Bariatric Surgery: Frequently Asked Questions

Sep 13, 2023


If you’re considering weight-loss surgery, you probably have a lot of questions. Is it a good choice for you? How can you be sure you’ll get the lasting results you want?

Our accredited bariatric program is with you every step of the way — from helping you know if you are a candidate for surgery to making sure you have follow-up support after surgery for years to come.

Q: Is bariatric surgery safe?

A: Bariatric surgery is safe and effective for providing long-term weight loss benefits to overweight patients. The operation is safer now than ever before, and robotic-assisted surgeries allow for shorter recovery and fewer complications than large, traditional incisions. Complication rates are very low and similar to other routine abdominal surgery procedures.

Q: Who qualifies for bariatric surgery?

A: You may be a bariatric surgery candidate if you’re an adult who meets one or more of these criteria:

  • You have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more.
  • You have a BMI of 30–34 along with one or more obesity-related health problems — such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), high blood pressure, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), infertility or sleep apnea.

Learn more about qualifying for bariatric surgery.

Q: What types of bariatric surgery are available?

A: We offer three types of weight-loss surgery:

  • Gastric sleeve surgery
  • Gastric bypass surgery
  • Duodenal switch surgery
Q: Does insurance cover weight-loss surgery?

A: More insurance companies are recognizing the value to patients for bariatric surgery. This is commonly covered as a benefit through many insurance plans. Your insurance provider will be able to tell you what is covered on your specific health plan — and what any requirements are. Our care navigation team assists patients with navigating insurance requirements, but it’s a good idea to reach out to your insurance provider if you’re considering surgery.

Q: Is weight loss surgery a ‘cop-out’? Isn’t diet and exercise the “legit” way to lose weight?

A: No! Large studies have shown that diet and exercise are not effective long term for many patients to sustain meaningful weight loss. Often, factors out of your control determine your weight. Diet and exercise often fight against your body’s natural weight, which is why long-term success is low. Following bariatric surgery, your body’s natural weight will be lower. This means eating healthy and exercising will now be working with your body to sustain meaningful weight loss for the long term.

Q: Do I need to lose weight before bariatric surgery?

A: You will not necessarily be required to lose weight before surgery, but it can depend on requirements from your insurance. Your care team can help you navigate insurance requirements, and your surgeon can let you know if it’s recommended that you do lose any weight before surgery.

Q: How long does the process take from start to finish?

A: You can expect to six to 12 months from the time you first meet with our team to the time you receive surgery, depending on your insurance coverage and how quickly you move through the presurgery program.

But your journey won’t end there. Deciding to get surgery is a lifelong commitment. Patients are followed up with regularly after surgery to make sure they achieve their goals.

In addition, you’ll continue to meet with your care team during the months following surgery and each year after that.

Q: How much weight can I expect to lose?

A: Most patients lose weight during the first one to two years after surgery. You can expect to lose approximately 30–40% of your total body weight.

Q: Besides weight loss, what other benefits are there to bariatric surgery?

A: Some of the most profound benefits of bariatric surgery are:

  • Improved mental health
  • Joint pain relief
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Decreased cancer risk
  • Increased life expectancy
  • Reverse or cure major medical conditions (diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.)
  • Improved fertility

Talk to your doctor about your existing conditions that may be improved with weight-loss surgery.

Q: What support will I receive before and after surgery?

A: Our team supports you at every step — before, during and after surgery. Before surgery, you’ll participate in our presurgery education program. This includes:

  • A seminar
  • Assistance with insurance eligibility
  • Appointments with nurse practitioners, dietitians, physical therapists and psychologists
  • Weight-loss classes
  • A treatment plan
  • Patient navigator calls

After surgery, you’ll meet with your care team regularly during the first year and then annually after that. You’ll also have access to a dietitian and psychologist and will need to make sure you’re seeing your primary care doctor once a year as well.

Q: How long will I be in the hospital, and what can I expect in the days following surgery?

A: Patients typically spend just one night in the hospital following surgery before they go home. Your care team will provide a full plan for you after surgery, but you can expect to:

  • Have a full liquid diet and gradually advance your diet to regular foods in the weeks after surgery.
  • Be up and walking the same day after surgery.
  • Resume regular medications within a day or two of surgery.
  • Ease into moderate exercise two to three weeks after surgery.
Q: When can I return to work after surgery?

A: Generally, you can return to work between one and four weeks after laparoscopic surgery.

Q: What kind of scars will I have after surgery?

A: Because our bariatric surgery options are minimally invasive, you won’t have large scars after surgery. You may have four or five very small scars that are about 8 mm — less than half an inch. Most surgeries are performed with the da Vinci surgical robot for safe, effective surgery with minimal scaring and great outcomes.

Q: How do I get started?

A: Learn more about our bariatric surgery program, who qualifies and what to expect.