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Bariatrics FAQ

Below are several frequently asked questions and answers; if you have a question that is not answered here, please consult your surgeon.

1. How do I know if I am eligible for weight loss surgery?

Phoebe Bariatrics follows guidelines supported by the National Institutes of Health in order to determine a patient’s eligibility for weight loss surgery. Rather than using weight, we use body mass index (BMI) as a criteria for surgery – excess fat in relation to height. Individuals are candidates for surgery if:

  • They have failed previous attempts at weight loss in a medically supervised program
  • Their BMI is greater than 40 or between 35 and 40 with major obesity-related medical problems.

2. Is weight loss surgery right for everyone?

The short answer is no. Surgery is not a solution for everyone. We only determine whether a patient is right for surgery after a complete evaluation and discussion with the patient. Because weight loss surgery is a life-altering procedure, we want to make sure our patients are committed to making the lifestyle changes needed for a successful procedure.

3. Which bariatric (weight loss) procedures are available?

We offer the laparoscopic gastric sleeve and the laparoscopic gastric bypass.

4. Which procedure should I choose?

After a thorough review of your medical and lifestyle history and a comprehensive exam, your surgeon will recommend the procedures that will produce the best results for you. Ultimately, the decision is up to you. Whether you opt for the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy or laparoscopic gastric bypass, remember that the surgery is just one step in the weight loss process. Your willingness to commit to lifestyle changes is also critical.

5. What are the risks of weight loss surgery?

All major surgery comes with risks, and the risks are different for each patient. At Phoebe Sumter Bariatrics, we take extra strides to ensure safe and health outcomes. During your first appointment, your surgeon will explain your individual risk level.

6. How much weight will I lose? Will the weight loss be quick?

The amount of weight you lose -- and how fast you lose it -- depends on which weight loss surgery you have. Keep in mind that every individual is different. Weight loss surgery is only a tool and commitment to the necessary lifestyle modifications is vital for successful outcomes.

7. Can I become pregnant after weight loss surgery?

Women should avoid pregnancy for at least 12 months after surgery. This is the time when you are losing the most weight and may not be healthy for a developing baby. Please discuss any pregnancy plans with your surgeon during one of your clinic appointments.

8. Will my insurance cover the procedure?

Insurance coverage depends on your insurance plan. For example, some insurance companies require a patient to be in a physician-supervised weight loss program for at least a year before surgery. Before you come in for your first appointment, please call your insurance company to find out if weight loss surgery is covered. Phoebe Sumter Bariatrics has insurance specialists who can help you after you are approved for surgery.

9. If I am interested in weight loss surgery, what is my first step?

If you are interested in weight loss surgery, please call us at (229) 931-1152. We will help you register for an information session where you will learn more about our program and our weight loss surgery options.

10. What should I bring to my first appointment with the surgeon?

When you come to your first appointment, please bring the following information:

  1. Social security number
  2. Insurance card
  3. Any paperwork needed by your insurance carrier (managed care referral authorization, for example)
  4. Any past medical records
  5. A list of your current medications
  6. Patient questionnaire received at the free weight loss seminar

11. Who is my first appointment with and where is it at?

You will see one of our bariatric surgeons and the program manager at your first appointment. Our office is located at 120 Highway 280 West, Suite C, Americus, Georgia 31719; on the campus of Phoebe Sumter Medical Center.

12. What happens during the first appointment?

Plan to be at your first appointment for about two hours. The surgeon or nurse practitioner will perform an extensive history and physical and give you a thorough overview of the program. Depending on scheduling, our dietitian may also see you at this appointment.

13. After the first appointment, how long will it take before I have surgery?

This depends on your insurance provider and the criteria they require, as well as the tests and requirements our team finds necessary. Typically the program and approval process takes 3-6 months to complete. This is to ensure that you are prepared for weight loss surgery and the lifestyle modifications it requires.

14. How long will I have to stay in the hospital after surgery?

Your hospital stay will depend on the type of weight loss surgery you have. Generally, hospital stays are between one and three days.

15. How long will I be off of work after surgery?

Again, your time off of work will depend on the type of weight loss surgery you have. The sleeve gastrectomy procedures average a two- to four-week recuperation.

16. Will I continue seeing my primary care physician after surgery?

Yes. Because your medical condition will change following weight loss surgery, it is essential that you are closely monitored by your primary care doctor. We will keep him or her informed on your progress.

17. Will I have to take vitamins?

Yes, we encourage all weight loss surgery patient to take a multivitamin twice daily.

18. Should I exercise after weight loss surgery?

Regular exercise is extremely important for maintaining your weight loss. Your bariatric surgery team will help you with the types of exercise you should be doing, and how soon after surgery you should start doing them.

For more information...

Contact Ashley Austin, DNP at 229-931-1152 or e-mail

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