Weight Loss Surgery FAQs

The amount of weight you lose and how fast depends on which bariatric surgery you choose and a variety of other factors, such as your starting body mass index (BMI) and your ability to follow the lifestyle changes recommended by the bariatric team. Patients who have the sleeve gastrectomy are predicted to lose 55% of their excess body weight in 1 year and patients who have the roux-en-y gastric bypass surgery are predicted to lose 65%-70% of their excess body weight in 1 year.  So, in simpler terms, if a patient is 100 lbs. overweight, s/he will lose 55 lbs. in 1 year if they chose to have a sleeve gastrectomy and 65-70 lbs. in 1 year if they chose to have gastric bypass surgery. 

On average, you are in the hospital for 2 nights if you have sleeve or gastric bypass surgery.

We recommend you take 4-6 weeks for recovery.  You will not be confined to a bed within this time period although you will be recovering from surgery initially.  In fact, we encourage you to take short walks while you are in the hospital and once you are home to help with the recovery.  However, you will need the 4-6 weeks to practice behavioral eating and drinking habits, such as taking small bites, sipping your fluids slowly and chewing your food thoroughly.  You will also have low energy immediately after surgery due to a decrease in your caloric intake and it will take some time before you feel more like yourself.

The bariatric surgeon will gladly discuss the option with you at your appointment and we do offer gastric band care to patients.  However, there often are complications and a failure of significant weight loss with the gastric band.  Therefore, we also offer removal of gastric bands and the option for converting a band to another weight loss surgery for patients that qualify for this option. 

At your first appointment, we will take a comprehensive diet and medical history.  You will also be set up for the majority of the appointments you need before you can have surgery.  Please plan accordingly as you will be at your first appointment for about 2 hours. 

It depends on the requirements from your insurance provider as well as the tests and requirements of our bariatric team.  Some insurance companies do require you to be in a program for 6 months before you can have surgery, but on average it takes approximately 3 months after your initial appointment to get a surgery date.  

Yes, but the amount of excess skin will vary depending on your age, genetics, smoking status and weight loss.  Patients may choose to have plastic surgery to have the skin removed.  We will gladly recommend you to a plastic surgeon to discuss insurance coverage and which surgeries are offered for patients who have had weight loss surgery.  

Some hair loss is common after surgery, but it is almost always temporary.  We recommend adequate protein intake and taking vitamins and minerals to minimize short term hair loss and to avoid any long term thinning.   

Having weight loss surgery is a big decision and does require a commitment to a new way of life.  After surgery, we recommend patients do not drink beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine or carbonation for the rest of their life.  We also advise patients to not smoke and continue to take vitamins for the rest of their life. These changes begin when you start the program to help you prepare for surgery and be successful long-term after surgery. 

Keeping You Connected!

There are a number of ways to stay up to date with Lowell General Hospital. Learn more about the latest health topics from our medical experts, participate in a class or a support group, review current hospital news, and take advantage of our many resources.