Resource Center

FAQ

The following frequently asked weight loss questions may help answer questions you have as you consider whether weight loss surgery is right for you.


  • Q: What surgeries does Sun Coast Bariatrics offer?

    A:

    Adjustable Gastric Banding with either Lap-band™ or Realize™ banding systems, Sleeve Gastrectomy, and now we also offer Orbera™ gastric balloon.

  • Q: Besides weight-loss, what are the benefits of bariatric surgery?

    A:

    Significant weight loss following bariatric surgery can help to improve or even resolve a lot of health conditions related to obesity such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnea.

     

    Activities of everyday life can also be improved following weight-loss surgery. Things like climbing stairs, sitting in a restaurant booth or theater seat, standing for long periods of time, bending over, crossing your legs or playing with children tend to become easier tasks.

     

    Secondary benefit following bariatric surgery is improved feelings of self worth due to appearance. It should be remembered that bariatric surgery should be undertaken to improve the overall health of a patient and that the cosmetic result is a secondary gain.

     

  • Q: Will my insurance cover bariatric surgery?

    A:

    Medicare covers bariatric surgery and most commercial carriers are now offering the benefit as well.  We will assist you in verifying your insurance and obtaining the requirements needed for authorization.  If you would like to contact your insurance carrier prior to your appointment, you can locate a “benefits form” on our “Insurance and Financing page that will assist you in asking the necessary questions.  

  • Q: Why should I choose Sun Coast Bariatrics?

    A:

    Our team of doctors and specialists has years of experience in caring for patients through the weight loss surgery journey. We are committed to your care from beginning to end. From our free bariatric surgery seminars to caring for you after surgery we are on your side.

  • Q: Is there a Program Fee?

    A:

    Yes, Sun Coast Bariatrics has a program fee.  The fee is $750.00 and covers your pre op high protein powder, pre op vitamins, pre op nutritional evaluation, post op nutrition classes and events, post op educational classes, support groups for life and nutritional counseling with our staff dietitian.  

  • Q: Where will my surgery take place?

    A:

    Large Medical Center, Palms of Pasadena Hospital, Carillon Outpatient Center and St. Anthony's Hospital. 

  • Q: Who do I contact if I have a billing question?

    A:

    All billing inquiries should be directed to the Tampa Bay Surgical Group billing office at 727-217-3955.  You may also contact our office manager, Kristina Williamson at 727-289-7137.


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  • Q: How long will it take to recover after surgery?

    A:

    If adjustable gastric banding surgery is performed laparoscopically, patients typically spend less than 24 hours in the hospital or just a few hours in an outpatient surgery center. It takes most patients a few days to to return to work – although we recommend you plan for up to a week. In the extremely rare case of open surgery or if there are complications, recovery may take longer.  

  • Q: How much weight will I lose?

    A:

    Weight-loss results vary from patient to patient, and the amount of weight you may lose depends on several things. The band needs to have the right amount of tightness or restriction, and you need to be committed to your new lifestyle and eating habits. Obesity surgery is not a miracle cure, and the pounds won’t come off by themselves. It is very important to set achievable weight-loss goals from the beginning. A weight loss of 2 to 3 pounds a week in the first year after the operation is possible, but one pound a week is more likely. Twelve to eighteen months after the operation, weekly weight loss is usually less. Remember that you will lose weight gradually. Your main goal is to have weight loss that prevents, improves, or resolves health problems associated with severe obesity. 

  • Q: Does the adjustable gastric band require frequent office visits after surgery?

    A:

    Check-ups are a normal and a very important part of follow-up. Patients will be asked to follow up on a monthly basis during the acute weight loss phase. 

  • Q: Why do I have to wait 6 weeks before my first and second adjustment?

    A:

    Your body needs to become used to varying levels of tightness. For some patients the band may become tighter over the first one to two weeks following an adjustment. Also things such as stress and menstrual cycles can alter the perceived tightness of the band.

     

    You must remember that adjusting the band is a process and one adjustment will not fulfill the desired level of tightness for most patients.

  • Q: Does the adjustable gastric band limit any physical activity?

    A:

    The adjustable gastric band does not affect or hamper physical activity including aerobics, stretching and strenuous exercise long term. You will be asked to avoid abdominal crunches and strenuous abdominal exercises for the first month.

  • Q: How is the band adjusted?

    A:

    Most adjustments can be performed in the office. A fine needle is passed through the skin and into the access port to add or remove saline. This process most often takes only a few minutes. Most patients say it is nearly painless. You will be asked to drink some water to assess the tightness of the band. 

  • Q: Do I have to be careful with the access port just underneath my skin?

    A:

    There are no restrictions based on the access port. It is placed under the skin in the abdominal wall, and once the incisions have healed it should not cause discomfort or limit your movements or any physical exercise. The only sensation you may have from the port is when you go in for adjustments. If you feel persistent discomfort in the port area, let us know as soon as possible. 

  • Q: Can the band be removed?

    A:

    Although the adjustable gastric band is not meant to be removed, it can be. In most cases this can be done laparoscopically. The stomach generally returns to its original shape once the band is removed. After the removal, though, you may soon go back up to your original weight or even gain more. The goal is to leave the band in place for as long as it lasts. Hopefully a lifetime! 

  • Q: Will I need plastic surgery for the surplus skin when I have lost a lot of weight?

    A:

    That is not always the case. As a rule, plastic surgery will not be considered for at least a year or two after the operation. Sometimes the skin will mold itself around the new body tissue. You should give the skin the time it needs to adjust before you decide to have more surgery. 

  • Q: Is it true that the adjustable gastric band seems “tighter” in the morning?

    A:

    This is a fairly common feeling, especially for people with bands that are tight or in the time period shortly following an adjustment. During the day the water content in the body changes and this may cause the band to feel “tighter” some of the time. Some women have also noticed that the adjustable gastric band feels tighter during menstruation.

  • Q: Will I feel hungry or deprived with the adjustable gastric band?

    A:

    The adjustable gastric band makes you eat less and feel full in two ways – by reducing the capacity of your stomach and increasing the time it takes food to get through the digestive system. After a small meal, the amount of which varies from person to person, you should not feel hungry anymore. If you follow the nutrition guidelines when you choose your food and then chew it well, you should not feel hungry or deprived. Remember that the adjustable gastric band is a TOOL to help you change your eating habits.

  • Q: What will happen if I become ill?

    A:

    One of the major advantages of the adjustable gastric band system is that it can be adjusted. If your illness requires you to eat more, the band can be loosened by removing saline from it. When you have recovered from your illness and want to lose weight again, the band can be tightened by increasing the amount of saline. Any vomiting, even if not caused by your adjustable gastric band, can harm your stomach and band. You will need to be seen for deflation of your adjustable gastric band if vomiting occurs.

  • Q: What about pregnancy?

    A:

    Becoming pregnant can be easier as you lose weight. Your menstrual cycle may become more regular. If you need to eat more while you are pregnant, the band can be loosened. After the pregnancy, the band may be made tighter again, and you can resume weight loss. If you have a straightforward pregnancy, without much nausea and vomiting, the band will be kept with at least some fluid in it.

  • Q: Will I need to take vitamin supplements?

    A:

    A multivitamin once a day is sufficient for most patients.

  • Q: What about other medication?

    A:

    You should be able to take prescribed medication. Most patients are able to continue their medication regimen with making major changes. However, on an individual patient basis, you may need to use capsules, break big tablets in half or dissolve them in water so they do not get stuck in the opening of the stomach inside the band and make you sick. You should always ask the doctor who prescribes the drugs about this.

  • Q: What if I go out to eat?

    A:

    Order only a small amount of food, such as an appetizer. Eat slowly. Finish at the same time as your table companions. You might want to let your host or hostess know in advance that you cannot eat very much. Also, remember that drinking with your meal may cause vomiting or allow you to eat more food. This is because the liquid pushes the food out of the small upper stomach pouch making you hungry faster.  You will receive a card from our office that may allow you to receive discounts at restaurants.  

  • Q: What about alcohol?

    A:

    Alcohol has a high number of calories. Remember, you only have to consume 3,300 calories to gain 1 pound. It also breaks down vitamins. An occasional glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage, though, is not considered harmful to weight loss. 

  • Q: Can I eat anything in moderation?

    A:

    After your stomach has healed, you may eat most foods that don’t cause you discomfort. However, because you can only eat a little it is important to include foods full of important vitamins and nutrients. If you eat foods that contain a lot of sugar and fat or drink liquids full of “empty” calories, such as milkshakes, the effect of the Adjustable Gastric Band may be greatly reduced or canceled. This is because sugary foods and liquids dissolve quickly, allowing passage from the stomach pouch faster. You will need to consume between 60-80 grams of protein per day. So, for each meal you must eat your protein first.

  • Q: Will I suffer from constipation?

    A:

    There may be some reduction in the volume of your stools, which is normal after a decrease in food intake and fiber. This should not cause you severe problems. If difficulties do arise, let us know as soon as possible.

  • Q: Will I be sick a lot after the operation?

    A:

    Adjustable gastric banding system limits food intake. If you feel nauseated or sick on a regular basis, it may mean that you are not chewing your food well or that you are not following the diet rules properly. However, it could also mean that there is a problem with over tightening of the band or the position of the band (slippage) so you should contact us if this problem persists. Vomiting should be avoided as much as possible. It can cause the small stomach pouch to stretch. It can also lead to slippage of part of the stomach through the band, which would reduce the success of the operation. In some cases, it would also require another operation. 

  • Q: How long should I wait to come in if I feel my band is too tight or I feel like my food is “stuck”?

    A:

    If the band is feeling too tight, foods are getting stuck or you are experiencing vomiting then you should be seen fairly quickly.  If you are able to drink liquids without vomiting then this is not an urgent matter.  If you are unable to tolerate liquids then the band should be deflated.  We will make arrangements to see you in the office (during business hours) or in the emergency room (after hours). Again, if you are tolerating liquids it is okay to maintain on a liquid diet and follow up with our office the next day.

     

    If foods are becoming routinely "stuck" then deflation should be carried out, even if this issue resolves on its own.  If you are unable to tolerate solid foods, then you will likely eat moister, "mushier" foods that will lead to greater calorie intake and weight gain.

  • Q: What problems could affect my band causing additional surgery?

    A:

    1. Port problems such as port leak or malposition usually require an outpatient procedure, under sedation anesthesia to reposition or replace the port. 

     

    2.  Band slippage occurs when the band slips to a lower position on the stomach and the stomach that is normally situated below the band protrudes up through the band.  This would require an additional procedure under general anesthesia to reposition the band around the stomach or potentially remove the band.

     

    3.  Band erosion occurs when the band eats through the layers of the stomach to end up on the inner lining of the stomach. This would allow the band to be seen by an upper endoscopy, where a small scope can be passed through the mouth, down the esophagus and into the stomach. Once this diagnosis has been made the band must be removed, usually laparoscopically, and the hole created by the band erosion is sewn shut.

  • Q: Why do I need to deflate my band before having surgery?

    A:

    The band should be deflated before any surgery on the abdominal cavity, which requires general anesthesia, for several reasons. First, with most of these cases a tube called the nasogastric tube will be required during the operation to aspirate gastric juices from the stomach. This tube is placed via the patient's nose or mouth and down the esophagus into the stomach. If the band is tight around the stomach then there is a risk that the tube may puncture a hole into the stomach as it passes through the band.  Secondly, during surgery, IV fluids are typically given in large volumes. This causes swelling throughout the body, including the stomach, making the band feel tighter than it actually is.  This could lead to nausea and vomiting. Also, some patients have a predisposition to postoperative nausea and vomiting, which could worsen with a tight band.


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  • Q: How long will it take to recover after surgery?

    A:

    If sleeve gastrectomy surgery is performed laparoscopically, patients typically spend 1-2 days in the hospital. It takes most patients about 1 week to return to work – although we recommend you plan for up 1-2 weeks. In the extremely rare case of open surgery or if there are complications, recovery may take longer.

  • Q: How much weight will I lose?

    A:

    Weight-loss results vary from patient to patient, and the amount of weight you may lose depends on several things. You need to be committed to your new lifestyle and eating habits. Obesity surgery is not a miracle cure, and the pounds won’t come off by themselves. It is very important to set achievable weight-loss goals from the beginning. A weight loss of 2 to 3 pounds a week in the first year after the operation is possible, but one pound a week is more likely. Twelve to eighteen months after the operation, weekly weight loss is usually less. Remember that you will lose weight gradually. Your main goal is to have weight loss that prevents, improves, or resolves health problems associated with severe obesity.

     

  • Q: Does the sleeve gastrectomy require frequent office visits after surgery?

    A:

    Check-ups are a normal and a very important part of follow-up. Patients will be asked to follow up at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months after surgery.  After the first year patients should follow up yearly.

     

  • Q: Does the sleeve gastrectomy limit any physical activity?

    A:

    The sleeve gastrectomy does not affect or hamper physical activity including aerobics, stretching and strenuous exercise long term. You will be asked to avoid abdominal crunches and strenuous abdominal exercises for the first month. 

  • Q: Will I need plastic surgery for the surplus skin when I have lost a lot of weight?

    A:

    That is not always the case. As a rule, plastic surgery will not be considered for at least a year or two after the operation. Sometimes the skin will mold itself around the new body tissue. You should give the skin the time it needs to adjust before you decide to have more surgery. 

  • Q: Will I need plastic surgery for the surplus skin when I have lost a lot of weight?

    A:

    That is not always the case. As a rule, plastic surgery will not be considered for at least a year or two after the operation. Sometimes the skin will mold itself around the new body tissue. You should give the skin the time it needs to adjust before you decide to have more surgery. 

  • Q: Will I feel hungry or deprived with the sleeve gastrectomy?

    A:

    The sleeve gastrectomy makes you eat less and feel full in two ways – by reducing the capacity of your stomach and increasing the time it takes food to get through the digestive system. After a small meal, the amount of which varies from person to person, you should feel full. If you follow the nutrition guidelines when you choose your food and then chew it well, you should not feel hungry or deprived. 

  • Q: What about pregnancy?

    A:

    Becoming pregnant can be easier as you lose weight. Your menstrual cycle may become more regular. 

  • Q: Will I need to take vitamin supplements?

    A:

    A multivitamin twice a day, as well as Calcium and B-12, will be prescribed.

     

  • Q: Will I be able to take my regular medication?

    A:

    You should be able to take prescribed medication. Most patients are able to continue their medication regimen without making major changes. However, on an individual patient basis, you may need to use capsules, break big tablets in half or dissolve them in water so they do not get stuck or make you sick. You should always ask the doctor who prescribes the drugs about this. 

  • Q: What if I go out to eat?

    A:

    Order only a small amount of food, such as an appetizer. Eat slowly. Finish at the same time as your table companions. You might want to let your host or hostess know in advance that you cannot eat very much. Also, remember that drinking with your meal may cause vomiting or allow you to eat more food. This is because the liquid pushes the food out of the sleeve making you hungry faster. 

  • Q: What about alcohol?

    A:

    Alcohol has a high number of calories. Remember, you only have to consume 3,300 calories to gain 1 pound. It also breaks down vitamins. An occasional glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage, though, is not considered harmful to weight loss. 

     

  • Q: Can I eat anything in moderation?

    A:

    After your stomach has healed, you may eat most foods that don’t cause you discomfort. However, because you can only eat a little, it is important to include foods full of important vitamins and nutrients. If you eat foods that contain a lot of sugar and fat, or drink liquids full of “empty” calories, such as milkshakes, the effect of the sleeve gastrectomy may be greatly reduced or canceled. This is because sugary foods and liquids dissolve quickly allowing passage from the sleeve faster. You will need to consume between 60-80 grams of protein per day. So, for each meal you must eat your protein first.

  • Q: Will I suffer from constipation?

    A:

    There may be some reduction in the volume of your stools, which is normal after a decrease in food intake and fiber. This should not cause you severe problems. If difficulties do arise, let us know as soon as possible. 

  • Q: Will I be sick a lot after the operation?

    A:

    Sleeve gastrectomy limits food intake. If you feel nauseated or sick on a regular basis, it may mean that you are not chewing your food well or that you are not following the diet rules properly. Vomiting should be avoided as much as possible. It can cause the small sleeve pouch to stretch and cause a leak. In some cases, it would also require another operation. 

  • Q: One final point:

    A:

    It is extremely important that you ask all your weight loss questions. We want you to feel educated and comfortable about your weight loss surgery choices. Call us at 727.289.7137 or complete our contact form.


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