Answers to Your Questions about Bariatric Surgery


What are the benefits of bariatric surgery?

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

  • Proven 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, doctor visits 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, as well as average length of patients’ hospital stay 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 stay2 days

How long does it take to recover from gastric bypass surgery?

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

How long does it take to recover from sleeve gastrectomy surgery?

Recovery times vary from patient to patient. It is possible for patients to leave the hospital one day after surgery. 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 sleeve gastrectomy, will it interfere with my getting pregnant?

It is possible to have a safe and healthy pregnancy after sleeve gastrectomy. Most doctors recommend waiting at least one year after the surgery before starting a pregnancy.

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.

How will I pay for bariatric surgery?

Before you spend time researching your financing options, find out whether your insurance plan will pay for the surgery. Many health insurance plans, including Medicare and most Medicaid plans, cover bariatric and metabolic surgery. However, health insurance plan coverage varies, so it's important to examine the coverage provided by your plan.

We will work with your insurance provider to determine your bariatric surgery insurance coverage.
If you don't have health insurance, or if after working with your insurance provider we determine that you don't have bariatric surgery insurance coverage, you still have options. Many patients use bariatric surgery financing to cover out-of-pocket costs. Because bariatric surgery is an investment in good health and better quality of life, you may also consider the procedure to be worth the cost even without insurance.

Many lenders can provide bariatric surgery financing. Some financing options include:

  • Credit card
  • Personal line of credit
  • Home equity line of credit

How soon can I have my bariatric surgery at MultiCare?

It usually takes around six to eight weeks for a patient to be ready for surgery through our program.

Why does it take so long?

We follow a proven process with all of our 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 will review the form to determine if the patient is a candidate for surgery, and contact the patient’s insurance to determine what coverage, if any is available to the patient for bariatric surgery.
  3. The referral coordinator calls the patient to set up an initial surgical consultation. At this appointment, we will take your full medical history, provide you with additional information about the surgery, and develop your 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.

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

Choosing bariatric surgery is a big decision, and a major surgical procedure. We believe that we must do everything possible to ensure our patients are ready, both physically and mentally, for 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.

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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MultiCare Center for Weight Loss & Wellness

Tacoma (Main Location)
2202 S. Cedar, Suite 300
Tacoma, WA, 98405
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Call us at 253-301-5280 or toll-free at 844-256-7659 to learn more about our programs or to schedule your first appointment.