Frequently Asked Questions

 

Do You Have Questions About Weight-Loss Surgery?

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1. What Are The Different Types Of Weight Loss Surgery That You Offer?

Howard University Center for Wellness & Weight Loss Surgery (HUCWWLS), offers three types of bariatric procedures:

  1. Gastric Bypass Surgery separates the stomach into two unequal compartments with less than 5% of the stomach remaining usable for food consumption. During digestion, the food empties from this tiny stomach pouch into the upper intestine.

  2. Gastric Sleeve Surgery is a procedure in which about 85% of the stomach is removed, leaving 15% of the original capacity which is shaped like a sleeve.

  3. Revisional Surgery is procedure reserved for patients who did not achieve adequate weight loss; and/or may have had complications after surgery. In many cases, the patient regained a significant amount of weight after their initial weight loss procedure.

2. How Do I Know If I Am Eligible For Weight Loss Surgery?

To Find Out If You Are A Candidate, patients must meet the following specific criteria before being considered for a bariatric surgery evaluation: 

  1. Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of greater than 40, or a BMI of >35 accompanied by other issues related to medical problems. (Click here to Calculate your BMI). These medical problems include diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, sleep apnea, high cholesterol,  among others

  2. You have failed previous weight-loss attempts in a medical weight-loss program.

  3. Be mobile, medically stable, and have the desire to be actively involved.

3. What Are The Benefits & Risks Of Weight Loss Surgery?

All major surgery comes with potential risks and rewards, which are different for each patient. HUCWWLS specialists have excellent below-national benchmark risk outcomes. During your first appointment, your surgeon will discuss your current health status and explain your individual Health Benefits & Risks associated with surgery.

4. Will I Need Plastic Surgery & Does Insurance Pay For It?

After losing most of the excess weight, some patients may have loose or sagging skin.  For many patients, this might be just temporary. The degree of loose or sagging skin depends upon several things, including how much weight you lose, your age, your genetics and whether or not you exercise or smoke. Many patients can hide loose skin by clothing or compression garments. We generally recommend waiting at least 18 months before having post bariatric procedures. Plastic Surgery can help remove excess abdominal and breast skin, which is often covered by insurance because it may cause a rash.

5. How Long Will I Stay In The Hospital?

All bariatric weight loss surgeries are performed at Howard University Hospital.  The average surgical time for gastric bypass is about two hours and sleeve gastrectomy is about one-to-two hours. With laparoscopy surgery, almost all our patients can walk within a few hours after surgery. They start to have liquids 24 hours later. The majority (more than 95%) of patients only stay in the hospital for one or two nights.

6. How Much Weight Can I Expect To Lose? Will The Weight Loss Be Quick?

The amount of weight you lose, and how fast you lose it — will depend on what weight loss surgery you have and your commitment to following the program. The average patient who has gastric bypass surgery (RYGB), typically loses between 60 to 80 percent of his or her excess body weight. With gastric sleeve surgery (VSG), it's between 60 to 70 percent. The amount of weight loss also depends on your age, gender, starting BMI and your ability to adhere to lifestyle changes necessary to make surgery a success.

7. How Soon Can I Return To Work?

After surgery, most patients return to work after two to four weeks. Some may be able to work from home as early as one week after surgery. Because of the significantly reduced calorie intake, many patients have low energy for 1-2 weeks after surgery. However, most patients gain their energy back in a very short time frame. 

8. What Is The First Step In The Process?

 If you’re interested in weight-loss surgery, please call us at 202-865-1286 to schedule an initial consultation. In the near future you can register for an information session on this website, where you will learn more about our program and our weight loss surgery options from one of our experts.

9. After My First Appointment, What Is The Timeline Before I Can Have Surgery?

This depends on your insurance provider and the criteria they require, as well as the tests and requirements the surgical team deems necessary.

10. Will My Insurance Cover The Surgery?

Insurance coverage depends on your individual insurance plan. Before you come in for your initial appointment with the surgeon, please call your insurance company to find out if weight loss surgery is covered. Please contact us at 202-865-1286 for more information.