Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Which insurance providers partner with Vanderbilt, and of those, who approves weight loss surgery?
A: Click here for current lists.

Q: How long does the surgery last?
A: Each person's case is different. But the operation usually lasts about two hours. After surgery, you will remain in the recovery room until your anesthesiologist clears you to be moved to your hospital room, usually about two to three hours after surgery.

Q: How long will I be in the hospital after surgery?
A: You will remain in the hospital until the surgeon has decided that you are stable enough to return home, usually one day. 

Q: How much time will I need to take off from work?
A: The time that you take off from work depends on what type of work you do. After the laparoscopic approach, you can go back to a desk job sometimes in as little as one week. Most people take about two weeks off from work.

Q: Are all the operations done with a laparoscope?
A: Yes. During the laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon makes several very small incisions. A tiny video camera is inserted through a small tube into the abdomen. The surgeon is able to see into the abdomen by watching the video from the camera on a nearby monitor. The surgeon watches the monitor and uses surgical instruments that have been inserted through other small incisions to perform the surgery. We are able to complete the operation using this technique in the vast majority of cases.

Q: Will the surgeon remove my gallbladder?
A: The surgeon may decide to take out your gallbladder if it is causing you significant problems. If you still have your gallbladder and it is causing you symptoms, the surgeon may request an ultrasound of your gallbladder to examine it better before to your surgery, to determine whether removing it is necessary.

Q: Why does my hair fall out and how can I prevent that from happening?
A: Numerous metabolic changes occur after weight loss surgery. The number of calories your body is accustomed to consuming is drastically reduced. Hair loss is often minimal and the hair usually grows back. Consuming adequate amounts of protein and taking your multivitamins will reduce the amount of hair that may be lost.

Q: Is my surgeon in the operating room during the entire surgical procedure? Who else is in the room?
A: Your surgeon will be in the room and is the person in charge of all aspects of the operation. This surgery requires more than two hands. A laparoscopic fellow will assist the surgeon in performing the surgery. A surgical resident and operating room nurses are often in the room to help with the surgery.

Q: Can the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery be reversed?
A: The Roux-en-Y gastric bypass changes your gastrointestinal tract. Because nothing is removed during this bypass, it can be reversed. However, this operation should be viewed as a permanent change. If you are not ready for that type of commitment, bariatric surgery may not be the best option for you at this point.

Q: Will I ever be allowed to drink carbonated beverages?
A: It is not recommended to drink carbonated beverages.

Q: How much excess skin will I have?
A: There is no reliable way to predict the amount of excess skin you may have. Younger patients will have fewer problems with excess skin after weight loss but most patients will have excess skin that may require surgery for removal.

Q: Is there a good age at which to have this surgery?
A: Ages 15-65 are good years for weight loss surgery.

Q: How long after surgery will my energy level increase?
A: Your energy level may be low immediately following surgery. You will need about one to two weeks after laparoscopic surgery before going back to work.