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Frequently Asked Questions

Have bariatric surgery questions?

Read through a list of our frequently asked questions concerning bariatric surgery and the surgical options we provide.

  • Am I a candidate for weight loss surgery?

    If you are between the ages of 18 and 80 and have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or greater, you may be a candidate for weight loss surgery. Individuals with a BMI 30 to 35 with type 2 diabetes may also qualify for surgery.

  • How long does the surgery last?

    While every case is different, the sleeve gastrectomy generally takes less than an hour to complete and the gastric bypass takes about 2 hours.

  • How much weight will I lose after surgery?

    Most people can expect to lose between 60% and 70% of their excess body weight, most of which is lost within the first 18 months following surgery. Most people maintain 50-60% of their excess weight loss in the long term. These are averages and will vary from patient to patient. As part of your initial consultation, you will receive individualized handouts detailing estimated weight loss after surgery, which take into account things like your age, gender, other medical problems which may affect weight loss.

  • Does the stomach stretch back to its original size over time?

    With any weight loss surgery, your body has to adjust to a smaller capacity for food. If you follow your post-operative eating guidelines you should be able to maintain a healthy weight. It is important to follow post-operative diet recommendations to avoid complications and to maximize weight loss after surgery.

  • Can I eat whatever I want after surgery?

    Aside from the initial recovery period after surgery, which consists of a 4-6 week transition to solid food, you should be able to eat most foods in smaller quantities. You will receive extensive nutrition education prior to surgery to help maximize weight loss after surgery and to avoid weight regain in the future.

  • Will bariatric surgery ease my joint pain?

    In most cases, yes. With a reduction of weight on the joints, many people experience less joint pain and increased mobility. However, if there is already permanent damage to your joints, weight loss may not resolve all your joint pain.

  • Since my stomach is smaller and I can't eat as much, will I stay hungry?

    Bariatric surgery reduces the production of ghrelin, also known as the “hunger hormone.” Most patients describe a dramatic reduction in both hunger and cravings after surgery. It is normal for hunger to return over time, although most patients continue to report less hunger than prior to surgery.

  • Will I lose my hair?

    Temporary hair thinning is normal in the first year after surgery due to the stress that the body undergoes during rapid weight loss. If the hair loss continues past a year, it may be related to malnutrition. It is important to follow up with your surgeon and dietitian after surgery to ensure you are meeting your individual protein and vitamin/mineral needs.

  • How long will my recovery be?

    Patients typically spend one night in the hospital and then continue their recovery at home. You’ll be encouraged to get out of bed and take walks around the hallway during your stay in the hospital. Drainage tubes and urinary catheters are not used routinely with this type of surgery. Patients may return to gentle exercise such as walking immediately after surgery, but will need to avoid lifting more than 20 pounds for 2-4 weeks after surgery. Taking this into account, patients may return to work as soon as they feel comfortable based on their job duties. Most patients elect to take 2 weeks off of work for recovery.

  • Will I feel weak because I'm not eating as much?

    As with most operations, fatigue is very common initially, as your body recovers from surgery. As your body heals, your energy level will improve. Protein and fluid intake are prioritized after surgery to ensure adequate nutritional intake to sustain good health.

  • Can the roux-en-y gastric bypass be reversed?

    The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass changes your gastrointestinal tract. Because no part of the intestinal tract is removed during this procedure, the gastric bypass can be reversed. However, this operation should be viewed as a permanent change because reversal is often very technically challenging and is only indicated in the setting of a severe complication.

  • Will I ever be allowed to drink carbonated beverages?

    It is acceptable to consume carbonated beverages 1 month after surgery if you tolerate them. However, carbonation often creates a sensation of fullness, so these beverages should only be reintroduced once you are meeting daily goals for protein and fluid intake. Sugar-free beverages are recommended to maximize weight loss and to avoid weight regain.

  • How can I prepare for surgery?

    First and foremost, educate yourself. Read all materials in your patient guidebook or those downloadable from our website. Check out other reputable online resources like,, and Attend the required support groups as recommended to hear from other weight loss surgery patients. Begin to put in place the recommended healthy lifestyle behaviors that go hand-in-hand with weight loss success, such as weaning sugar-sweetened beverages, building in healthy protein sources to each meal, increasing physical activity as able, and cutting out simple and starchy carbohydrates. You will find that the sooner you “surrender” to these recommendations, the easier it will be to adopt and maintain this healthy lifestyle after surgery, and you will be more successful long-term in keeping off excess weight.

  • When can I have a baby after weight loss surgery?

    Pregnancy after bariatric surgery is possible. In fact, women who have suffered from infertility in the past will often see improvement in their fertility as they lose weight. However, we recommend that our female patients avoid pregnancy for 1-2 years after weight loss surgery in order to maximize weight loss and minimize complications of pregnancy.

    However, after you’ve fully recovered from surgery and have lost a significant amount of your excess weight, pregnancy is much safer for both you and the baby. You will have a lower risk of weight-related pregnancy and delivery complications, and the baby, if born while you are at a healthy weight, will have a lower risk of later health problems as well. If you become pregnant or intend to become pregnant, please let us know as soon as possible so we can work closely with you and your OB-GYN.

  • How do I know which surgery is right for me?

    Most of the time, patients are able to decide which surgery is best for them based on their own needs and with input from the surgeon. Occasionally, a patient’s health history may dictate a certain procedure. For example, patients with a history of Crohn’s disease should not undergo gastric bypass, but may undergo sleeve gastrectomy. The surgeon will discuss these options with you at your first visit and help guide you in this decision. Our goal is to help you make the best decision possible for your individual circumstances and health challenges.

  • When can I begin exercising after surgery?

    Right away! We recommend starting right after surgery with short walks several times a day. This will help shorten your recovery and prevent complications like blood clots in the legs and lungs. . Listen to your body and to your surgeon. If you lift weights or play sports, stay “low impact” for the first month, or as directed by your surgeon.

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