Frequently Asked Questions

This is a list of the most common questions we receive from our patients at the University of Michigan Adult Bariatric Surgery Program. If your question isn't answered here, please give us a call at (734) 647-6685. We're here to help!

  1. Why should I have my weight loss surgery at the University of Michigan?

    The University of Michigan offers a specialized, multi-disciplinary Bariatric Surgery team who works with you on an individual basis to provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to be successful after your weight loss surgery. We provide pre- and post-operative nutritional education and counseling, support group meetings, and an on-line patient community to help you deal with the nutritional, lifestyle, and emotional changes you will experience. Our staff includes surgeons, physician assistants, nurses, dietitians, and psychologists, all of whom specialize in bariatrics and are available for life long care and support.
  2. How much weight will I lose after bariatric surgery?

    Weight loss is variable from patient to patient but on average you can expect to lose 65-70% of excess body weight following Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass surgery, 55-60% following Sleeve Gastrectomy and 35-45% of excess body weight following Laparoscopic Gastric Banding (LAP-BAND).
  3. How is Adjustable Gastric Banding (LAP-BAND) different from Gastric Bypass (Roux-en-Y)?

    Laparoscopic Gastric Banding is a purely restrictive procedure. A silicone band is placed around the upper portion of the stomach to produce a small pouch that produces a feeling of fullness and prevents the desire to eat excessively. This procedure limits the amount of food that can be eaten but does not affect the absorption of vitamin and minerals.

    Roux-en-Y is a combination restrictive and malabsorptive procedure. A small pouch is formed at the upper portion of the stomach as in the LAP-BAND but this pouch is surgically created(permanent) and the remained of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine (duodenum) is bypassed which causes malabsorption (fewer calories are absorbed for several months following the surgery). This combination procedure results in rapid weight loss and requires life long daily replacement of vitamins and minerals to prevent deficiencies.
  4. Which weight loss procedure is less invasive?

    All procedures are done laparoscopically which means usually 5-6 small incisions about one inch in length are made on your abdomen. This results in less pain, minimal scarring, and a much faster recovery. The laparoscopic gastric banding is less invasive than the gastric bypass because a silicone band is used to form the new stomach pouch. The gastric bypass pouch is surgically formed. The LAP- BAND however requires adjustments. This means a needle is placed through your skin to a port where fluid is inserted or removed to provide adequate feeling of satisfaction to prevent excessive eating. The LAP-BAND requires more frequent follow up visits (usually every 6 weeks) over the first few years.
  5. What is the recovery time following surgery?

    For both procedures you are generally up and walking on the first day. The day after surgery you are able to begin a liquid diet. For most individuals pain is well controlled with liquid oral pain medication after the first day. Those who have LAP-BAND are usually discharged on the day following surgery. Those who have had gastric bypass are usually discharged on the second day following surgery. After LAP-BAND you return to normal activities and back to work within 7 to 14 days. Those undergoing gastric bypass return to normal activities and back to work within 2 to 4 weeks.
  6. Does my insurance cover weight loss surgery?

    Most insurance companies have determined weight loss surgery to be a covered benefit for obesity and obesity related co-morbidities. We encourage you to contact your insurance provider to determine if weight loss surgery is a covered benefit under your policy and to see if they have any additional criteria. Insurance providers are changing their individual criteria for weight loss surgery at least every enrollment period. Please check with your provider frequently to see if their criteria have changed. See the patient insurance information form, located in the Medical/Nutritional Questionnaire.
  7. How long from the time I attend an informational session before I am scheduled for surgery?

    Due to our program requirements of 6 months of medically supervised weight loss documentation, the length of time from the informational session to the date of your surgery varies. If your insurance carrier has no additional criteria, the average time from the informational session to the date of surgery is 3 to 6 months.
  8. How often am I required to see the surgeon/physician assistant and dietitian after surgery for follow-up?

    Following gastric bypass you will see the surgeon and dietitian at 2 weeks and 2 months. You will then see the physician assistant and the dietitian at 6 months, 12 months and annually. You can schedule additional appointments with our dietitian, as you feel you need.

    Following LAP-BAND you will see the surgeon and dietitian at 2 weeks and 6 weeks, then you will see the surgeon every 6 weeks for band adjustments for the first couple of years until your band is tight enough to allow for sufficient weight loss. You can schedule additional appointments with our dietitian, with your adjustments.
  9. When will I schedule my surgery date?

    The actual surgery date is not discussed until after all the requirements from the review committee have been completed. The Review Committee generally occurs 3-4 weeks after the completion of your 3rd evaluation.