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Frequently Asked Questions

Weight Loss Surgery Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

How do I decide what surgery is right for me?

You should first contact our office and we will provide you with viewing access to our EMMI® Video to help familiarize your with different surgical options. You can then schedule a visit with your surgeon. We will ask that you fill out your medical history for that visit. Your surgeon will spend time with you going over your medical history and partner with you to create you plan for surgery.

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Can I select my surgeon?

We are happy to accommodate your request for a specific surgeon.

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Will my insurance cover weight loss surgery?

Unfortunately health insurance can be complicated. Our trained insurance coordinators can help determine what weight loss benefits your insurance plan provides. 

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What if my insurance does not cover weight loss surgery?

When insurance has an "exclusion" for the weight loss treatment, your only option may be to self-pay. We can direct you to medical financing companies that may be able to assist you. AS a health care expense, weight loss treatments may be used as a tax deduction although you should seek guidance from a tax preparer.

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What is BLIS?

BLIS is is a one-of-a-kind produc. 'BLISCare' is surgical complication protection inurance which, is available exclusively to those surgeons who meet BLIS underwriting standards. (BLIS surgeons are an elite group of providers who are selected based on experience and low complication rates). We are proud to be BLIS surgeons.

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How many appointments do I need prior to surgery?

Everyone having surgery will initially be scheduled for the following four visits:

  • Surgeon Consultation
  • Dietician Consultation
  • Exercise Physiology Consultation
  • Psychological Evaluation

Your insurance company may require a surgical preparatory program for three to six months prior to surgery. If this is required by your plan, we will schedule these visits and work with you to complete the required program.

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What kind of medical testing is required before surgery?

After meeting with your surgeon, he/she will order blood work to include nutritional labs. If you are having a Gastric Sleeve or a Gastric Bypass we will also schedule an Upper Endoscopy for you.  

After you meet with the surgeon he/she may also ask you to have additional testing unique to your medical problems, such as a sleep study or cardiac clearance. We understand that each person is an individual, therefore medical clearance and testing is based on your medical necessity.

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Can I attend weight loss surgery support groups before surgery?

We encourage you to attend support groups as soon as you start thinking about weight loss surgery. A support group is a great place to talk with others that have had surgery.

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Why do I need to lose weight in the two weeks before surgery?

The goal of pre-surgery weight loss is to decrease the size of your liver. A critical part of your operation will take place in your upper abdomen covered by the left side of your liver. People with extra abdominal fat often store enough of that fat in the liver to make the organ large, stiff, and fragile. Quick efficient weight loss prior to surgery will reduce the size of your liver and reduce risk associated with surgery. The dieticians will work with you to create a customized liver shrinking diet.

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Do I have to stay in the hospital?

Lapband® surgery is day surgery  Patients will typically go home a few hours after the surgery. However, in some cases, your doctor may recommend an overnight stay in the hospital.

Gastric Sleeve surgery requires an overnight stay. You will typically go home the following morning. However, in some cases, your doctor may recommend an overnight stay in the hospital.

Gastric Bypass surgery is performed at the hospital, on an inpatient basis. Patients will typically spend one to two nights in the hospital before going home.

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Where are surgeries performed?

The majority of surgeries are performed at our outpatient surgery center connected to our clinic. We also have privileges at:

  • Northwest Weight Loss Surgery Center in Everett
  • Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett
  • Evergreen Hosptial Medical Center in Kirkland 

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How long does the operation take?

The length of an opertion depends on many different factors.

The Lapband® procedure typically takes 30 to 45 Minutes. 

The Gastric Sleeve procedure typically takes 1 hour.

The Gastric Bypass surgery typically takes 2 to 3 hours.

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How long will I be off work after weight loss surgery?

The time to recover will depend on the surgery you select to have and the type of work that you do.

  • Lapband – We typically recommend taking three to five days off work.
  • Gastric Sleeve – We typically recommend taking seven days off work.
  • Gastric Bypass – We typically recommend taking fourteen days off work.

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Can I have weight loss surgery if I am a smoker or using nicotine?

Nicotine users are asked to quit prior to surgery and for the rest of their life Nicotine use compromises the healing process and increases complications that may occur after surgery. Please talk with your surgeon about how to stop the use of nicotine.

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Will I be able to get pregnant after weight loss surgery?

It is important to know that weight loss is known to increase fertility. We recommend that you wait for one year after surgery before becoming pregnant. Weight loss will make childbearing safer for both mom and baby.

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Will weight loss surgery work for me if I am an emotional eater?

Weight-loss surgery is a great tool, but surgery won't be effective without changeing your relationship with food. If you correctly use the tool then you will chance of success. If you do not use the tool to its full potential, you will not lose as much weight. Bariatric surgery will enable you to feel satisfied with smaller portions and will reduce your appetite.

Although this sounds “simple” it is difficult to make behavioral changes and break long-term habits. In addition, we go through phases where we long for food. This is also known as “food grief.” It is as if we long for our “friend” of food. We turn to food in times of celebration, sadness, for reward and for comfort. When a person can no longer turn to food to fill the void, they must find other ways. If you are an emotional eater our Team can help you find health coping mechanisms. We offer counseling and Weight Loss Surgery support groups that are particularly beneficial. If you are an emotionl eater, these services should be a high priority.

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How do you adjust the gastric band?

The band adjustments are done in the office by adding or removing saline solution via the subcutaneous (under the skin) port. The adjustments take minutes and are described by most patients as essentially painless.

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How much weight will I lose?

Your surgeon will explain the benefits and risk of each operation including average weight loss. On average, people lose between 50 to 75 percent of their excess body weight within two years after weight loss surgery. The amount of weight you lose depends on your motivation, how well you follow the post-op eating instructions and how much you exercise.

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What is laparoscopic surgery?

Laparoscopic (also called "minimally invasive") surgery is performed by making tiny incisions in the abdomen and using specialized instruments to accomplish surgery. A small fiber optic camera allows the surgeon to see what's being done. Laparoscopic surgery involves less pain and a quicker recovery. Typically you will have five small incisions that are about 1/2 inch in length. 

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What will my long term diet be like?

Our dieticians will provide you with nutritional eduction specific to the procedure you have selected. You will eat normal foods in smaller quantities. You will learn to chew your food well. Certain foods should be avoided because they may plug up the narrow passage of your smaller stomach. They include doughy bread, rice, and pasta. These foods also a high glycemic index and contribute to weight gain. You must learn to eat to the point of feeling comfortalbe and the stop. Eating too much at once, eating too fast, or not chewing well will cause discomfort and over time may stretch out your stomach. 

You will need to make good food choices. We will help you learn what you should be eating. It is important to avoid liquid calories and soft foods as they will pass quickly through your stomach and not provide any satiety. It is best to steer clear of sugar and highly processed carbohydrates (chips, cereals, crackers) as these will inhibit weight loss. Weight loss surgery patients are instructed to eat the protein portion of their meals first as protein is essential to weight loss. Routine visits with the dietician are recommended during your weight loss.

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Will you have to remove my gallbladder during surgery?

We do not routinely remove the gallbladder during surgery. If you already have gallstones, you should discuss the treatment options with your surgeon.

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Why do you lose your appetite after weight loss surgery?

After weight-loss surgery, many patients report changes in appetite, taste and smell. One of the reasons weight loss surgery is so successful is because it helps control background hunger. Surgery reduces hunger causing hormones. Patients often report that they no longer crave the same foods and sometimes, if you can believe it, forget to eat!

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Will I lose hair?

Most people undergoing weight loss do not lose their hair. Hair thinning can occur with rapid weight loss. Your body will be going through a metabolic change. This may mean more hair in the brush or shower drain. You will not go bald. Watching your vitamin and protein intake may help prevent or reduce this. If you experience some hair thinning, it will typically grow back. This is usually confined to the first year. 

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How many surgeries have the surgeons performed?

We have been offering weight loss surgery at Northwest Weight Loss Surgery since 2002. Our surgeons have performed thousands of weight loss surgeries

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Will I have excess skin after losing weight?

How loose your skin gets after losing weight depends on several factors: how much weight you've lost, how old you were when you lost the weight, how many times you've lost and gained the weight back, if you are a smoker or if you sunbathe.  Once you have reached your goal weight we can refer you to a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in weight loss surgery patients.

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Can I follow up with your office if I had surgery with another practice?

We are happy to consider taking over your care. The first step is to call the office at (425) 385-2263 to start a Transfer of Care request.

You will be asked to provide your medical records from your original bariatric surgery and fill out a current medical history. Our surgeons will review your records and we will call you to let you know if you have been accepted as a patient with our practice.

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Stay Connected

Support groups should play an important part in your preparation, recovery and long-term goals. We are here to assist you every step of the way. Email your questions to info@nwwls.com

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  • BLIS
  • MBASQIP
  • American Board of Obesity Medicine
  • American College of Surgeons