Coping with Concerns


How can I deal with my fear of surgery?
The fear of surgery is not irrational or abnormal; in fact, it's very common. Bariatric surgery creates a smaller stomach pouch and, depending on the procedure, may shorten the digestive tract-all while the patient is under general anesthesia. If you have concerns, consider the following:

  • Share your concerns and fears with your surgeon.
  • Attend a support group and speak with patients who likely share the same fears.
  • Understand the complication rates and mortality rates of surgery.
  • Listen to bariatric surgery patients share their own fears and concerns.
  • And remember, you'll have a team of health care professionals dedicated to your best possible care.

How does bariatric surgery change my body?
For people who have spent years living with morbid obesity, bariatric surgery can transform their lives. However, it's important to be prepared for all aspects of the treatment. Surgery changes your body by creating a smaller stomach pouch.

What is the cost of bariatric surgery?
For many people, bariatric surgery is affordable because it is covered by their health insurance plan. People who do not have insurance coverage for bariatric surgery must pay for it on their own. This is called self-pay or cash-pay. Even without insurance, many people feel that the surgery is worth the investment in their health and seek out alternative financing options.

  • Generally, the out-of-pocket costs for gastric bypass are between $20,000 and $30,000.
  • Generally, the out-of-pocket costs for gastric banding are between $14,000 and $18,000.

How will I pay for bariatric surgery?
There are several ways to pay for surgery, including:

  • Health insurance coverage for bariatric surgery
  • Alternative financing options such as medical loans or home equity loans

What are alternative financing options?
Few people are able to pay cash up front for bariatric surgery. If you do not have health insurance coverage for bariatric surgery, there are alternative financing options available, such as medical loans.

How long do I have to stay in the hospital?
It varies from person to person. Generally, the hospital stay (including the day of surgery) can be one to two days for a gastric band, two to three days for a laparoscopic gastric bypass, and five to seven days for an open gastric bypass.

After the surgery, what support will I receive in adjusting to new daily habits?
A typical comprehensive bariatric program will consist of a combination of the following healthcare professionals: a program coordinator, psychologist, dietician, exercise physiologist, and other healthcare professionals. Each expert is dedicated to providing support for bariatric patients both before and after surgery. Check with your program to find out about support groups that can be helpful in adjusting to new daily habits.

Can I get pregnant after bariatric surgery?
Most doctors recommend that women wait at least one year after the surgery before a pregnancy. Approximately one year postoperatively, your body should be fairly stable (from a weight and nutrition standpoint), and you should be able to carry a normally nourished fetus. Consult your surgeon as you plan for pregnancy.

What about postoperative pain and discomfort?
Many people think bariatric surgery will be followed by a long and painful recovery period. However, most patients report experiencing only discomfort and soreness rather than pain. Recovery does, however, vary from patient to patient.

How long is recovery?
As with any major surgery, there will be a recovery period. Remember that this is a necessary step, and the better care you take during recovery, the more quickly you'll return to normal activity.

What is the long-term success of bariatric surgery?
For people suffering from morbid obesity, bariatric surgery can be a powerful tool. For the surgery to be effective long term, it must be used properly. Through lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise and a healthy food plan, many patients are able to make a long-term change for better health.