Get answers to common questions about medical and surgical weight loss. If you have additional questions, talk to your doctor.
What is BMI?
BMI, or body mass index, is a screening tool used to estimate the amount of body fat you have based on your height and weight. For adults, weight-status categories associated with a BMI ranges are:
- Below 18.5 = underweight
- 18.5 to 24.9 = normal or healthy weight
- 25.0 to 29.9 = overweight
- 30.0 to 40.0 = obese
- 40.0 and above = severely or morbidly obese
Calculate your BMI.
Will Insurance Cover Medical Weight Loss or Bariatric Surgery?
Each insurance plan is different. Call your insurance providers for information about your coverage. Our insurance and billing specialist can provide you with information about billing codes and diagnoses.
What If My Weight Loss Slows?
Your weight loss may progress in a stair-step pattern with your weight going down for a few weeks, then holding steady for a few weeks, then going down again. This is normal. Everyone loses weight at a different rate, so don’t compare yourself to others. Continue tracking your food and exercise. If a plateau lasts longer than four weeks, contact your dietitian to discuss how you can adjust your diet or physical activity.
Which Procedure is Better: Sleeve Gastrectomy or Gastric Bypass?
Your doctor can help you decide which weight-loss surgery is best for you. The main advantage of sleeve gastrectomy is that your intestines don’t need to be rerouted, making the surgery safer, easier and faster. Leaving the intestines in place eliminates the risk of bowel obstruction from internal hernia that may result from gastric bypass. It also reduces the risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. One disadvantage of sleeve gastrectomy is that the operation is not reversible because part of your stomach is removed and discarded.
Can I Get Pregnant After Bariatric Surgery?
Most doctors recommend women wait at least one year after surgery before attempting pregnancy. At that point, body weight should be fairly stable, and you should be able to provide the nutrients your baby needs to grow and develop. Consult your bariatric surgeon as you plan for pregnancy.
Will Weight-Loss Surgery Improve My Chronic Health Condition(s)?
Many chronic health conditions improve or resolve after a successful weight-loss surgery. For example, gastric bypass:
- Resolves type 2 diabetes in 83 percent of cases
- Resolves high blood pressure (hypertension) in 75 percent of cases
- Improves cholesterol levels in 95 percent of cases
- Resolves sleep apnea in 86 percent of cases
- Resolves acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in 98 percent of cases
- Improves symptoms of depression in 47 percent of cases
- Resolves stress urinary incontinence in 44 percent of cases
- Resolves osteoarthritis in 41 percent of cases
How Will Weight-Loss Surgery Affect My Medications?
After surgery, your primary care provider will determine whether your health has improved to the point where you can stop taking medications for blood pressure, diabetes and other conditions. Most medications can be swallowed and absorbed the same as before weight-loss surgery. For the first few weeks or months after surgery, your doctor may suggest using crushed or liquid medications. Talk to your doctor before taking any medication.
How Can I Prevent Loose, Hanging Skin After Weight Loss?
Many people who meet the criteria for weight-loss surgery have stretched their skin beyond the point from which it can "snap back."
If you’d like to remove excess skin after your weight has stabilized, ask for a referral to a plastic surgeon. Cosmetic plastic surgery usually is not covered by insurance.
What Is 'Dumping?'
Dumping syndrome—severe abdominal cramping, sweating, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, shakes and diarrhea after eating—is a common complication of gastric surgery, with about 85 percent of gastric bypass patients experiencing it at some point. Dumping syndrome occurs when foods high in refined sugar or fat empty out of the stomach too rapidly. You’ll quickly learn which foods your body can’t tolerate; most interfere with long-term weight loss and shouldn’t be consumed anyway.