Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different procedures offered at Cullman Regional's Bariatric Center of Excellence?

The Center offers different weight-loss surgery options: sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass surgery (also referred to as Roux-en-Y) and revisional bariatric procedures.

What is sleeve gastrectomy?

Sleeve gastrectomy is a laparoscopic procedure in which the stomach is divided vertically and stapled so that 75 to 80 percent of the stomach is removed. The “new stomach” holds a smaller amount of food, which restricts how much patients eat at one time, creating a feeling of fullness.

What is gastric bypass surgery?

Gastric bypass surgery is a procedure that divides the stomach into a large pouch and a much smaller pouch that becomes the “new stomach” that only holds about three to four ounces of food at a time, drastically limiting the amount of food you can eat in one sitting. This allows for the malabsorption of calories, spurring on more weight loss since fewer calories are absorbed.

What is a revisional bariatric procedure?

A revisional bariatric procedure is one where a patient’s first bariatric surgical procedure is revised for various reasons. This may include conversion of sleeve gastrectomy to gastric bypass surgery, conversion of gastric band to sleeve gastrectomy, conversion of gastric band to gastric bypass surgery or resizing of the gastric pouch in gastric bypass surgery patients.

What is the difference between laparoscopic surgery and open surgery?

Laparoscopic is the most common surgery, where several small incisions are made in the abdomen rather than one large incision. Patients experience a much faster recovery time and may go home in 1 to 2 days after surgery. An open procedure requires a large incision in the abdomen and is usually performed on patients who have a complicated medical history or certain conditions.

Which type of weight-loss surgery is right for me?

Your surgeon will guide you based upon your medical history, your lifestyle and any special health considerations. Bring a list of questions to your appointment with your surgeon to discuss your weight-loss surgery options.

What are the risks of weight-loss surgery?

As with any surgery, there are risks involved. While our multidisciplinary team will do our best to minimize those risks, you should weigh the benefits of having the surgery and its positive effects on your long-term health with the possibility of complications. Risks include infection, bleeding, blood clots to legs, blood clots to lungs, injury to adjacent structures during surgery, anesthetic complications and need for further procedures.

How long will I be in the hospital?

You will typically go home in 1 to 2 days after surgery.

When can I return to work after surgery?

Depending on your job, you may be able to return to work two to four weeks after surgery. If your job involves lifting, you may have to wait at least four to six weeks after surgery to resume working. Your surgeon will decide when it is safe for you to return to work.

How long will it be before I begin to lose weight?

It varies among patients. If you use weight-loss surgery as a tool, change your lifestyle and follow the guidelines we give you, you will typically experience the greatest weight loss in the first six to nine months following surgery. Most patients will continue to lose weight until their weight-loss goal is achieved.

Is it possible to regain the weight?

Yes. It is very important that you stick to the lifestyle changes we teach you. If you resume eating the way you did before you had weight-loss surgery, you will regain the weight. The Center is here to support you and help you be successful.

Will my health insurance cover weight-loss surgery?

You should check with their health insurance company for direct bariatric exclusions, meaning that a health insurance company will not cover weight-loss surgery. Your health insurance company may also require a deductible, an amount you may need to pay upfront. It is important to know this before beginning this process. Some insurance companies may require a wait time of three to six months for surgery.

Are there any medications that I cannot have before or after surgery?

This will be discussed with you by our team prior to the surgery.

How will my diet change after surgery?

This will be discussed in depth during your monthly dietitian visits prior to the surgery.

Why do I need to avoid carbonated beverages?

Carbonation releases gas that can put you at risk for complications such as nausea, vomiting, stretching of the new stomach pouch causing weight regain, abdominal bloating and discomfort.

Why do I have to drink so much water?

To avoid dehydration and to eliminate waste products (by-products of fat breakdown) from your body via the kidney. Otherwise, kidney stones may occur.

Why do I have to avoid drinking and eating at the same time?

This can cause nausea or even vomiting if you overfill your pouch. It can also stretch your pouch, causing weight regain.