Frequently Asked Questions

Is there an age limit for weight loss surgery? You must be at least 18 years old to be considered for weight loss surgery at West Georgia Health. If you are more than 65 years old, you will be considered on an individual basis.

Can weight loss surgery improve my health? Studies have demonstrated a reduction in morbidity and mortality following weight loss surgery. Significant improvements are seen in obesity-related medical conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease or heartburn, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. There is also a significant risk reduction in other medical conditions related to obesity such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

How do I get started? First, register to attend one of the free informational sessions offered by Dr. Ferguson. Second, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ferguson to discuss your individual requirements.

What are the routine tests before surgery? You are asked to provide a complete medical history, recent laboratory tests and the results from other physical and mental examinations including the following: complete blood count (CBC) and complete metabolic panel (CMP) and nutrition panel, H. pylori antigen and hemoglobin A1c. Other tests, such as pulmonary function, sleep studies, echocardiogram, GI evaluation, cardiology evaluation and psychiatric evaluation may be requested on an individualized basis.

Am I required to have a psychiatric evaluation? A psychiatric evaluation will help prepare you for lifestyle changes by addressing coping skills and encouraging behavior modification. The psychiatrists will evaluate your understanding and knowledge of the risks and complications associated with weight loss surgery, and they will evaluate your ability to follow the basic recovery plan.

How long am I required to stay in the hospital? Although it can vary, most adjustable gastric banding patients are able to leave the same day as their surgery. Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass patients typically go home one to two days following their surgery.

How soon will I be able to walk? Almost immediately after surgery, you will be required to get up and move about. The nursing staff will ask patients to walk down the halls several times the day after surgery and after. Walking is the most effective way to reduce your risk of having a pulmonary embolus.

How soon may I drive? For your own safety, you should not drive until you have stopped taking narcotic medications and can move quickly and alertly to stop your car, especially in an emergency. Usually this is seven to 14 days after surgery.

Can I get pregnant after weight loss surgery? Yes, but it is strongly recommended that women wait 18 months to two years after the surgery before becoming pregnant. After about 18 months, your body will have stabilized. Due to the nutritional issues related to both pregnancy and bariatric surgery, you should consult your surgeon as you plan for pregnancy.