General Questions

Absolutely, in fact, women who have had weight-loss surgery and have lost a significant amount of weight do have healthier babies than patients who remain morbidly obese. You do not want to become pregnant in the first year after bariatric surgery. After about one or two years after the weight loss stabilizes, though, it's perfectly safe to get pregnant and nurse.

There are two reasons. First, because an evaluation is required by our program and may be required by your insurance company. Second, because we need to assess how well you understand the surgery and its risks, and whether you have the ability to make the lifelong commitment required to maintain good health.

It depends on your physical condition and the type of surgery you have. In general, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours.

The staples are made of stainless steel or titanium and are very small. They will not set off metal detectors.

Not significantly. Both respond well, though men tend to lose weight faster than women.

The American Society for Bariatric Surgery and National Institutes of Health recommend patients should be at least 18, although some have been as young as 14. This is primarily because younger patients may not have matured physically to the point that their body can handle the procedure or emotionally to the point that they can make a decision this important.

Yes. On average, weight loss surgery increases life expectancy up to 6.5 years. By comparison, heart bypass surgery increases life expectancy by about 3.5 years.

The usual time frame for returning to work is 10 to 14 days.

Exercise is an important part of your recovery. Patients begin walking the day of their procedure – they walk a little more the next day, a little more the day after that, and so on. As you get stronger, you should aim to reach 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day.

Diuretics and over-the-counter pain medicine should be avoided. Diuretics cause your kidneys to lose potassium, and most weight loss surgery patients already experience a reduction in potassium intake just because they're eating less. Over-the-counter pain medicines can cause ulcers in the small stomach and bowel. Always consult with your bariatric surgeon about the medications you are taking or wish to begin taking.

We recommend strongly that you don't smoke. It increases the potential for lung problems after surgery, stalls the healing process, promotes infection and interferes with the blood flow to tissues that are healing.

Sexual activity can resume usually within 7-10 days, but it depends on how well and how fast your wound heals and on your threshold of discomfort from the surgery.

No. But if you are concerned about your weight loss, talk with your surgeon.

Some patients experience either hair loss or thinning, typically in the first four to eight months after surgery. In most cases, it comes back naturally. You can help prevent hair loss by getting enough protein with meals and by drinking sufficient fluids during the day.

Every individual is different. Some people experience a return in appetite shortly after surgery, while for others, it takes longer. Usually, hunger returns three to six months after surgery.

They include gallstones, liver problems, hernia, staples in the stomach pouch that pull loose, leakage, blocked bowel and other risks typically associated with any surgery.

It is an estimate of your total body fat. BMI is calculated with a formula using your weight and height. Your providers will use this number to help guide your treatment for weight loss and maintenance.

According to the CDC, obesity-related risks include three diseases that are the leading killers of Americans: heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Obesity also contributes to diabetes, the sixth-leading cause of death in America. In addition, occurrences of sleep apnea significantly increase with excess weight.

Serious medical problems such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes (adult onset) and sleep apnea may be improved or, in many cases, completely resolved with significant weight loss. Your surgeon will consider your individual medical issues and discuss the safest and most effective treatment modality for you.

Follow-up care with your surgeon is very important after any type of surgery.. For certain types of surgery, follow-up needs to be more long term. For all of our weight loss surgery patients, we are dedicated to continuing follow-up for life! We see all of our post-operative patients within two weeks after surgery. For our weight loss surgery patients, we will continue to see you multiple times in the first year after surgery, and then annually for life.

Payment Questions

For many people, weight loss surgery is affordable because it is covered by their health insurance plan. People who do not have insurance coverage for lap band and other surgeries must pay for it on their own.

This is called self-pay or cash-pay. Some patients pay for their own surgery and consider it a critical investment in their health.

Whether you have health insurance or opt for self-pay, you will need to prepare detailed written documentation. From diet history to co-morbid conditions, this information will come in handy.

Many people find dealing with health insurance companies to be intimidating and are not sure how to even get started. If your bariatric surgeon recommends surgery, consider the following:

  1. Your best resource for how to deal with your health insurance company may be your weight loss program. NewStart has weight loss coordinators who work on your behalf with your health insurance company.
  2. Read your Certificate of Coverage (COC). A COC describes your insurance policy in detail, including what it covers and what it excludes.
  3. Write down your weight loss history. Go as far back as you can and include diets and exercise programs. If possible, pull together receipts for gym memberships and weight loss programs.

Quick Fact: Writing a Weight Loss History

Write a description of how morbid obesity decreases the quality of your life. Be sure to include details such as difficulty walking, socializing, or maintaining personal hygiene. This documentation can be useful for your weight loss surgery program and health insurance company.

Our program offers FREE, no-obligation insurance verification. We will contact your insurance provider and determine whether your plan includes coverage for weight loss surgery. Simply provide us with information about your health and insurance plan and we'll do the rest.

Verify Your Insurance

We are contracted with the following insurance providers:

  • Aetna HMO, PPO, POS, EPO
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas PPO, POS
  • CIGNA
  • ChampVA -Tricare Standard (as secondary)
  • Galaxy Health Network
  • GEHA
  • Guardian
  • HealthSmart PPO
  • HHPO
  • Humana Choicecare PPO
  • Medicare – Traditional (contracted for Medicare Texas patients only)
  • Memorial Hermann Healthnet Providers
  • Multiplan
  • Pacificare PPO
  • PHCS
  • Texas Municipal League
  • Texas True Choice
  • Trisurant
  • UMR
  • Unicare HMO, PPO
  • United Healthcare

If you have an exclusion on your health insurance policy, we will be happy to speak with you in our office during your consultation about the options available to you if you decide to pay out of pocket. Costs vary based on procedure and hospital location.

If the insurance company turns down your request for lap band or other weight loss surgery, you may be able to appeal the decision. Many people do not take advantage of the appeals process or know of the laws that govern insurance companies in their state.

Work with Your Weight Loss Surgery Program

Assistance is key. It is critical that you work with your bariatric program to determine the correct approach to appealing a denial. We are there to assist you and to help you adhere to your policy's requirements.

Possible Options After Appeals

Even if you exhaust the appeals options, you still may have options:

  1. Independent review board: This is an option available to people in more than 40 states and doesn't require a lawyer. Judgments usually are issued in 60 days. Check your state's website for specific filing instructions.
  2. Arbitration: Some health insurance companies require patients to use a third party—other than the patient's lawyer and the insurance company instead of going to court.
  3. Litigation: This option is expensive and takes a lot of time.

Ready to Get Started?

Fill out the form below to take the first step on your weight loss journey.

Thank
You!

Thank you for your inquiry and congratulations on starting your weight loss journey with us. If you're ready now, you can move on to the insurance verification step, or you will be receiving an email from us shortly with a link to the form that you can submit at your convenience.

We are committed to providing you with all the information you need to decide whether bariatric surgery is right for you. Our NewStart Coordinators are here to help you through the entire process from insurance verification to surgery.