result, or you can potentially achieve a faster outstanding outcome. As the patient, you are in the driver’s seat of your weight loss and your level of commitment is up to you.

Patients who don’t make or keep their bariatric follow-up appointments may eventually suffer the consequences of diminished overall weight loss.

For appointment scheduling, please call our office at 256-882-1908.

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Common Questions

1. 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 a BMI between 35-39 with co-morbidities such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, or congestive heart failure, you may be a candidate. (hyperlink insurance form here)

2. How much weight will I lose after surgery?
Most people can expect to lose between 60% and 70% of their excess body weight. Most of this is lost within the first 18 months following surgery.

3. How quickly will I lose the weight?
With the Roux-En-Y gastric bypass, generally there is a very steep weight loss which plateaus after about 9 months. With the sleeve gastrectomy, you can expect to lose the same amount of weight over the 18 months, but the loss is more consistent.

4. Will I have excess skin as a result of the weight loss?
Due to the tremendous weight loss as a result of the Roux-En-Y gastric bypass, you may have some loose or sagging skin. You may also develop skin breakdown due to excess moisture problems underneath the skin along with chronic infection. There may be less excess skin with the sleeve gastrectomy because the weight loss is more gradual, and the skin has time to recoil and adjust.

If you are left with excess skin and loose tissue around your abdomen, you may be a candidate for a panniculectomy. A panniculectomy is a procedure to remove the “apron” of fat and skin that hangs from the front of your abdomen. If Dr. Fernandez deems you to be a candidate, we can submit for approval to your insurance company.

5. Does the stomach stretch back to its original size over time?
With any weight loss surgery, your body has to adjust to a smaller capacity for food. Although it is common for some post-operative stretching to occur, if you follow your post-operative eating guidelines you should be able to maintain a healthy weight.

6. Can I eat whatever I want after surgery?
Aside from the initial bariatric diet which consists of a 1 to 1.5-month transition to solid food, you should be able to eat whatever you want - just not the quantity you could tolerate before.

7. Will bariatric surgery ease my joint pain?
In most cases, yes. With a reduction of weight on the joints, many people experience less joint pain and increased mobility. However, if there is already permanent damage to your joints, weight loss may not resolve all your joint pain.

8. Since my stomach is smaller and I can't eat as much, will I stay hungry?
We frequently hear from our patients that their cravings have significantly diminished, and they don’t feel compelled to eat all of the time. Much of this is due to reducing the amount of the hunger hormone (known as ghrelin) that is released into the system from the native stomach. Because the stomach is smaller, less ghrelin is produced.

9. Will I lose my hair?
Due to the post-operative diet, many patients suffer from a temporary thinning of the hair. To alleviate this problem, I recommend increasing protein intake and using hair-thickening shampoos. Thinning hair is a normal response to the initial rapid weight loss that occurs from both the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy. Once you’re back on a normal diet with adequate protein levels, the hair loss stabilizes, and you start to regain your hair. For most people, it goes back to normal.

10. How long will my recovery be?
Typically, my patients spend the first night postoperatively in the hospital. Many patients do not require any pain medicine. I encourage my patients to get up and walk around immediately during their post-operative stay in the hospital. Most people get back into the swing of things after a week or two following their procedure. For example, typically my patients go back to light aerobics and brisk walking after two weeks.

11. Will I feel weak because I'm not eating as much?
As with most operations, initially patients will feel fatigued. Once your metabolism changes for the better, your energy level will increase. This is because the quantity of food that is taken in is adequate enough to sustain good health. For other required energy, your body metabolizes the storage areas including the fatty deposits and therefore you should have an abundance of energy.

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