What Every Patient Should Know About Bariatric Surgery at THGH
If you’re contemplating bariatric surgery, you probably have a lot of questions. It’s even more likely that you’re not sure what questions to ask.
Here are some of the questions that are most pressing to our patients. You should know the answers to these questions before you sign up for a procedure.
Most of our patients stay in the hospital for only one night. Many years ago, patients might have stayed for five nights, but this is not the same process it used to be.
Laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive. This means you have small incisions and a lot less “moving around” inside your body. As a result, you will receive a limited prescription for narcotic pain medications. You should not expect significant or long-lasting post-operative pain.
If your job is not particularly strenuous and does not involve lifting, you will probably be back to work in 1-2 weeks, depending on how you feel. You will have a 20 lb. weight lifting restriction for two weeks. You can resume any activity by six weeks after surgery.
The perception is that bariatric surgery is high-risk. However, that’s wildly wrong. Other “routine” laparoscopic surgeries, such as gallbladder removal, have 3-4 times more risk than bariatric surgery. No surgery is ever risk-free, but the risks here are extremely low.
We use laparoscopic instruments for virtually all of our surgeries, so you will have five very small incisions. We also use an “adhesive skin glue” so there are no visible staples or stitches. Our patients do not have catheters or drains. You will be able to use the bathroom normally right away, and you can shower the next day.
Most major insurances cover bariatric surgery. We can help you identify what is covered and offer you alternatives. For example, many people don’t realize that they can switch between their own and their spouse’s coverage during open enrollment periods. If your spouse’s program has better coverage, we can help you make a weight management plan that will carry you through a transition to different insurance.
Our program does not restrict you to a liquid diet prior to surgery. Our pre-op diet includes packaged meals, bars, shakes and protein snacks. So you can still sit down to eat with your family like a normal person, and feel like you are eating something of substance prior to your surgery.
Many conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes are weight- and nutrition-related. If you are able to successfully lose a significant amount of weight, it’s very likely that you can either reduce or eliminate other medications. However, this should always be done in consultation with your physician.
All of our consultations are one-on-one. This helps us both get to know each other, and helps you feel comfortable asking all your questions or discussing your challenges. This includes working with our dietitian, our exercise physiologist and our medical staff. The only things we do differently are our pre-op class and our support groups. We find that patients enjoy meeting each other prior to surgery, and perhaps reconnecting in a support group.
We are here for you any time. You don’t have to explain anything...just call and make an appointment. Our door is always open. Don’t ever be embarrassed to call.
Absolutely! We offer a comprehensive weight management program. We will help you identify the best option based on your situation and goals. Our full continuum of services is available for all your weight management needs.
If you are considering bariatric surgery, contact the Trinity Health Grand Haven Bariatric Clinic at 616.847.5489 with any questions or to speak with us about our services.
You can also connect with us on our Facebook page.
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