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Answers to Your Questions about Bariatric Surgery

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What are the benefits of bariatric surgery?

Bariatric, or weight-loss, surgery can provide many benefits, including:

  • Significant weight loss: Gastric bypass surgery patients have been shown to lose an average of 62 percent of their excess body weight in a three-year period. Sleeve gastrectomy patients lose an average of 66 percent of their excess body weight.
  • Reduced health care costs: A recent study showed that bariatric surgery pays for itself in about two years. One important reason is that bariatric surgery may help to improve or resolve conditions associated with obesity, such as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol, so patients save money on related prescription drugs, medical appointments and hospital visits.
  • Quality of life improvements: Clinical studies of laparoscopic bariatric surgery patients found that they felt better, spent more time doing recreational and physical activities, benefited from enhanced productivity and economic opportunities, and had more self-confidence than they did prior to surgery.

What are the risks and complications of bariatric surgery?

As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications that can occur with both bariatric surgeries performed at MultiCare. Your surgeon will discuss these with you during your pre-surgical visits.

What are the benefits of each procedure performed at MultiCare?

The table below compares the outcomes of the gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy procedures. It shows the percentage of excess body weight lost from each surgery, the percentage of patients who saw improvement in their obesity-related conditions after surgery, surgery time and the average length of patients’ hospital stays after surgery.

Sleeve Gastrectomy

Excess body weight lost after 3 years66%
Type 2 diabetes60% Resolved
High blood pressure68% Resolved
High cholesterol60% Improved
Obstructive sleep apnea60% Resolved
Average surgery time1.5 to 3.5 hours
Length of hospital stay1 day

Gastric Bypass

Excess body weight lost after 3 years62%
Type 2 diabetes80% Resolved
High blood pressure79% Resolved
High cholesterol94% Improved
Obstructive sleep apnea76% Resolved
Average surgery time2 to 3 hours
Length of hospital stay1 to 2 days

How long does it take to recover from bariatric surgery?

Recovery times vary from patient to patient. It is possible for patients to leave the hospital two days after surgery, and most patients are able to return to work after 14 days. Full recovery may take six to eight weeks.

What can I eat after bariatric surgery?

Bariatric surgery patients can eat a wide variety of foods, in small portions. A typical meal in a bariatric surgery diet includes protein-rich foods such as lean meat, eggs, low-fat dairy products (yogurt and cheese), starches and whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Eating protein helps you feel fuller longer.

You're advised to avoid desserts and other items with sugar listed as one of the first three ingredients. High-sugar, high-fat foods can derail your attempts to lose weight, and if you've had the gastric bypass procedure, it can lead to dumping syndrome, an unpleasant side effect. Symptoms of dumping syndrome may include vomiting, nausea, weakness, sweating, faintness and diarrhea.

It's also recommended that you avoid raw vegetables, fruits with skin, nuts, popcorn, tough meats, stringy foods and crusty bread (bagels and pretzels), which may block the opening of your stomach.

If I have bariatric surgery, will it interfere with my getting pregnant?

It is possible to have a safe and healthy pregnancy after weight-loss surgery. Most doctors recommend waiting at least one year after the surgery before becoming pregnant.

Why are diet and exercise so important after having bariatric surgery?

By altering the anatomy of the stomach and/or intestine, bariatric surgery affects hormonal signals, resulting in decreased appetite, increased feelings of fullness, increased metabolism and healthier food preferences. These positive changes allow your body to lose weight without the internal fight to return to your higher set point. However, without regular exercise and a healthy diet, it is unlikely that you will achieve your weight-loss goals.

Exercising regularly will maximize the amount of weight you lose and help to improve your health. By building muscle through strength-training exercises, you may also lessen the amount of skin sag you experience after losing weight. Following the instructions of your health care team for healthy eating will put you on the path to success.

Why do you require a visit to a psychologist before surgery?

Choosing bariatric surgery is a big decision, and a major surgical procedure. Our team believes that we must do everything possible to ensure patients are ready, both physically and mentally, prior to the procedure. We also want to ensure that patients are prepared to commit to any lifestyle changes that will be necessary before and after surgery for their long-term health and success.

How soon can I have my bariatric surgery at MultiCare?

It usually takes six to eight weeks for a patient to be ready for surgery through our program, unless insurance requires a medically supervised diet.

Why does it take so long?

We follow a proven process with all patients in our program. This process embraces the best practices of all bariatric surgery programs and includes the following steps:

  1. Potential patients attend one of our weight-loss surgery seminars and complete our screening form.
  2. One of our referral coordinators reviews the form to determine if the patient is a candidate for surgery, and contacts the patient's insurance company to determine what coverage, if any, is available for bariatric surgery.
  3. At the initial consultation we take the patient's full medical history, provide additional information about the surgery, and develop a personalized pre-surgical plan. This plan includes diet and exercise goals that must be met prior to surgery, as well as a referral to a psychologist for a required evaluation.
  4. After the patient's pre-surgical plan goals are met, surgery is scheduled.

How do I know if my insurance will cover bariatric surgery?

Navigating the insurance process can be difficult, which is why MultiCare provides all patients a complimentary insurance verification.This is done by one of our patient care coordinators (PCCs) who specialize in the bariatric surgery insurance process. After you attend an in-person or online seminar we collect your insurance plan information and complete a benefit check.

Although we provide this service, we also recommend that you contact your insurance company to find out if you have weight-loss surgery benefits, as we have found that sometimes our office and patients get conflicting information.

Below is a list of procedure (CPT) codes that are used by insurance companies to identify what type of procedure you are considering. Using these codes will help your insurance company quickly determine whether your plan covers the procedure. Once you have determined you have weight-loss benefits, please ask for the exact criteria you need to meet to be approved for surgery.

  • 43775 - Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy

  • 43644 or 43645 - Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

  • 43845 - Duodenal Switch

  • 43775 and 44120 - SIPS-DS

If you are in need of a revision procedure, please call 253-301-5280 and as for one of the PCCs to get the correct code(s) for your insurance inquiry.

Ready to Learn More?

MultiCare’s weight-loss surgery program can help you improve your health, lose weight and feel better. Attend our free, no-obligation in-person seminar to learn more.

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Weight-Loss Surgery Assessment

Learn if weight-loss surgery is right for you and what steps you can take to identify and address weight-related concerns. 

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Weight-Loss Support Group

Each support group features a scheduled topic, as well as time for open discussion tailored to meet attendees' needs.

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MultiCare Center for Weight Loss & Wellness

View our convenient Puget Sound locations to find a clinic near you.

Or, call us at 253-301-5280 or toll-free at 844-256-7659 to learn more about our Bariatric Surgery and Medical Weight Loss programs.