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Weight-loss surgery - before - what to ask your doctor


Weight-loss surgery is done to help you lose weight and get healthier. After the surgery, you will not be able to eat as much as before. Depending on the type of surgery you have, your body may not absorb all the calories from the food you eat.

Below are some questions you may want to ask your health care provider before you have weight-loss surgery.

Alternative Names

Gastric bypass - before - what to ask your doctor; Roux-en-Y gastric bypass - before - what to ask your doctor; Gastric banding - before - what to ask your doctor; Vertical sleeve surgery - before - what to ask your doctor; What to ask your doctor before weight-loss surgery


What are the reasons someone should have weight-loss surgery?

Are there are other ways of losing weight that I should try beside surgery?

  • What is a nutritionist or a dietitian? Why should I make an appointment to see one?
  • What is a weight-loss program?

What are the different types of weight-loss surgery?

  • What is the scar like for each type of surgery?
  • Is there a difference in how much pain I will have afterward?
  • Is there a difference in how long it will take to get better?

What is the best surgery to help me lose weight and keep it off?

  • How much weight will I lose? How fast will I lose it? Will I continue to lose weight?
  • What will eating be like after weight-loss surgery?

What can I do before surgery to lower my risk of complications? For which of my medical problems (such as diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure) do I need to see my doctor before the surgery?

How can I get my home ready before I go to the hospital?

  • How much help will I need when I come home?
  • Will I be able to get out of bed by myself?
  • How do I make sure my home will be safe for me?
  • What type of supplies will I need when I get home?
  • Do I need to rearrange my home?

How can I prepare myself emotionally for the surgery? What types of feelings can I expect to have? Can I talk to people who have had weight-loss surgery?

What medicines should I take the day of the surgery? Are there any medicines that I should not take the day of the surgery?

What will the surgery and my stay in the hospital be like?

  • How long will the surgery last?
  • What type of anesthesia will be used? Are there choices to consider?
  • Will I be in a lot of pain after surgery? What will be done to relieve the pain?
  • How soon will I be able to get up and move around?

What will my wounds be like? How do I take care of them?

How active can I be when I get home? How much can I lift? When will I be able to drive? When will I be able to return to work?

When will my first follow-up appointment be after surgery? How often will I need to see the doctor during the first year after my surgery? Will I need to see specialists other than my surgeon?


Lamond KG, Lidor AO. Morbid obesity. In: Cameron JL, Cameron AM, eds. Current Surgical Therapy. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: 2014.

Mechanick JI, Youdim A, Jones DB, et al. Clinical practice guidelines for the perioperative nutritional, metabolic, and nonsurgical support of the bariatric surgery patient - 2013 update: cosponsored by American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, The Obesity Society, and American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Endocr Pract. 2013;19:337-372. PMID 23529351

Review Date: 1/20/2015
Reviewed By: Ann Rogers, MD, Professor of Surgery; Director, Penn State Surgical Weight Loss Program, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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