Frequently Asked Questions
When and why should I consider weight loss surgery?
- Surgery is the best long-term treatment for obesity. Its recommended for patients with BMI of more than 40 or more than 35 with comorbidities such as diabetes, high cholesterol and sleep apnoea. It can be also considered for lower BMI with severe diabetes. Patients can expect long term excess weight loss of between 50 to 90% based on type of surgery and compliance.
- Obesity is a disease and large population based studies have shown that it leads to a myriad of problems like diabetes, increased cancer risk, heart disease, sleep apnoea, arthritis and many others. The chances of losing and maintaining a health weight by diet and exercise is 1 in 1,290 for men and 1 in 677 for women with severe obesity.
Which is the best surgery?
- There is no one best surgery. The best operation is determined based on multiple factors and is individualized. After the initial consult and assessing your health and risk factors an appropriate surgery will be determined.
Is the surgery painful?
- Surgery is done with laparoscopic or key hole technique. The largest cut is usually only 15mm in size. Most patients have very tolerable pain that is well managed with analgesics.
What about pregnancy and weight loss surgery?
- Fertility increases after surgery. Birth control pills are not very reliable during the time your weight is changing. For this reason, having an IUD or using condoms and spermicide with ALL intercourse is recommended.
- Most groups recommend waiting 12-18 months after surgery before getting pregnant.
- Babies born to mothers who have had weight loss surgery have been shown to be slightly smaller in size for gestational age.The good news is that, after surgery, there is much less risk of experiencing problems during pregnancy (gestational diabetes, eclampsia, macrosomia) and during childbirth. There are also fewer miscarriages and stillbirths than in heavy women who have not had surgery and weight loss.
- Kids born after mom’s surgery are LESS at risk of being affected by obesity later, due to activation of certain genes during fetal growth There is also less risk of needing a C section.
How long will I be off work?
- If all goes well most people will return to work in 10 to 14 days. You should be able to drive after 5 days.
What and how much can I eat after surgery?
- Depending on the type of surgery the quality of eating varies. With the gastric band there is much more restriction on type of food. With the sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass you will be able to eat most types of food albeit in smaller quantity.
- As you will only be able to eat small quantity of food. Usually an entre size meal will be your main. It is advised that you concentrate mainly on protein intake and daily vitamin supplements.
What are the risks of weight loss surgery?
- All major surgery comes with risks, and the risks are different for each patient. During your first appointment, your surgeon will explain your individual risk level.
- Overall the major morbidity risks are under 5%
- Mortality is under 0.5%
Should I exercise after weight loss surgery?
- Regular exercise is extremely important for improving long-term outcomes and 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.
Do I need private health insurance?
- For private bariatric surgery it is important to have private health insurance that covers obesity surgery.
- There will be out of pocket costs or gap charges depending on health fund and type of surgery.
Does the superannuation cover surgery?
- You can apply to your super fund with support from your GP and us to cover the out of pocket fees. Weight loss surgery is usually considered and approved by the super fund as it is an important treatment for obesity.