Nestor F. de la Cruz-Muñoz, MD, FACS, answers some of the most common questions he is asked by his surgical weight loss patients.

 

 

Do I qualify for bariatric surgery? It depends. The BMI is the first determinant. Patients should also have some nonsurgical attempts at weight loss. Other factors that determine if you qualify for surgery are determined during your preoperative evaluation. Click here to calculate your BMI.


Should I have the band or the bypass surgery?
Many surgeons only do one or the other. Some of them have only been trained to do one of these procedures, some only believe in one, and some do not have the skills to do one. At University of Miami Hospital Center of Excellence for Bariatric Surgery, our highly-trained experts will assist you in making this decision. Our physicians have performed both procedures hundreds of times and are uniquely skilled in this specialty.


Can I get pregnant after the surgery?
Yes. In fact, it may actually be easier to become pregnant after the surgery, but not until two years after surgery. This should be discussed with your doctor.


Will I have vomiting after surgery?
Most patients do NOT have vomiting after surgery. However, overeating can cause vomiting. If you do experience vomiting after surgery, we recommend you contact your surgeon immediately.


Will I have hair loss?
While some patients may experience some loss of hair, it is rare and usually temporary. Since our procedure causes only a limited amount of malabsorption, this is NOT a common phenomenon occurring with laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery and can be prevented by proper protein intake.


What are the complications?
Like all surgeries, complications can also occur with laparoscopic gastric bypass; however, the complication rates are low. Many of these complications are similar to any operation on an obese patient. While complications should always be discussed between the patient and the surgeon, some of the complications include hernia, wound infection, heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, abscess, leak, and death.


How successful is this procedure?
Although complications exist, the benefit of the surgery outweighs the risks in the carefully selected patients. Recent studies have demonstrated a 60-80% loss of excess body weight. Also, up to 95% of co-morbidities (diseases related to obesity) are controlled. I was told that I was not a candidate for laparoscopic surgery. Can you do it laparoscopically? There are no set guidelines on who should have laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery. If one surgeon does not believe that he/she can perform the operation laparoscopically, we would be happy to give our opinion for your individual circumstance.


My BMI is very high. Am I a candidate for laparoscopic surgery?
BMI is a good measurement to determine if you qualify for obesity surgery. However, it may not be a very good parameter to determine if your surgery can be done laparoscopically. Weight distribution, total weight, BMI, gender, and abdominal wall girth are all factors that can determine if you “qualify” for laparoscopic surgery. At your consultation, we can determine if you are a candidate for laparoscopic surgery.


What is the preoperative workup?
Preoperative workup is individualized for each patient. In general, most patients may undergo a cardiac, pulmonary, psychological, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and dietary workup.


What is the postoperative treatment?
Continued dietary follow-up is mandatory; you will be seen in our office regularly after your surgery.