Frequently asked questions

Find some answers here and don't hesitate to ask as anything!

How long after metabolic and bariatric surgery will I have to be out from work?

After surgery, most patients return to work in one or two weeks. You will have low energy for a while after surgery and may need to have some half days, or work every other day for your first week back. Your surgeon will give you clear instructions. Most jobs want you back in the workplace as soon as possible, even if you can’t perform ALL duties right away. Your safety and the safety of others are extremely important – low energy can be dangerous in some jobs.

Many patients are worried about getting hernias at incisions. That is almost never a problem from work or lifting. Hernias are more often the result of infection. You will not feel well if you do too much.

When can I start exercising again after surgery?

Right away! You will take gentle, short walks even while you are in the hospital. The key is to start slow. Listen to your body and your surgeon. If you lift weights or do sports, stay “low impact” for the first month (avoid competition, think participation). Build slowly over several weeks. If you swim, your wounds need to be healed over before you get back in the water.

Can I have laparoscopic surgery if I have had other abdominal surgery procedures in the past, or have a hernia?

The general answer to this is yes. Make sure to tell your surgeon about all prior operations, especially those on your abdomen and pelvis. Many of us forget childhood operations. It is best to avoid surprises!

Sometimes your surgeon may ask to see the operative report from complicated or unusual procedures, especially those on the esophagus, stomach, or bowels.

Does type 2 diabetes make surgery riskier?

It can. Be sure to follow any instructions from your surgeon about managing your diabetes around the time of surgery. Almost everyone with Type 2 Diabetes sees big improvement or even complete remission after surgery. Some studies have even reported improvement of Type 1 Diabetes after bariatric procedures.

Can I have laparoscopic surgery if I have heart disease?

Yes, but you may need medical clearance from your cardiologist. Bariatric surgery leads to improvement in most problems related to heart disease including:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Lipid problems
  • Heart enlargement (dilated heart, or abnormal thickening)
  • Vascular (artery and vein) and coronary (heart artery) disease

During the screening process, be sure to let your surgeon or nurse know about any heart conditions you have. Even those with atrial fibrillation, heart valve replacement, or previous stents or heart bypass surgery usually do very well. If you are on blood thinners of any type, expect special instructions just before and after surgery.

When can I get pregnant after metabolic and bariatric surgery? Will the baby be healthy?

Most women are much more fertile after surgery, even with moderate pre-op weight loss. Birth control pills do NOT work as well in heavy patients. Birth control pills are not very reliable during the time your weight is changing. Menstrual periods can be very irregular, and you can get pregnant when you least expect it!

Most groups recommend waiting 12-18 months after surgery before getting pregnant.

Many women who become pregnant after surgery are several years older than their friends were when having kids. Being older when pregnant does mean possible increased risks of certain problems. Down’s syndrome and spinal deformities are two examples. The good news is that, after surgery, there is much less risk of experiencing problems during pregnancy (gestational diabetes, eclampsia, macrosomia) and during childbirth. There are also fewer miscarriages and stillbirths than in heavy women who have not had surgery and weight loss.

Will I lose my hair after bariatric surgery?

Some hair loss is common between 3 and 6 months following surgery. The reasons for this are not totally understood. Even if you take all recommended supplements, hair loss will be noticed until the follicles come back. Hair loss is almost always temporary. Adequate intake of protein, vitamins and minerals will help to ensure hair re-growth, and avoid longer term thinning.

Will I have to take vitamins and minerals after surgery?

You will need to take a multivitamin for life. You may need higher doses of certain vitamins or minerals, especially Iron, Calcium, and Vitamin D. You will also need to have at least yearly lab checks.

Will I have to go on a diet before I have surgery?

Yes. Most bariatric surgeons put their patients on a special pre-operative diet, usually 2 or 3 weeks just before surgery. The reason for the pre-operative diet is to shrink the liver and reduce fat in the abdomen. This helps during the procedure and makes it safer.

These diets are very different from the short term diets, and usually are more about food education and showing a willingness to complete appointments and to learn.

Hernia