Making an informed decision requires accurate information, and that’s particularly true when you’re investigating weight-loss surgery. As you consider your options, here are six questions to ask before your weight-loss surgery.
1. Which Procedure is Right for Me?
Since metabolic surgery has evolved and improved, it has also become a little more complicated. Although the sleeve procedure has taken center stage in recent years, some centers and some surgeons might favor a different approach in individual cases. For example, some surgeons may advise gastric bypass for a person with severe gastroesophageal reflux, and another surgeon might recommend duodenal switch for a person with type 2 diabetes. It is important to make sure the recommended procedure feels right to you and that the recommendation is specific to you and your health.
2. Will You be Here for Me for the Long Haul?
Obesity is a life-long condition to battle. Metabolic surgery, while hugely helpful, can have some long-term side effects, like vitamin deficiencies. It is nice to know the center, the surgeon, or his or her colleagues will be around to provide long-term care and guidance, and they will help solve any long-term problems that could arise. The commitment to a long-term relationship is invaluable. This is also a good reason to talk anyone you know from going out of the country for this procedure.
3. What is the Go-To Procedure if my Surgery Needs to be Revised or I Re-Gain my Weight?
This might sound like something you do not want to consider, but at least 10% of people with either gastric bypass or sleeve will not achieve a satisfactory result and would benefit from a revision procedure. Nowadays, revision procedures are highly successful, safe, and minimal invasive in achieving successful weight loss. It is helpful to know your surgeon has been through this before and has a plan for you if the surgery and your genetics/biology do not result in a huge success.
4. What is the Procedure for Reducing my Blood Pressure and Diabetes Medications?
For millions of people taking medicine for high blood pressure and high blood sugar, metabolic surgery is not only a lifeline but a doorway to a better world without those medications. The question sometimes is, how do I know if I can stop taking the medications? Some surgeons are comfortable managing the transition and others rely on the primary care providers and specialists to make decisions about reducing or stopping medications you will no longer need. If you are taking medications like these, a tip is to be mindful of your own blood pressure and blood sugar after surgery and communicate often with your primary doctor and surgeon as you safely wean off these meds.
5. Do I need a CPAP or BiPap Machine once I Get Home from Surgery?
If you have diagnosed sleep apnea, the answer is yes. If you have symptoms of snoring, if people tell you that you stop breathing, if you are constantly tired and get headaches and poor sleep, the answer might be yes. Tell your primary care doctor and surgeon about your symptoms and they may have you complete a screening questionnaire. If one is recommended, get the sleep test done and get fitted for the CPAP or BiPap device. It will not only help you feel better and get more rest, but it will make your recovery safer after surgery when your breathing is vulnerable from residual painkillers and anesthesia.
6. When Should I Call my Surgeon’s Office versus my Primary Care Doctor?
This is a good question to ask your surgeon and his staff, and the answer should be something along the lines of, “Call us any time you have a concern.” In most cases, the kinds of worries and troubles people experience after bariatric surgery are easily handled over the phone or with a scheduled visit. In rare cases, a problem has arisen that requires the expertise of the specialist, so if in doubt, it is better to err on the side of contacting that specialist. And nearly all of us in this field are more than happy to help make sure you’re getting the right answers to stay safe and healthy.
You’ll likely have more questions as you begin learning more about weight-loss surgery. The Sasse Surgical team here in Reno is happy to help. Contact us today, or start with our frequently asked questions about weight-loss surgery.