It’s no secret that obesity has become a public health crisis in the U.S. According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adult obesity rates in the U. S. now exceed 36.5%, and adult obesity rates in each state of the tri-state area rose by approximately 3% each since previous surveys in 2016. The percent of adults aged 18 and older who are clinically obese in the tri-states are:
- Indiana 34.1%
- Kentucky 36.6%
- Illinois 31.8%
Obesity is considered a medical condition and as such is linked to several serious and chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. In addition, obesity causes about 1 in 5 deaths in the U.S. each year. Fortunately, there are more options now than ever for reaching and maintaining a healthy weight—including bariatric surgery.
If you have wondered about whether or not bariatric surgery might be a viable option for you on your weight loss journey, you most likely have numerous questions. Here are 7 key questions you’ll want to be sure to ask, and some essential considerations to keep in mind:
- Am I a good candidate for weight loss surgery?
According to the Obesity Action Coalition, a healthcare provider may diagnose a patient as obese if his or her body mass index, or BMI, is 30 or greater. This is relevant because the qualifications for weight loss surgery are largely based on your BMI, which you can roughly determine with the National Institute of Health’s BMI calculator.
If your BMI is greater than 40, you would likely qualify for bariatric surgery. If your BMI is between 35 and 40, you may qualify if you also have medical conditions that are associated with obesity, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, arthritis, etc.
Your doctor will also take into account other weight loss methods you have tried that were not successful, and how committed you are to long-term success. Surgery is just the beginning of the weight-loss journey. In order to lose weight and keep it off you will need to commit to making healthy choices and lifestyle changes.
- What types of bariatric surgery are available to me?
As we discussed in Is Bariatric Surgery Safe, and Does It Work?, the most common type of weight loss surgery in the U.S. is a procedure called a gastric bypass. Another common type of bariatric surgery is a sleeve gastrectomy. Both procedures restrict the size of the stomach.
The type of bariatric surgery procedure that would be best for you depends on your medical history as well as your current health conditions and lifestyle. Your weight loss surgeon will carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of each procedure to help determine which approach is most appropriate and likely to be most effective for you.
- Does insurance pay for bariatric surgery?
Bariatric procedures are often covered by insurance as more and more employers and insurance carriers are recognizing the long-term benefits of surgery—both physical and financial.
Different plans will have different out-of-pocket costs, which is why determining insurance coverage will be one of the early steps in your process so that you can make an informed decision. For those without insurance coverage for surgical weight loss procedures, financing options are often available.
- What will I need to do to prepare for surgery?
All patients considering weight loss surgery with Evansville Surgical Associates are evaluated and cared for before surgery in one of our two Bariatric Centers at either Deaconess Midtown or St. Vincent-Evansville. The bariatric teams at these centers include bariatric medicine physicians, specially-trained nurses, psychologists, and dieticians.
Both of these Bariatric Centers have excellent and extensive resources to answer any of your initial questions so that you can get a true sense of whether weight loss surgery may be right for you. You can learn more about Evansville Surgical Associates’ two Bariatric Centers, including who to contact to find out if you’re a good candidate for bariatric surgery, by visiting:
If you are a candidate and do decide to become part of the bariatric surgery program, you will begin a six-to-nine month pre-surgery journey that includes:
- Complete medical evaluations
- Consultations with a dietitian, psychologist, and exercise specialist
- Any necessary pre-surgical treatment of health conditions
- Extensive education about how to integrate a healthier lifestyle
- Any other requirements based upon your individual needs or insurance specifications
- What’s the process once surgery is scheduled?
You’ll arrive at the hospital the morning of surgery and can plan on an average overnight stay of one night for sleeve gastrectomy or two nights for gastric bypass. Those with certain health conditions may need to stay longer.
Most people are able to return to work about 2 weeks after surgery, but if you do any heavy lifting or more physical work you may need a little longer to recover. Your physician and care team will give you specific instructions.
- What will I need to do to adjust after surgery?
After you’ve recovered from your surgical procedure, you will have careful follow-up protocols to ensure that you are doing well and are successfully navigating the post-operative diet changes and lifestyle.
You’ll have regular follow-up visits over the next 12 months. After your one-year surgical anniversary, you’ll check in once per year. You’ll also be encouraged to participate in a post-bariatric surgery support group between any doctor visits.
- Is the weight loss permanent?
Many people wonder about how lasting the effects are from weight loss surgery, and if weight loss after bariatric surgery will be permanent.
What’s important to understand in this regard is that while the surgery is helpful in reducing the volume of food you’re able to consume, it’s your lifestyle changes—including diet, exercise, and mental well-being—that will impact the ongoing effectiveness of any bariatric procedure.
Weight loss that includes bariatric surgery is a life-long commitment, not just a one-time procedure. Good and lasting long-term results come from committing to the education and support prior to and after the surgery. Numerous studies show that the longer and more involved you are in a program, the better outcomes you’ll experience.
When patients are approved for bariatric surgery with Evansville Surgical Associates, they are evaluated and cared for before and after surgery in one of our two Bariatric Centers mentioned above:
- Deaconess Weight Loss Solutions at Deaconess Midtown
- St. Vincent Weight Management Center at St. Vincent-Evansville
These 7 questions will give you a good foundation for understanding what the journey of weight loss with bariatric surgery may involve. Both of the Bariatric Centers, along with our specialized bariatric surgeons, are there to assist you every step of the way.
The bariatric surgeons at Evansville Surgical Associates are certified by the American Board of Surgery and have the most up-to-date advanced training in surgical techniques.
At Evansville Surgical Associates, we are dedicated to serving our patients with the most state-of-the-art advanced surgical procedures in the Tri-State region. Established in 1969, Evansville Surgical Associates celebrates 50 years of providing leading-edge comprehensive and compassionate surgical care. Learn more about our physicians and our practices by visiting our website, or by calling us at 812.424.8231 or 800.264.8231.