Bariatric Surgery FAQs
How do I know if I am eligible for weight loss surgery?
Sasse Surgical Associates follows guidelines supported by the medical literature, including the FDA, the National Institutes of Health and scientific papers in order to determine a patient’s eligibility for weight loss surgery. Rather than using weight, we use BMI or body mass index (determined by weight in relation to height) as a criteria for surgery. You are a candidate for surgery if:
- You have failed previous attempts at sustained weight loss.
- Your BMI is 30 or greater with obesity-related health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, or musculoskeletal disease.
- Your BMI is greater than 40 with or without obesity-related health conditions
Before becoming eligible for surgery, you will meet with our surgeon, dieticians, psychologists and members of our staff for a full evaluation.
Is weight loss surgery right for everyone?
The short answer is no. Surgery is not a solution for everyone. We determine whether a patient is right for surgery only after a complete evaluation and discussion with the patient. Because weight loss surgery is a life-altering procedure, we want to make sure our patients are committed to making the lifestyle changes necessary for a successful procedure.
What are the risks of weight loss surgery?
All major surgery comes with risks. The mortality risk and risk of serious complications is roughly on par or below the risk associated with cesarean section surgery or ventral hernia repair surgery. Studies have also demonstrated the risks of not undergoing weight-loss surgery usually significantly exceeds the risks of undergoing weight-loss surgery, when measured over a few years. Dr. Sasse emphasizes a minimally invasive approach to weight-loss surgery and emphasizes minimizing risks, which have fallen markedly over last 15 years. During your first appointment, you and Dr. Sasse can discuss your individual risk level based on your specific health conditions, and he will explain your individual risk level.
Will my insurance cover the procedure?
Insurance coverage depends on your insurance plan. Before you come in for your first appointment, please call your insurance company to find out if weight loss surgery is a covered benefit. You will also need to determine whether or not your insurance provider has any additional criteria such as a physician-supervised weight loss program. You must meet all of your insurance’s requirements before they will cover weight loss surgery. Kent Sasse Surgical Associates has a patient advocate who can help guide you through this process. Dr. Sasse has successfully negotiated very favorable pricing with the hospital and passes those savings on to you. Additionally, he has negotiated favorable financing for individuals. Together these efforts have markedly reduced the costs of life-changing weight-loss surgery and made it affordable for most people.
If I am interested in weight loss surgery, what is my first step?
If you are interested in weight loss surgery please call us at 775.829.7999. We will help you register for an informational seminar where you will learn more about our program and our weight loss surgery options.
What should I bring to my first appointment?
When you come to your first appointment please bring the following information:
- Insurance card
- Photo Id
- Any paperwork required by Kent Sasse Surgical Associates, completely filled out
- Insurance required referral or authorization for consultation
- A list of your current medications
What happens during the first appointment?
Plan to be at the first appointment for about three hours. The surgeon or physician assistant will perform an extensive history and physical. You will also meet with a bariatric patient advocate to go over all estimated financial responsibilities. Depending on scheduling, our dietician and psychologist may also see you at this appointment.
After the first appointment, how long will it take before I have surgery?
This depends on your insurance provider and their requirements, as well as the diagnostic testing and requirements our team finds necessary.
What is the recovery time following surgery?
You are generally up and walking on the first day. The day after surgery you are able to begin a liquid diet. For most individuals pain is well controlled with liquid oral pain medication after the first day. Those who have the LAP-BAND procedure are generally discharged the same day. Those who have had gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy are usually discharged on the second day following surgery. After the LAP-BAND procedure, you return to normal activities and can be back to work within 7 to 14 days. Those undergoing gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy return to normal activities and can be back to work within two weeks.
How much weight will I lose after bariatric surgery?
Weight loss varies from patient to patient but on average you can expect to lose 65-70% of excess body weight following Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass surgery, 55-60% following Sleeve Gastrectomy and 35-45% off excess body weight following Laparoscopic Gastric Banding (LAP-BAND).
Will I have to take vitamins?
Yes, we do advise you to continue with a vitamin regimen for the rest of your life. This is in hopes of replacing the medications you will no longer be needing. The amount of vitamins you will be in need of taking depends on your weight loss surgery. Our dietitian will provide you with the necessary information regarding vitamins after your surgery
Should I exercise after weight loss surgery?
Regular exercise is extremely important for maintaining your weight loss. Your bariatric surgery team will help you with the types of exercise you should be doing and how soon after surgery you should start doing them.
What if I have excess skin?
As you start losing weight you may notice excess skin. The amount of excess skin you experience is due to your weight loss, heritage, age and past smoking habits. Sometimes, patients choose to have plastic surgery to have this skin removed. We have a surgeon who works very closely with our patients regarding plastic surgery.
How is Adjustable Gastric Banding (LAP-BAND) different from Gastric Bypass (Roux-en-Y)? And how are these different than the sleeve gastrectomy?
Gastric Banding is a purely restrictive procedure. A silicone band is placed around the upper portion of the stomach to produce a small pouch which creates a feeling of fullness and prevents the desire to eat excessively. This procedure limits the amount of food which can be eaten at one sitting but does not affect the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
Roux-en-Y or Gastric Bypass is a combination restrictive and malabsorptive procedure. A small pouch is formed at the upper portion of the stomach as in the LAP-BAND but this pouch is surgically created (permanent) and the remainder of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine (duodenum) is bypassed which causes malabsorption (fewer calories are absorbed for several months following the surgery). This combination procedure results in rapid weight loss and requires life-long daily replacement of vitamins and minerals to prevent deficiencies.
The sleeve gastrectomy is a procedure which creates a profound hormonal and metabolic change – eliminating hunger while reducing the size of the stomach to a long slender tube-shaped or banana-shaped stomach with less capacity. Many experts consider it the least invasive and most effective procedure of all, and suitable for high-risk candidates.
Which weight loss procedure is less invasive?
All procedures are done laparoscopically which means usually five to six small incisions about one inch in length are made on your abdomen. This results in less pain, minimal scarring and a much faster recovery. The laparoscopic gastric banding is less invasive than the gastric bypass because a silicone band is used to form the new stomach pouch. The gastric bypass pouch is surgically formed. The LAP-BAND however requires adjustments. This means a needle is placed through your skin to a port where fluid is inserted or removed to provide adequate feeling of satiety. The LAP-BAND requires more frequent follow-up visits (usually every 6 weeks) over the first few years.
Many experts now consider the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy to be the least invasive procedure in many ways, and you can discuss these viewpoints when you visit with Dr. Sasse.