Frequently Asked Questions
Which weight loss surgery is right for me?
There are several types of weight loss surgery available from the Angeles Health team: gastric by-pass, gastric band (including LAP-BAND®), gastric sleeve and intragastric balloon. Each procedure is associated with different ideal candidates, risks and benefits. Request our detailed information packet and we’ll send it to you within 24 hours. Check out our weight loss surgery guide to which procedure is right for you.
What kind of pre-op tests are required?
The necessary tests often include blood tests, electrocardiograph (EKG), chest X-rays, sleep apnea screening, and an echocardiogram. If you have other health problems you may need to provide lab results from your last diagnosis (e.g. chronic Hepatitis C sufferers must know their live enzyme levels and CHILD stage). Your physician will discuss all necessary pre-op tests in your consultation, which Angeles Health will arrange.
How do I know I am a candidate for this surgery?
Dr. Lopez Corvala adheres to the U.S. National Institute of Health requirement that a patient must have a BMI of 30 or higher before candidacy for LAP-BAND® or other bariatric surgery is approved. A Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 40 or greater than 35 with associated medical problems means you have clinically severe obesity. Calculate your BMI.
You may be a candidate if you’re less than 100 pounds overweight and also have significant health problems due to your weight, such as Type 2 diabetes.
Not everyone who meets the criteria for weight loss surgery is psychologically or medically ready for the surgical procedure. Your willingness and ability to follow through with the recommendations made by your health care team, and to carry out prescribed changes in your diet and exercise routine will help determine your readiness for surgery. The surgery may not be recommended or may be postponed if there’s concern that you aren’t psychologically or medically ready for such surgery.
It is important to follow the surgical team’s directions in preparing for weight loss surgery. These may include restrictions on eating and drinking, limiting or stopping the use of nicotine products, and starting a physical activity program. Failure to follow your surgeon’s instructions could result in a delay or even cancellation of your surgery.
How much weight will I lose?
Weight loss following bariatric surgery varies by individual. Most patients lose between 50%-70% of their excess body weight over a 1-1.5 year period.
Does my age matter?
Age is one factor that needs to be considered together with all other aspects of a person’s health; for this reason, most gastroenterologist surgeons will not set an arbitrary or absolute cut off. Surgeries have been done on patients from their teens to late 60s/ early 70s, with excellent results.
How long will the surgery take?
LAP-BAND® takes less than 30 minutes.
Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass usually takes between 2 and 4 hours.
Gastric Sleeve Surgery takes about 1 hour.
How long will I be in the hospital?
Please consult the package price table for the total time needed for your medical travel trip.
LAP-BAND® surgery typically requires a 1-2 night hospital stay. Many patients go to work their first day home from surgery.
Gastric Bypass typically requires a 4 night hospital stay, with the patient remaining in the Tijuana/San Diego area for an additional 6 days at the most before being cleared for travel, although this number is dependent on the patient’s BMI. Your case manager will cover all of this kind of information with you prior to your trip. Patients usually require about 2 weeks of recovery time before returning to work.
Gastric Sleeve surgery typically requires 4 nights in the hospital and an additional 2-3 nights before release for travel. Recovery time is similar to that of the Gastric Bypass.
What will my life be like after surgery?
Weight-loss success after bariatric surgery depends on your commitment to making lifelong changes in your eating and exercise habits. But the feeling of accomplishment as you lose weight as well as your improved health are also significant benefits and are well worth your efforts.
Well over 70%-80% of patients who undergo bariatric surgery discontinue hypertension medication; well over 90% of patients with type II non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus discontinue medication. In addition, many obesity-related health issues improve dramatically or disappear, including high blood cholesterol, obstructive sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) asthma, joint pain, arthritis, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
What are the risks?
It is important that you discuss bariatric surgery risks directly with your surgeon and that you have a clear and thorough understanding of what your risks are before you decide to undergo bariatric surgery.
The risks associated with these procedures are the typical risks associated with any surgical procedure, as well as varying risks depending on which procedure you are having. A more invasive procedure may carry additional risks than a less invasive procedure. The gastric bypass may have some additional nutritional requirements that patients need to follow post-op. Please speak with your case manager about what the risks are for your procedure. You can also request a call from our RN Coordinator or one of the doctors on Dr Corvala’s team to cover any concerns you have regarding this.
It is recommended that the patient refrain from taking Aspirin, NSAIDS (advil, Aleve, naproxen, Motrin) alcohol and smoking for 2 weeks prior to surgery.