Frequently Asked Questions

Initial Questions

How do Lap-Band, Sleeve, and Bypass surgery differ?
The Lap-Band does not require cutting,stapling or rerouting of the gastrointestinal system. The Lap-Band is adjustable and reversible.  Weight loss with Lap-Band is typically 1-2 lbs per week.  

Sleeve removes 80% of the stomach with the goal of reducing appetite.  Sleeve is irreversible.  With a Sleeve the intestines are not involved so digestion is normal.  Weight loss is 2-3 lbs per week.

Bypass involves cutting the stomach and rerouting the intestines.  The goal is reduced comsumption and absorption of nutrients.  Weight loss is often 3 lbs or more per week.

Who qualifies for weight loss surgery?

To qualify for weight loss surgery, patients must have a BMI of 40 or a BMI of 35 with a weight-related health condition, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes or sleep apnea. Patients with a BMI between 30 and 35 with a weight-related health condition also qualify, but insurance may not provide coverage. Our patients must be at least 18 years old and typically not older than 70.

How long will it be until I can have weight loss surgery?
After we see you for your initial consultation, there are a few additional steps required to prepare you for surgery, including appointments with our team nutritionist and psychologist, as well as a sleep lab study if necessary and blood work. Sleeve patients have an endoscopy (EGD) to be sure that the stomach is healthy and appropriate for a Sleeve.  This process usually takes 6-8 weeks and,  if there are no insurance delays, you will be ready for surgery.  It is important to note that some insurance plans require 3 or even 6 months of supervised weight loss prior to surgery. Our office staff will assist you in coordinating this process and scheduling your surgery.

Does insurance pay for weight loss surgery?
Most insurers cover the Lap-Band procedure and Sleeve Gastrectomy when a patient meets requirements. Our office accepts most major insurance plans including: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Harvard Pilgrim, Tufts, Neighborhood Health Plan, BMC Health Net, United Healthcare, and Commonwealth Idemnity insurance. Patients are responsible for co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance as required by their specific insurance plans.

How long does the Lap-Band procedure take?
Most Lap-Band surgeries take about 30 minutes.

How long does a Sleeve Gastrectomy take?
Most Gastric Sleeve surgeries take less than an hour.

How long will I be in the hospital?
Most Lap-Band patients are in the hospital for one night and most Gastric Sleeve patients are in the hospital for two nights.

When can I go back to work?
We recommend that our patients plan to take off two weeks from work, particularly if their jobs require manual labor. Some patients return to work sooner depending on the nature of their jobs, but we find planning for two weeks is best.

Can I drive after surgery?
Yes, most patients are comfortable driving just a day or two after Lap-Band or Gastric Sleeve surgery.

Can I eat normally after I have the Lap-Band or the Gastric Sleeve?
Patients are on a low calorie liquid diet ten days prior to weight loss surgery and then a high protein liquid diet for two weeks after after surgery. After that patients can resume eating most foods they normally eat. In order for the Lap-Band or  the Gastric Sleeve to work properly it is important for patients to eat their food in small bites and chew each bite thoroughly. Weight loss surgery patients typically should avoid fibrous foods such as asparagus, pineapple and celery. Some patients have difficulty eating certain types of meat, especially if it is not chewed thoroughly. The Lap-Band and the Sleeve are most effective when people do not drink with their meals, and refrain from drinking high calorie liquids, such as milk shakes.

Can the Lap-Band be removed?
Yes, the Lap-Band can be removed. However, the goal is that patients will keep their Lap-Bands for life as a long term weight loss tool.

How much weight will I lose and how quickly?
While weight loss varies from patient to patient, most Lap-Band patients lose 1-2 pounds per week in the first year.  Sleeve patients often lose 2-3 lbs per week.

Do you have support groups for your weight loss surgery patients?
Yes, we have regular support groups for our patients. A schedule is available on our website and our patients are encouraged to attend if they find a support group helpful.

Post-Operative Questions

If I have a question, what should I do?
If you have a concern about your surgery or how you are feeling, call!
If you are having pain, can't swallow, feel "stuck" or feel short of breath, call!
If you have a question that is not urgent (such as the type of nutrition drink you can have), you may email.

What do I do if my band feels too tight and I can’t get liquids down?
CALL IMMEDIATELY! Don’t wait until it is convenient for you or for us, just CALL! All Red Zone symptoms and feelings of tightness warrant a phone call

When can I shower?
You can shower as soon as you get home.

What do I do with the bandages/dressings?
Leave bandages on until they fall off. When they do fall off, you may leave the incisions open to air or cover them with a Band-Aid if you are more comfortable.

When can I eat?
Please remember to follow your post-operative diet plan carefully. DO NOT advance to the next stage of your diet until you have visited the office and we have given you the okay. It is VERY important that you do not advance to solid food on your own.

When can I exercise?
You should not engage in any vigorous activity for two weeks. You may walk and go up and down stairs. You may resume exercise after your first postoperative visit.

When can I drive?
You can drive as soon as you feel ready, as long as you know how to, have a license, and are no longer taking prescription pain medicines.

When can I have sex?
You can have sex as soon as you feel comfortable.

What can I do about constipation?
Try a glass of prune juice OR a Tablespoon of Mineral Oil twice a day OR a Tablespoon of Milk of Magnesia twice a day. DO NOT do all three or you will have a new problem.

What can I do about gas?
The "gas" from surgery resolves in 48-72 hours. The "gassiness" that all Lap-Band patients experience at one time or another is totally normal and an inevitable consequence of the band and separating liquids and solids when you eat. Using Gas-X and products with Simethicone is often helpful.

When do I get my first fill?
You will get your first fill when you need it but not before 6 weeks post-op. At your 4 week visit we get you started on solid food. At your 6 week visit and every subsequent visit we assess your progress. You get a fill if you are not feeling full and/or losing weight.

How much weight will I lose?
Lap-Band patients who make "good" food choices, separate liquids and solids, and come for frequent follow-up typically lose 1-2 lbs per week and 50-100 lbs in their first postoperative year.  Sleeve patients who do the same often lose 2-3 lbs per week.  Remember, these operations are not magic.  They are just tools.  If you use them properly, you will lose.

When do I come for follow-up?
Every 2 weeks for the first 10 weeks and then monthly thereafter for the first year as well as ANYTIME you think you need to be seen. Follow-up is critically important to successful weight loss. As one of our patients said, the more you see of us, the less we'll see of you!

When should I see the nutritionist?
You should schedule visits with the nutritionist at 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months post-operatively.

When will I have a barium swallow?
All patients have a barium swallow prior to discharge from the hospital.  Everyone should have a barium swallow at 1 year post-op to check the position of the band and health of the esophagus. You may also have one at any time when you come for follow up care if there is a question of a slip, band dysfunction, or a problem with the Sleeve.

Can I take my usual medications and over the counter medications?
Yes, you may take your usual medications (unless we discussed otherwise). Anything with a diameter equal to or smaller than an M&M will slide through the band.  You must inform the care team if you are taking steroids (Prednisone) or NSAIDS (drugs like Motrin, Advil, Ibuprofen).  These drugs must be taken cautiously after weight loss surgery and always with an additional antacid.

When can I start going to support groups?
Support group is fantastic and you should come at least once to try it!  We meet twice a month from 7-8 pm. The schedule is available here. Prospective patients are welcome too. Dr. Adam attends most support groups as well as our nutritionist. Give it a try!

Get in touch!

(508) 668-4400
info@massweightloss.com

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