Frequently asked questions

Why surgery? Should I try medication first before considering surgery?

There is no doubt that lifestyle changes and behavioural modification can lead to successful and sustained weight loss. However, on average only about 3.2% of baseline weight is lost with these interventions.1,2,3

Prescription medication may also be a useful addition for managing obesity with expected weight loss in 1 year being about 2.9% – 6.0% of your overall body weight.4,5

Surgery for weight loss (bariatric surgery) aims to reduce weight and improve medical conditions which are associated with obesity.5

Weight loss surgery works by increasing your sense of fullness after eating with expected weight loss in one year being about 20 – 33% of your overall body weight.6,7

References:

  1. Action to prevent obesity and reduce its impact across the life course – Evidence Review. 2018. Available at https://www.racp.edu.au/docs/default-source/advocacy-library/racp-obesity-position-statement.pdf. Accessed December 2019
  2. Sumithran P and Proietto J. The defence of body weight: a physiological basis for weight regain after weight loss. Clin Sci 2103; 124: 231–41.
  3. Pilitsi E, et al. Pharmacotherapy of obesity: Available medications and drugs under investigation. Metab Clin Exp 2019; 92: 170–92.
  4. Lee PC, Dixon J. Pharmacotherapy for obesity. Aust Fam Phys. 2017; 46(7): 472–7.
  5. NH&MRC (2013) Clinical practice guidelines for the management of overweight and obesity in adults, adolescents and children in Australia. Available at https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/clinical-practice-guidelines-management-overweight-and-obesity#block-views-block-file-attachments-content-block-1, accessed September 2019.
  6. Dimitriadis, G. K., Randeva, M. S., & Miras, A. D. (2017). Potential Hormone Mechanisms of Bariatric Surgery. Current obesity reports, 6(3), 253–265. doi:10.1007/s13679-017-0276-5
  7. Batterham R.L., Cummings D.E. Mechanisms of diabetes improvement following bariatric/metabolic surgery, 2016 Diabetes Care, 39 (6), pp. 893-901.

What timeframe from consultation to surgery is recommended?

Around 3-4 weeks. patients are required to start a pre-operative diet of Optifast. the length of your diet will generally depend on your BMI.

How early are the blood tests before surgery?

Blood tests are required around 2 weeks prior to surgery. We repeat all bloods again at 6 months post surgery then yearly after that.

Is there an age limit?

18-65. Patients older than 65 are still considered depending on their general health.

What is the estimated cost of Anaesthesia? (as this was excluded from pricing)

Around $1200-$1500 with rebates available.

Age over 60, with other health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol and pacemaker, would I be eligible for surgery?

Most patients of this age group with multiple co-morbidities will require sub-speciality consultations – this could include cardiology, respiratory and pre-admission anaesthetic review.

I am having a gastric band removed, it has embedded into my stomach, it was placed 25 years ago, which procedure would be best suited to me?

Generally a gastric bypass is a more preferable operation after long standing band placement.

Where do you operate?

Gosford Private and Tuggerah Lakes.

Can you remove a band at the same time as you do a bypass or sleeve?

No – there is generally a 3 month delay before a bypass or sleeve.

How can seeing a psychologist help?

Selectively they may provide help underlying psychological problems that need addressing prior and post bariatric surgery.

Which is the most successful, bypass or sleeve?

Both are equally as successful, they both have different risk profiles. a bypass is more commonly recommended for patients with higher BMI’s, intractable reflux or revisional surgery.

What is success rate compared to diet and exercise long term?

Expected wight loss in one year for lifestyle changes is 3.2% for overall body weight compared to medication at 2.9-6% and weight loss surgery 20-33%.

Are there strategies to avoid gall stones?

No – gallstones are more common in the female population and their incidence is increased with generalised weight gain or rapid weight loss.

I would have to join a health fund and service 12 months waiting period first, is it better to speak to you sooner about surgery so I know what I’m looking fat or wait until closer to the end of 12 months?

Yes – a full history, examination and investigations are required before surgery.

Is there any cost involved in seeing you to discuss things before joining a health fund as with all my issues joining a health fund may not be beneficial to me?

No – all bariatric / weight loss surgery consults are bulk billed.

How will alcohol affect me post surgery?

Alcohol can get absorbed at a quicker rate after bariatric surgery and a smaller volume may cause cognitive impairment.

I have a special needs young adult with health problems who has gained a lot of weight, has arthritis and other health issues, are their any other options available if we can’t join a health fund

Yes – being in a health fund allows you access to multi-disciplinary consultant consultations that maybe required before surgery.