General Questions

How can I enroll in the program?

Step one is to watch our online seminar. This is a requirement to enter the program. Once you complete the seminar, you will be receive an email asking for your insurance information, and, upon receipt and review, you will be contacted by a member of our team to schedule an appointment with one of our surgeons. Please note that you do not require a doctor’s order to enroll in the program.

What are the risks of surgery?

As with any major surgery, there is a risk of death from a blood clot or other surgical or preoperative complications. Statistically, the risk of death during these procedures is less than one percent. Your doctors will have assessed you for risks and prepared accordingly. All abdominal operations carry the risks of, but are not limited to, bleeding, infection in the incision, thrombophlebitis of legs (or blood clots), lung problems (such as pneumonia and pulmonary embolisms), strokes or heart attacks, anesthetic complications, and blockage or obstruction of the intestine. These risks are greater in morbidly obese patients.

Does laparoscopic surgery decrease surgical risk?

No. Laparoscopic operations pose the same risk as open operations. The benefits of laparoscopy typically include a shorter hospital stay and earlier return to work, as well as less discomfort and reduced scarring. There is also a lower risk of significant wound infections.

What is the youngest age for which weight loss surgery is recommended?

Generally accepted guidelines from the American Society for Bariatric Surgery and the National Institutes of Health indicate surgery only for those 18 years of age and older.

What is the oldest patient for whom weight loss surgery is recommended?

We accept people into our program by health age — not chronological age. We’ve turned down 30 year-olds and performed procedures on 75 year-olds. It’s all about understanding and managing risk to benefit ratios. The risk of surgery in the elderly age group is increased, but the benefits of surgery, regarding overall health and quality of life, are also increased. And, older patients are some of our star patients!

Wesley Woodlawn Hospital & ER is the only hospital in Kansas to be certified as senior-friendly, meaning the staff here have been specifically trained in the unique care required for older patients.

Can weight loss surgery prolong my life?

A very important study was published in 2007 that definitively answered this question — yes, it can.

Can weight loss surgery help other physical conditions?

According to current research and our own experience, weight loss surgery can improve or resolve health conditions associated with obesity. We are happy to share our amazing results in seeing patients overcome or reduce conditions such as depression, diabetes, reflux, hypertension, lipid disorders, menstrual irregularities, urinary stress incontinence, joint pain, and sleep apnea…among others!

What impact do my medical problems have on the decision for surgery, and how do the medical problems affect risk?

Medical problems, such as serious heart or lung problems, can increase the risk of any surgery. On the other hand, if they are problems that are related to the patient’s weight, they also increase the need for surgery. Severe medical problems may not dissuade the surgeon from recommending bariatric surgery if it is otherwise appropriate, but those conditions will make a patient’s risk higher than average. We need to understand your medical issues to make sure we work to minimize their impact on your surgery and recovery.

Before Surgery

What do I need to do before surgery?

  • An accurate assessment of your health is needed before any surgery. The best way to avoid complications is to never have them in the first place.
  • If you are diabetic, special steps must be taken to control your blood sugar. Because surgery increases cardiac stress, your heart will be thoroughly evaluated. Pre-operative tests will determine if you have liver malfunction, breathing difficulties, excess fluid in the tissues, abnormalities of the salts or minerals in body fluids, or abnormal blood fat levels. We take your safety and your progress very seriously.
  • A professional psychiatric evaluation and clearance are required before surgery to ensure you are stable, cooperative and ready for a life-long commitment.
  • If you’ve suffered from gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, we may require an upper endoscopy before surgery.
  • If you’ve been diagnosed with or have symptoms of sleep apnea, we may require a sleep study before surgery.
  • Even though a deep vein thrombosis originates on the operating table, therapy begins before a patient goes to the operating room. Generally, patients are treated with sequential leg compression stockings and given a blood thinner prior to surgery. Both of these therapies continue throughout your hospitalization.
  • When packing to go to Wesley Woodlawn for surgery, you should plan to bring basic toiletries and clothing. These can be provided by the hospital, but most people prefer to bring their own. Choose clothes for your stay that are easy to put on and take off. Many patients bring their own bathrobe. Because of your incision, your clothes may become soiled, so don’t bring anything too precious.

After Surgery

Will I have a lot of pain?

We make every attempt to control your pain after surgery to make it possible for you to move about and be active. This helps avoid problems and speeds up recovery. Often, several drugs are used to help manage your post-surgery pain. If you have a bypass, a patient-controlled analgesia pump — which allows you to give yourself a dose of pain medicine on demand — may be used early post-operatively. Various methods of pain control are available, depending on your type of surgical procedure.

How long do I have to stay in the hospital?

Although it can vary, the average hospital stay for sleeve and bypass surgery is one-to-two days. For band procedures, most people go home that same day.

If I have surgery, what can I expect when I wake up in the recovery room?

You will find compassionate, expert nurses, anesthesiologists and surgeons, to provide care catered to your needs. Our focal point is your safety and pain management.

How soon will I be able to walk?

Almost immediately after surgery, we will require you to get up and move around. We want you up and walking within one-and-a-half to two-hours after surgery. After leaving the hospital, you should be able to care for all your personal needs, but you will need help with shopping, lifting and transportation for a few days.

How soon can I drive?

You should not drive until you have stopped taking narcotic medications completely, and you can move quickly and alertly to stop your vehicle — especially in an emergency situation. This usually takes up to three days after band surgery, and five-to-seven days after bypass and sleeve surgery.

Long-Term Success

How will my diet change?

Even before surgery, we will provide you with special dietary guidelines. You will need to follow these guidelines closely. We teach you how to advance your diet in a very particular way in order to make the transitions easy for you to understand and successfully accomplish.

Here are some essentials:

  • We like you to eat five-to-six small meals per day to help you avoid feeling hungry, as well as to ensure you are meeting your daily protein requirements. Doing this will also help trick your body into giving up its fat stores.
  • Protein in the form of lean meats like chicken, turkey, fish and other low-fat sources, should be eaten first. These should comprise at least 70 percent of the volume of the meal eaten.
  • Foods should be cooked without fat and seasoned to taste.
  • Avoid sauces, gravies, butter, margarine, mayonnaise and junk foods.
  • Never eat between planned meals, as snacking and grazing can hinder your weight loss goals.
  • Be absolutely sure not to drink liquid with food. Liquid washes food out of the pouch or through the Band, which can precipitate the condition known as “dumping syndrome.”
  • Do not drink sweetened beverages, even diet soda, between meals. Drink 60 ounces or more of water each day.
  • Water must be consumed slowly due to the restrictive effect of the operations.

What if I am really hungry?

This may be caused by the types of food you consume. Eating starches, including rice, pasta and potatoes, can result in undesirable fluctuations in your blood sugar levels, which can affect your hunger levels. Adhering to the recommended five-to-six high protein meals per day will prevent feelings of hunger and allow for stable blood sugars throughout the day.

Will I be able to exercise?

Many patients are hesitant about exercising after surgery, but exercise is an essential component of success. We want you out of bed and walking ASAP, so physical activity begins on the afternoon of surgery. The goal is to walk progressively further every day after. Patients are often released from medical restrictions and encouraged to increase exercise activities about two weeks after surgery, limited only by your level of discomfort. The type of exercise recommended is dictated by the patient’s overall condition. Some patients who have severe knee problems, for example, can’t walk well, but may be able to swim or ride a bicycle. Many patients begin with low-stress forms of exercise and are encouraged to progress to more vigorous activity when they are able.