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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

HOW DO I GET STARTED?

FOR WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY:
You first need to watch our online webinar by going to this link.

FOR GENERAL (NON-BARIATRIC) SURGERY:
Contact us directly via our website or you can also notify us via text/phone at (805) 379-9796.

 

DO YOU OFFER NON-BARIATRIC SURGERIES TOO?

Advanced laparoscopic and conventional general surgery are core components of bariatric surgery. Our program does offer a wide range of general surgery procedures on both a routine and emergency basis. We welcome all referrals and consults. Should your situation fall out of the scope of our practice, we can act as your ‘surgical base’ and guide you towards another appropriate specialist.

 

HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM ELIGIBLE FOR WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY?

We cover this topic extensively in our online seminar. In general, you have to be at least 18 years old. There is no upper age cut off. You must also have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of greater than 40, or a BMI of >35 accompanied by at least one comorbidity. Patients with BMIs lower than 35 may still qualify under certain circumstances. To calculate your BMI, use our BMI calculator. There are other criteria as well but in general, there are very few absolute contraindications to bariatric surgery. 

 

WHAT ABOUT INSURANCE COVERAGE & COSTS?

We currently accept Medicare and nearly all PPO insurances for both bariatric and general surgery. We are in network for almost all major plans in our area, as are all of the facilities where we perform our surgeries at. Insurance verification for bariatric surgery is typically done before or right after your first visit. Generally, for bariatric surgery, unless your particular plan has a clear-cut non-coverage clause, all plans cover the surgeries. You are typically responsible for your deductibles and copays.

We are not a Workman’s Comp or MediCal/GoldCoast provider, nor are we contracted with Kaiser Permanente or other HMO & capitated medical groups at this time. If you are an HMO patient, you need to obtain an authorization for service and guarantee of payment from your medical group or see us on a fee for service basis. We do offer competitive cash rates for our surgeries which includes your office visits. This information will be provided to you in writing and includes full disclosure of all costs and inclusions & exclusions. For bariatric surgery, furthermore, we do not charge “program fees” or have any other last minute “hidden fees”. We are also not shareholders in any surgical facilities nor have any ownership at labs & X-ray facilities. Our practice is fully “WYSIWYG”.

If you currently have an HMO plan such as Kaiser or similar, and intend to change to a PPO plan eventually, your initial consult will be done via telehealth on a gratis basis. 

 

HOW IS UNIVERSITY BARIATRICS DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS?

Simply put, we do not adhere to a mill mentality. We believe in simplicity, mutual cooperation, commitment, and open communication. The care is one on one. Your scheduled appointment is indeed that: yours. It’s not with a physician extender, nor is it shared with others or minimized by tens of patients crammed into one day. All your medical care at all levels is done by your surgeon. Our responsibility is to you alone and not to your health-plan. Our staffing is streamlined to reduce multiple intervening layers. Our practice is transparent and we expect likewise from our patients as well. To that effect, we enter into a contract with you after the first consultation which clearly states our mutual objectives and expectations. Feedback from our past patients is an accurate testimony to how we run our practice. 

 

IS WEIGHT-LOSS SURGERY RISKY?

This topic is fully discussed in our online seminar. There are risks associated with any operation. However, in properly prepared and educated patients, the risk of continued obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, fatty liver, etc far outweigh the risks of modern bariatric surgery. By focusing on preoperative risk minimization, patient optimization, and meticulous attention to postoperative care, the risks of bariatric surgery are on par with or lower than most commonly performed operations.

 

WHERE CAN I GET MORE INDEPENDENT INFORMATION ABOUT BARIATRIC SURGERY?

In addition to numerous books and other print media, the Internet is inundated with thousands of websites, chat rooms, and blogs dedicated to weight loss surgery. We STRONGLY caution you to maintain a high degree of hesitation and reservation as you browse through any of them. As part of your initial visit, we provide with a list of past patients whom have volunteered to talk to future patients. We do recommend the following websites for additional educational material:

https://asmbs.org/patients/bariatric-surgery-procedures

www.my-emmi.com/SelfReg/UNIVERSITYBARIATRICS

 

WHAT PREPARATION IS REQUIRED BEFORE BARIATRIC SURGERY?

Our program prides itself in ensuring a thorough preoperative preparation program. Patient preparation before surgery is always determined on a case-by-case basis. Tehre However, there are certain general parameters which all patients must follow. One is enrollment in a pre-surgery nutrition program and meeting with a psychologist and a nutritionist. This reduces postoperative complications significantly. The University Bariatrics dietician will create a plan tailored specifically to your goals. 

 

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE SURGERY IS PERFORMED?

Here at University Bariatrics we take immense pride in the superior level of care which we provide for our patients. Our dedicated team will develop a personalized, individual postoperative program for you with monitoring, guidance and support after the procedure.

 

MUST I FOLLOW A LIFETIME-SPECIFIC DIET AFTER HAVING BARIATRIC SURGERY?

No! With all bariatric procedures we strongly suggest an adjustment to both the lifestyle and the diet of the patient, favoring a healthier diet and more exercise. However, there is no requisite diet after the recovery period for the procedure has passed.

 

IS IT STILL POSSIBLE TO GET PREGNANT AFTER HAVING BARIATRIC SURGERY? 

Yes! In fact, many of our bariatric patients encounter greater success attempting for a pregnancy after having undergone their bariatric procedures! Oftentimes infertility is a comorbidity of obesity, and once the patients’ obesity has abated, they have been able to become pregnant! However, it is highly recommended to avoid any pregnancy for at least 18 months after surgery. For patients whom pregnancy is desired or highly likely, we generally advocate the sleeve gastrectomy over the gastric bypass. 

 

WHAT IS THE STANDARD AMOUNT OF RECOVERY TIME?

Luckily for you the turnaround time is very quick albeit it differs between patients. You should be able to return to work about two weeks after surgery as long as you do not need to lift, push or pull anything heavy. For the first few weeks after surgery, you may begin light exercise only one week after surgery, initially walking then gradually increasing exercise as you lose weight.

 

WHAT IS THE AVERAGE TIME-FRAME FOR THE DAY OF THE PROCEDURE?

So the average gastric bypass  including the non-surgery time, will take about two or three hours and one to two hours for the sleeve gastrectomy. In most cases the patients will be up and walking three to five hours after surgery.

 

WILL THERE BE LOTS OF EXCESS SKIN POST-SURGERY?

Many of the people who are heavy enough to meet the strict surgical criteria for weight loss surgery, they have stretched their skin beyond the point from which it’s possible for it to “snap back”. These individuals tend to seek out plastic surgical options around 18 months after surgery when they have plateaued. However, many others have good elasticity of the skin, and with the help of exercise, may not have much excess skin. This is more of an individual situation than a one size fits-all deal, and there is no way to predict what your skin will do, so exercise as much as you can and cross that bridge once the weight loss has stopped.

 

WHAT IS "MINERAL MALABSORPTION AND HOW DO I AVOID IT?

In the gastric bypass, as part of the intestinal tract is bypassed, the patients have to take vitamin and mineral supplements on a lifetime basis. Compliance with this rule is very important. The good news is that it is not onerous and as part of the preoperative process, the bariatric nutritionist will go over it with you. 

 

DOES GASTRIC BYPASS SURGERY INTERFERE WITH DAILY MEDICATIONS?

In contrast to the vertical sleeve gastrectomy, the gastric bypass can interfere with the absorption or function of medications. Directly after surgery you may need to crush or cut or convert your medicine into liquid. A few weeks after the surgery, you may begin to take small pills or capsules as before. Medications that come in larger pill form may still need to be split in half. Capsule may have to be opened into yogurt or applesauce. There are some medications such as NSAIDS that are prohibited on a lifetime basis. In rare cases, patients’ use of certain medications may warrant pursuing a vertical sleeve gastrectomy over a gastric bypass. This is generally a case-by-case situation and will be discussed with you in full during your consultation.

 

WILL I BE ABLE TO EAT NORMALLY AFTER SURGERY?

Yes! After the transitional post-surgery period is over you may again begin to eat normal foods again! The biggest difference is going to be the portion size and the type of food that you should eat. As you’d imagine, you will fill up much quicker than you used to, so eat with caution. Specific post-diet dietary guidelines are to avoid foods high in sugars and limit fats in your diet. Besides those stipulations you may otherwise eat a wide variety of foods but some foods such as dry meats, pasta, rice, breads, asparagus or other stringy fruits and vegetables may be difficult. The bariatric nutritionists will educate you prior to surgery about all these nuances. .

 

I'VE READ THAT THE GASTRIC BYPASS HAS A HIGH COMPLICATION RATE ...IS THAT TRUE?

This is a common misconception; it is not true. When considering having the gastric bypass procedure there are numerous factors which you need take into accord. The importance of seeking surgeons and programs with a long history of experience like ourselves cannot be overstated. The rate of complications goes down significantly with more experience in performing stapled operations. This is a more complicated surgery than a simple band placement; so doing the research on the surgeon performing your procedure is a must. Dr. Mehran has been performing laparoscopic gastric bypasses since 2003 and has had numerous scientific publications, invited presentations, and media events regarding bariatric surgery. 

 

WILL I HAVE VISIBLE SCARS FROM THE SURGERIES?

The procedures are carried out via minimally invasive techniques, which is described as a “keyhole” surgery. This means you will have 5 small incisions. You will have scars from these incisions, however scars prominence should be greatly diminished with time after surgery or minimal treatment.

 

WHEN DO I CONSIDER REVISIONAL SURGERY?

There are many reasons why one may qualify for revisional bariatric surgery at University Bariatrics. The most common reasons why our patients undergo revisional bariatric surgery are as follows: continued weight concerns after the original surgery, stretching of surgical areas, Lap-Band explantation for any reason, or any other negative unplanned surgical side-effects such as reflux after sleeve gastrectomy. If you are suffering from any of the above conditions or have any other concerns which you believe may qualify you for revisional surgery contact us today and schedule a consultation!

 

WHAT ARE THE RESULTS I CAN EXPECT TO SEE FROM A REVISIONAL SURGERY?

The resolution and improvement of medical comorbidities are the primary objectives of the bariatric surgery we perform and not an idealized final weight. However, this does not mean that losing weight is not a focus. Our revisional bariatric surgery is aimed at both reducing the impact of comorbidities as well as helping you to fix the issues with your original surgery. The end goal of our revisional surgery is for the resolution of the issues caused by the original surgery or reducing comorbidities, which may ultimately result in a significant amount of weight being lost!

 

WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?

We recommend that you watch the relevant modules on EMMI, a patient education program. www.my-emmi.com/SelfReg/UNIVERSITYBARIATRICS

 

WHAT IF I HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS?

You can contact us via several ways:

  1. Online contact form on our website
  2. Call/Text us at (805) 379-9796