Bariatric surgery is a life-changing procedure. Not only does it help in weight loss, it can also help resolve obesity-related health issues.

Bariatric surgery, however, is not for everyone. The team at New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery in Knoxville encourages all patients to have all the information needed before committing to weight loss surgery.

Here are some questions you should ask your surgeon before considering bariatric surgery:

1. Do I qualify for a surgical bariatric procedure?
In order to qualify for a surgical bariatric procedure, you have to meet the following criteria:
• a body mass index (BMI) of 40 (about 100 lbs overweight)
• a BMI of 35 with at least one obesity-related condition (e.g. sleep apnea, diabetes, high blood pressure)

2. Do I need certain tests before the surgery?
Many bariatric surgeons require their patients to undergo some tests before the procedure. This may include a thorough physical evaluation and psychological exam to ensure that you are in good health condition before proceeding.

3. Are there risks involved?
Just like with any surgery, bariatric surgery also comes with certain risks. Ask your surgeon about these specific risks (each procedure has its own pros and cons) aside from the risk of infection.

4. How soon can I expect to lose weight?
Some bariatric procedures allow you to lose weight quicker than the others. Find out the timeframe you’re looking at for the procedure you qualify for. This will give you realistic expectations about your weight loss outcomes.

5. Is it reversible?
Some weight loss procedures such as the laparoscopic gastric band can be adjusted or reversed. Other procedures, such as the sleeve gastrectomy, cannot be reversed.

If you’re considering bariatric surgery, make sure you’re comfortable with the idea of a permanent or irreversible procedure.

6. What does the recovery process look like?
This is very important as you’d want to plan ahead of time.

Each bariatric procedure has a different recovery timeframe and process. Some procedures have a shorter recovery process while others may take longer.

It’s also important to know the dos and don’ts in your diet and activities during the recovery period.

7. Are there minimally-invasive options? Do I qualify for it?
With technological advancements, we now have minimally-invasive options for weight loss. An example of this is the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy.

In contrast to the traditional or ‘open’ surgery, laparoscopic procedures only require a few, small incisions. This contributes to the shorter surgery and recovery time.

Unfortunately, not everyone qualifies for minimally-invasive bariatric procedures. So, ask your doctor if this is something you could qualify for.

8. What dietary changes do I need to make?
Restrictive, malabsorptive, and combination surgeries all require dietary changes before and after the procedure. You’d want to ask your doctor what these changes are so you know what to expect and you can plan accordingly.

9. Will my insurance cover the procedure?
Some insurance companies cover bariatric procedures while others will require their patients to pay out of pocket. You will want to find out your insurance coverage beforehand so you can plan your finances. You may also want to ask if there are options available for financing.

We understand that bariatric surgery is a big life-changing decision. This is why we offer a free information session with our Bariatric Surgeon, Dr. K. Robert Williams. Our bariatric seminar is available in-person once a month, or you can watch it online anyway. You will learn more about our program and what to expect before, during and after surgery.

For more information about our free bariatric info session, visit this link or call our New Life office at (865) 694-9676.

New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery is part of Premier Surgical Bariatrics in Knoxville, Tennessee. New Life is affiliated with the Parkwest Center for Bariatric Surgery, part of Covenant Health Bariatric Services.