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Our Most Frequently Asked Questions About Bariatrics and Weight Loss Surgery

Bariatrics and Weight Loss Surgery FAQs

Bariatrics is a field of medicine that is concerned with obesity and weight loss, specifically for those who have tried exercise and dieting and haven’t seen results. At Alton Memorial Hospital, our Bariatrics and Weight Loss Surgery department offers comprehensive services to patients looking to take the first step toward permanent weight loss. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions we get about bariatrics and weight loss surgery.

Photo of DoctorWho is the bariatrics program for?
Bariatrics are for people with a BMI of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35 to 39 with an obesity-related condition such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or sleep apnea. We have performed weight loss surgeries on patients anywhere from age 18 to 64.

What surgical options are available to patients?
The primary weight loss surgery we offer is gastric sleeve surgery, which permanently removes about 85% to 90% of your stomach and helps limit the amount of food you can eat. This resets your fat storage set point without altering the absorption of nutrients in your digestive path. 

This option is available to the people previously mentioned with high BMIs or obesity-related conditions, but they must also have previously attempted a dietary weight-loss program for at least six months without success and not have Crohn’s disease or cirrhosis of the liver.

How does one qualify for a consultation for gastric sleeve surgery?
Patients must have a referral from their primary care physician to consult with our bariatric surgeon, Dr. Matthew Musielak. 

What does recovery look like from gastric sleeve surgery?
Patients will typically stay overnight in the hospital for a night or two after surgery. They will then need to follow a strict dietary process at home that builds from a liquid diet to solid food to allow for proper healing of the stomach. This process lasts eight weeks.

What must a patient do beyond gastric sleeve surgery?
With gastric sleeve surgery, you aren’t just committing to the surgery but also to a continued regimen of weight loss support and maintenance. This includes nutritional support from a dietician, behavioral support, physical therapy and, potentially, plastic surgery. This support typically goes on for six months post-surgery on top of labs and check-ins with Dr. Musielak to make sure everything is going smoothly and results are being maintained.

How involved are loved ones post-surgery?
This procedure takes a lot of work to maintain, so patients need to think positively and surround themselves with positive people to make sure they have a solid support system in place. We often see families getting involved in this sense, or sometimes even see couples taking the journey together.

What other ways can people find support for weight loss?
We invite anyone interested to join our weight loss support group, which you can get more information about by calling Stephanie Davis at (618) 463-7744. This group meets via Zoom and covers lots of helpful topics for people looking to advance their weight loss journey.

What does insurance cover?
A lot of insurance plans will cover procedures and support through our Bariatrics and Weight Loss Surgery program, though there are different parameters for each insurance provider. Call your insurance before you get a referral from your primary care physician to see what they require.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (618) 463-7833, or fill out the form on our Bariatrics and Weight Loss Surgery page: https://www.altonmemorialhospital.org/Medical-Services/Surgical-Services/Bariatrics.

Find a doctor or make an appointment: 618.463.7220 or 800.392.0936
General Information: 618.463.7311
Alton Memorial Hospital
One Memorial Drive
Alton, Illinois 62002

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