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Obesity has become one of the most challenging diseases that people struggle to be cured from. Diet and exercise are the first treatment options; however, they fail to provide measurable outcomes among moderately and severely obese people. Numerous studies exposed that bariatric surgery & weight-loss surgery, is the appropriate procedure to help those people lose weight and improve their health score.

In fact, bariatric surgery is a life-changing technique by which candidate people have a higher quality of life. Usually, obese people develop serious conditions by time since moderate-severe obesity is a risk factor for different diseases that include but not limited to: cardiovascular disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, arthritis, breathing problems, and infertility. In contrast to bariatric surgery, people going under this surgical procedure experience a great improvement in their health status. In addition to its guaranteed weight loss, it lowers high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Gradually, it eliminates the breathing problems, stops the disease progression, and reduces risks of developing new serious conditions.

Types of Bariatric Surgery

Gastric Bypass: This is the most common and successful combined procedure for weight loss surgery.In this procedure, the surgeon creates a small stomach pouch to restrict food intake.Then a Y-shaped section of the small intestine is attached to the pouch to allow food to bypass the lower stomach, the duodenum (the first segment of the small intestine), and the first portion of the jejunum (the second segment of the small intestine). This reduces the amount of calories and nutrients the body absorbs

Sleeve Gastrectomy: The gastric sleeve procedure involves reducing the size of your stomach. During the operation up to ¾ of the stomach is removed by dividing it, with the new stomach taking the shape of a narrow tube or sleeve. This effectively restricts the stomach capacity without affecting its function, so that the amount of food that can be eaten at one time is restricted.

Gastric Banding: A band is placed around the upper part of stomach to create a small pouch to hold food. The band limits the amount of food that the person eats by giving a feeling of fullness after eating small portions of food.

More About Obesity

Dr. Murtaza Pithawala

Specialist General Surgeon - Advanced Laparoscopy and Bariatric (Obesity) Surgery

Dr. Hussam Altrabulsi

Specialist General Surgeon - Advanced Laparoscopy and Bariatric (Obesity) Surgery

Dr. Uday Shankar

Specialist General Surgeon - Advanced Laparoscopy and Bariatric (Obesity) Surgery

Dr. James Zachariah Pulimuttil

Specialist General Surgeon- (Bariatric, Metabolic & Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery)

Dr. Aws Khidir Jassim

Consultant General Surgeon

Dr. Mohanad Mohamad Sultan Aljanabi

Consultant General and Bariatric Surgeon

Obesity FAQ

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How long after metabolic and bariatric surgery will I have to be out from work?

After surgery, most patients return to work in one or two weeks. You will have low energy for a while after surgery and may need to have some half days, or work every other day for your first week back. Your surgeon will give you clear instructions. Most jobs want you back in the workplace as soon as possible, even if you can’t perform ALL duties right away. Your safety and the safety of others are extremely important – low energy can be dangerous in some jobs.

Many patients are worried about getting hernias at incisions. That is almost never a problem from work or lifting. Hernias are more often the result of infection. You will not feel well if you do too much.

When can I start exercising again after surgery?

Right away! You will take gentle, short walks even while you are in the hospital. The key is to start slow. Listen to your body and your surgeon. If you lift weights or do sports, stay “low impact” for the first month (avoid competition, think participation). Build slowly over several weeks. If you swim, your wounds need to be healed over before you get back in the water.

Does type 2 diabetes make surgery riskier?

It can. Be sure to follow any instructions from your surgeon about managing your diabetes around the time of surgery. Almost everyone with Type 2 Diabetes sees big improvement or even complete remission after surgery. Some studies have even reported improvement of Type 1 Diabetes after bariatric procedures.

Can I have surgery if I have heart disease?

Yes, but you may need medical clearance from your cardiologist. Bariatric surgery leads to improvement in most problems related to heart disease including:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Lipid problems
  • Heart enlargement (dilated heart, or abnormal thickening)
  • Vascular (artery and vein) and coronary (heart artery) disease

During the screening process, be sure to let your surgeon or nurse know about any heart conditions you have. Even those with atrial fibrillation, heart valve replacement, or previous stents or heart bypass surgery usually do very well. If you are on blood thinners of any type, expect special instructions just before and after surgery.

When can I get pregnant after metabolic and bariatric surgery? Will the baby be healthy?

Most women are much more fertile after surgery, even with moderate pre-op weight loss. Birth control pills do NOT work as well in heavy patients. Birth control pills are not very reliable during the time your weight is changing. For this reason, having an IUD or using condoms and spermicide with ALL intercourse is needed. Menstrual periods can be very irregular, and you can get pregnant when you least expect it!

Most groups recommend waiting 12-18 months after surgery before getting pregnant.

Many women who become pregnant after surgery are several years older than their friends were when having kids. Being older when pregnant does mean possible increased risks of certain problems. Down’s syndrome and spinal deformities are two examples. The good news is that, after surgery, there is much less risk of experiencing problems during pregnancy (gestational diabetes, eclampsia, macrosomia) and during childbirth. There are also fewer miscarriages and stillbirths than in heavy women who have not had surgery and weight loss.

Kids born after mom’s surgery are LESS at risk of being affected by obesity later, due to activation of certain genes during fetal growth (look up “epigenetics” – for more information). There is also less risk of needing a C section.

Will I lose my hair after bariatric surgery?

Some hair loss is common between 3 and 6 months following surgery. The reasons for this are not totally understood. Even if you take all recommended supplements, hair loss will be noticed until the follicles come back. Hair loss is almost always temporary. Adequate intake of protein, vitamins and minerals will help to ensure hair re-growth, and avoid longer term thinning.

Will I have to go on a diet before I have surgery?

Yes. Most bariatric surgeons put their patients on a special pre-operative diet, usually 2 or 3 weeks just before surgery. The reason for the pre-operative diet is to shrink the liver and reduce fat in the abdomen. This helps during the procedure and makes it safer.

Some insurance companies require a physician-monitored diet three to six months prior to surgery as part of their coverage requirement. These diets are very different from the short term diets, and usually are more about food education and showing a willingness to complete appointments and to learn.Some insurance companies require a physician-monitored diet three to six months prior to surgery as part of their coverage requirement. These diets are very different from the short term diets, and usually are more about food education and showing a willingness to complete appointments and to learn.

Will I have to diet or exercise after the procedure?

No and Yes.

Most people think of a “diet” as a plan that leaves you hungry. That is not the way people feel after surgery. Eventually, most patients get some form of appetite back 6-18 months after surgery. Your appetite is much weaker, and easier to satisfy than before.

This does not mean that you can eat whatever and whenever you want. Healthier food choices are important to best results, but most patients still enjoy tasty food, and even “treats.”

Most patients also think of exercise as something that must be intense and painful (like “boot camp”). Regular, modest activity is far more useful in the long term. Even elite athletes can’t stay at a “peak” every week of the year. Sometimes exercise is work, but if it becomes a punishing, never-ending battle, you will not keep going. Instead, work with your surgeon’s program to find a variety of activities that can work for you. There is no “one-size-fits-all” plan. Expect to learn and change as you go!

For many patients (and normal weight people, too) exercise is more important for regular stress control, and for appetite control, than simply burning off calories. As we age, inactivity can lead to being frail or fragile, which is quite dangerous to overall health. Healthy bones and avoiding muscle loss partly depends on doing weekly weight bearing (including walking) or muscle resistance (weights or similar) exercise.

I am unable to walk.

Almost everyone is able to find some activity to “count” as moderate exercise, even those who are partially paralyzed, or who have arthritis or joint replacement or spine pain. Special therapists may be needed to help find what works for you.

How do I get a letter of necessity?

Some insurance requires this type of letter from either your surgeon or primary care provider before final approval for surgery. Many will just accept your surgeon’s consultation summary note. It is best to ask your insurer directly. Most companies want information pertaining to current weight, height, body mass index, the medical problems related to obesity, your past diet attempt history and why the physician feels it is medically necessary for you to have bariatric surgery. Your bariatric surgeon will often have a sample letter of necessity for you to take to your primary care physician.

Can I go off some of my medications after surgery?

As you lose weight, you may be able to reduce or eliminate the need for many of the medications you take for high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, cholesterol, and diabetes. If you have a gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy or a duodenal switch, you may even be able to reduce the dosage or discontinue the use of your diabetes medications soon after your procedure.

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