Frequently Asked Questions
How do you measure or define obesity?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) define morbid obesity as:
- Being 100 pounds or more above your ideal body weight; or
- Having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or greater; or
- Having a BMI of 35 or greater and one or more co-morbid condition (see below.)
What are the causes of obesity?
The underlying causes of obesity include a high fat diet, limited physical activity, heredity, increased caloric intake, psychological problems, reduced basal metabolic rate (BMR), reduced dietary thermogenesis (DT), and other medical conditions.
What are the risks associated with obesity?
Obesity is a National and local health crisis affecting more than 60 million Americans. In 2010, on the Virginia Peninsula alone, there were over 158,000 overweight and morbidly obese residents.
Obesity aggravates or causes countless co-morbid conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, depression, GERD, arthritis, high cholesterol, low back pain, osteoarthritis, and reflux disease. In fact, obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States - second only to smoking.
What are the benefits of bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery has been shown to be an effective tool to help people with obesity achieve and maintain a healthier weight. Compared with other weight loss methods, such as dieting, surgery provides the longest period of sustained weight loss in patients for whom all other therapies have failed. It has also been shown to improve many obesity-related health conditions, such as type two diabetes and high cholesterol. Patients who have had bariatric surgery report improvements in their quality of life, social interactions, psychological well-being, employment opportunities and economic condition.
How do I know if I qualify for weight loss surgery?
There are many different factors that affect your ability to qualify for bariatric surgery. One of the most important factors is your body mass index (BMI). BMI is used as a measurement of body fat based on height and weight. The formula for determining your BMI is weight in pounds divided by height in inches squared. However, BMI is not a diagnostic tool. To determine if excess weight is a health risk, a healthcare provider would need to perform further assessments.
Before surgical solutions are performed, the patient must be able to document they have seriously tried to lose weight multiple times through conventional methods without lasting results for 3-6 months.
Are there options in weight loss surgery?
Yes, the following are surgical weight loss procedures available at the Riverside Medical and Surgical Weight Loss Center:
Gastric Banding: This procedure involves placing a biocompatible band into the upper part of the stomach in order to synthesize a full feeling while eating. This surgery does not require cutting or stapling, and teaches healthy eating habits. Band tightness is determined by the amount of saline pumped into the band.
Gastric Bypass: This procedure restricts food intake and the amount of calories and nutrients the body absorbs. The surgeon first creates a small stomach pouch and then attaches a section of the small intestine directly to the pouch. Having a smaller stomach pouch causes you to feel full sooner and eat less food; bypassing a portion of the small intestine means your body absorbs fewer calories
Sleeve Gastrectomy: During this procedure, a thin vertical sleeve of stomach is created using a stapling device, and the rest of the stomach is removed. This procedure limits the amount of food you can eat and helps you feel full sooner. It allows for normal digestion and absorption. Food consumed passes through the digestive tract in the usual order, allowing it to be fully absorbed in the body.
How fast will I lose weight after surgery?
Many people find that the weight comes off quickly during the first few months after bariatric surgery. However, the pace of weight loss will likely slow down. Don't be discouraged if you're not losing weight as fast as you had hoped. With the right tools, habits, and support, you can get there.
What is Laparoscopic Surgery?
When a laparoscopic operation is performed, a small video camera is inserted into the abdomen. The camera and surgical instruments are inserted through small incisions made in the abdominal wall. This approach is considered less invasive because it replaces the need for one long incision to open the abdomen. Laparoscopic procedures for bariatric surgery use the same principles as open surgery and produce similar excess weight loss results.
How long does it take to recover from weight loss surgery?
Recovery from each surgical procedure differs, as it does from person to person. Because most weight loss procedures are done using minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, patients can expect a shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, smaller scars, and less pain than open surgical procedures. In general, recovery from gastric banding, gastric bypass, and sleeve gastrectomy procedures can last from 2 to 8 weeks.
Do your food products contain harmful herbs or additives?
No. There are no harmful herbs or additives placed in our food.
Does insurance cover weight loss?
Paying for weight loss, including bariatric surgery is a common concern. Insurance company policies regarding coverage of weight loss can vary widely. Many health insurance plans, including Medicare and most Medicaid plans, cover bariatric surgery. It's important to examine the coverage provided by your plan.
Before you decide NOT to choose medical or weight loss solutions, because of financial reasons, consult with our team. We may be able to help.
First, you will be registered for a free orientation seminar designed to better describe the services we provide and how our programs work. Orientation seminars are held on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month at our office. To register, call Heather at (757) 637-7637 or fax (757) 637-7642.
Weekly individual or group education sessions will be held and cover a variety of topics, for example:
- Health-Related Issues Associated with Obesity
- Healthy Eating Tips
- Maintenance Tips
- Exercise Tips
- And more.
For a free presentation on bariatric surgery, click here.