Bariatric Surgery - Surgical Weight Loss

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is clinically severe obesity?

A: A person is considered to have clinically severe obesity when his or her BMI is greater than or equal to 40kg/m2 or 35kg/m2 with other weight-related medical problems such as diabetes, hypertension, or sleep apnea. Obesity is a serious health issue.

Q: Which bariatric surgical treatment is performed more frequently at University of Utah Health Care?

A: University of Utah Health Care performs laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass more frequently because it results in greater, faster, and more reliable weight loss and has a more immediate impact on weight-related medical problems (such as diabetes). When gastric bypass is combined with a comprehensive weight management program, patients’ expectations are met more often compared to other approaches.

Q: Is Bariatric Surgery safe?

Bariatric surgery has become a safe procedure for weight loss. Available data shows that the risks of having a complication (4.3 percent) or death (0.3 percent) following bariatric surgery is less than or comparable to other major surgeries, such as having your gallbladder removed. The risk of having a complication is greatly reduced when you are followed by a surgeon who has specialized training in bariatric surgery and knows to look for health conditions that may increase your risk. For our self-pay patients who are concerned about additional costs should a complication occur, our program partners with BLISCare to provide cost protection.

Q: How much weight can I expect to lose after surgery?

A: Most patients lose between 60 to 70 percent of their excess body weight over a period of 12 to 18 months with Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Gastric banding patients lose about 40 to 50 percent of their excess body weight over three to five years.

Q: Will I regain weight after bariatric surgery?

A: Bariatric surgery is a tool that helps people lose weight and keep it off. It is the most effective treatment available for durable weight loss in the setting of obesity. To maintain weight loss after surgery requires a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle. It is possible to gain some or all of the weight back if healthy eating, regular exercise and other healthy lifestyle habits are not maintained.

Q: How much weight can one expect to regain after surgery?

A: After Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, patients typically regain less than 15 percent of their weight after five to ten years. With adjustable gastric banding, up to 25 percent of patients can fail to achieve weight loss of at least 30 percent of their excess body weight.

Q: How long will my recovery take after surgery?

A: If you undergo laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, you can expect to spend two to three days in the hospital. For laparoscopic gastric banding, patients are generally discharged from the hospital one to two days after surgery. The laparoscopic approach offers a shorter recovery than conventional open surgery and is typically less painful. Most patients take two weeks off work and refrain from lifting over 20 pounds for about six weeks.

Q: What do I need to do after surgery?

A: After surgery, regular and long-term follow-up is necessary to monitor weight loss and any complications or nutritional deficiencies that may occur. If you develop any complications or any new major health problems, call your surgeon immediately.

Q: Will my health insurance cover this surgery?

A: Your insurance provider can help determine if your plan offers bariatric surgery as a covered benefit. Contact your insurance provider by calling the number on the back of your insurance card. If they do not cover the procedure, please refer to our self pay options.