Surgical Weight Loss


How much weight will I lose? Will the weight loss be quick?

The amount of weight you lose, and how fast you lose it, depends on which weight loss surgery you have, and how dedicated you are to your exercise and diet plan. Those who have the gastric bypass may lose up to 70% to 75% of their excess body weight.*

*Each person’s weight loss challenges are different.There is no guarantee of results and vary for each individual.

Who loses more weight? Men or women?

Overall, both sexes respond well to bariatric surgery, but men tend to drop excess weight faster than women do.*

*Each person’s weight loss challenges are different.There is no guarantee of results and vary for each individual.

After the first appointment, how long will it take before I have surgery?

This depends on your insurance provider and the criteria they require, as well as the tests and requirements that the Mercy Weight Management Center team finds necessary.

Do I have to stop smoking before surgery?

Yes. You must stop smoking at least two months before starting the program. If you need help doing this, the support team at Mercy Weight Management Center can help you with a proven smoking cessation treatment. Need help getting started? Here are some tips to quit smoking and a schedule of Mercy’s many smoking cessation classes.

How long will I have to stay in the hospital after surgery, and how long will I be off work after surgery?

Your hospital stay will depend on the type of weight loss surgery you have. Generally, hospital stays are 1-3 days. Gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy procedures both average a recuperation period of two to four weeks.

Will you have support groups after surgery?

Yes. Mercy Weight Management Center offers surgical weight loss support groups on a weekly or monthly basis. Patients are required to attend at least one group meeting prior to surgery, and past patients are encouraged to attend on a regular basis. The session topics vary throughout the year and are customized based on participant feedback.

Why do I have to have a psychological evaluation?

Most insurance companies require an evaluation by a mental health professional to evaluate your understanding and knowledge of the risks and complications associated with weight loss surgery, and to assess your ability to make permanent lifestyle changes after surgery. This evaluation also helps to identify and treat any underlying emotional disorders that may hinder lifelong success.

Do I have to meet with a nutritionist before surgery?

Yes. All insurance companies require supervised nutrition counseling prior to bariatric surgery, which can last anywhere from three months to one year. Postoperatively, the way you can eat changes dramatically. Learning to adapt to this can prove to be very challenging. At Mercy Weight Management Center, our bariatric dietitian, Theresa Tate, is an integral part of our team, and she can help guide you every step of the way.

What if I have had a previous surgical weight loss procedure and am now having problems?

Ideally, you should contact your original surgeon because he or she knows your medical history, and therefore can best evaluate your complications. If you have moved away from your original surgeon, or vice versa, the bariatric surgeons at Mercy Weight Management Center would be happy to meet with you for a private consultation.

Will it be difficult to take medications after surgery?

In the initial postoperative period, some medicines may need to be crushed or taken in a liquid form. Eventually, most pills (including oral contraception) are easily swallowed and small enough to easily pass through your new, smaller stomach pouch. If you do have problems, however, our bariatric support team will be here to help, in partnership with your primary care physician.

How soon will I be able to have sex again?

You can return to normal sexual intimacy as soon as your wounds have healed and you are no longer experiencing pain. (This takes most patients about four to six weeks, with some people also reporting a drop in sexual desire during that time.)

Can I become pregnant after weight loss surgery?

Women should wait at least 12 months after surgery before attempting to become pregnant. During one of your clinic appointments, it is important to discuss with your surgeon your plans for pregnancy.

Should I exercise after weight loss surgery?

Exercising on a regular basis is extremely important to achieving your goals and maintaining your weight loss. The Mercy Weight Management Center support team will help coach you on the types of exercise you should be doing and how soon after surgery you should start doing them.

Will exercise help get rid of the excess hanging skin?

While exercise will be great for strengthening your "new" body and furthering your weight loss, it is unlikely that exercise alone will remove the large flaps of loose skin that are left behind after you lose your excess weight. Most patients will need plastic surgery to remove their excess skin. At Mercy Weight Management Center, we work with a plastic surgeon who specializes in bariatric reconstruction surgery.

Do I have to give up salt after surgery?

While salt intake is not directly affected by bariatric surgery, excessive salt intake may cause other medical problems. Your salt usage should be discussed with your primary care physician, as well as your surgeon.

Will I be able to eat spicy food after surgery?

Eventually. It usually takes about six to eight months before most patients can enjoy spicy food comfortably.

Will I be able to drink soda after surgery?

No. We strongly recommend that you give up soda for good. The carbonation in regular and diet soda can expand your new, smaller stomach pouch and cause you extremely uncomfortable gas pains if you drink it after surgery. You may be reassured to know, however, that many of our patients tell us that their tastes change along with their post-op diet, and they "just don’t miss it anymore."

Will I be able to drink alcohol after surgery?

Alcohol will affect you more quickly than it did before your weight loss surgery. In general, we recommend that you don’t drink for the first year, and drink in careful moderation thereafter.

Will I be allowed to snack between meals?

Your eating plan will include two or three "healthy" snacks a day between your main meals. The health coaches at Mercy Weight Management Center will help guide you in choosing healthy snacks.

Will I need to take vitamins after surgery?

We recommend that you take a multivitamin for the rest of your life. Depending on the type of surgery you have, you may also have to take calcium supplements, vitamin D, B12 or others. Our bariatric surgeons will let you know for sure.

Will I have to drink a lot of water after surgery?

Yes. Drinking a lot of water effectively rids your body of waste products and promotes weight loss by filling your stomach, helping you feel fuller longer. It’s important that you do not drink water with meals after bariatric surgery, however, because doing so can wash food out of your stomach pouch.

Will weight loss surgery help me live longer?

If you are able to stick to a healthy diet and daily exercise program after surgery, people who were at least 100 pounds over their ideal body weight (with a comorbidity such as heart disease) before the procedure may enjoy a significantly longer life because of bariatric surgery.*

*Each person’s weight loss challenges are different.There is no guarantee of results and vary for each individual.

Can weight loss surgery help with my other life-threatening physical conditions?

Weight loss surgery may improve or resolve health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.*

*Each person’s weight loss challenges are different.There is no guarantee of results and vary for each individual.

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