Weight Management Topics

Bariatric Surgery Options 

A comprehensive weight-loss program

The field of weight-loss surgery is one of constant advances and innovation. Many weight-loss surgery (bariatric surgery) procedures are even performed laparoscopically (minimally invasive surgery with the da Vinci robot) which means less time in the operating room, reduced pain, a shorter hospital stay, less risks from surgery and a faster recovery.

The comprehensive weight-loss surgery program offered by SSM Health Weight Management Services has the ultimate goal of helping people live better quality, healthier and longer lives. That’s why we address all your healthy weight management needs leading up to and following surgery including a meal program and support groups. All aspects of this program are conveniently located on the campus of SSM Health DePaul Hospital.

The following weight-loss surgeries are available with SSM Health Weight Management Services:

Get started on your weight loss journey today!

Weight-loss surgery FAQs

Healthy answers to your most common weight-loss surgery questions.

Do you do intestinal bypass or stomach stapling?

Intestinal bypass surgery and stomach stapling are no longer used because of complications as well as failure resulting in weight gain after a few years.

What is the recovery time?

Patients usually stay in the hospital one to two days in private rooms. Depending on the patient’s work, he or she can return in one or two weeks after weight-loss surgery, as opposed to the average six weeks for traditional surgery. Outpatient surgery for adjustable gastric banding may be available.

What are the risks of bariatric surgery?

Potential risks are the same as any other major abdominal surgery: infection, leg and lung clots, bowel obstruction and intestinal or stomach leakage. Learn more.

Is bariatric surgery covered by insurance?

We advise surgical candidates to ask their insurance provider to verify coverage. Some insurance companies are now requiring patients to first complete a specified amount of time in a medically-supervised diet program, such as our HMR® (Health Management Resources) Program before approval. More about Insurance Coverage

How do patients’ eating habits change after surgery?

Patients will meet with specialists on their bariatric team to determine the diet regimen they should follow. Generally, patients are on a liquid diet for four weeks following surgery, but gradually return to eating normally, but in smaller amounts. To learn more about eating habits after surgery, watch our video.

Can you talk about diet specifically?

During the first four weeks, patients eat only protein supplements and pureed foods. In the fifth week, they move on to semi-soft food. And at the sixth week, patients can eat most foods, only eliminating refined sugars and fats. We will recommend a daily calorie total for each patient. This usually falls between 1000 and 1200 calories. Learn more in our Bariatric Nutrition Guide

How much food will I be able to eat following surgery? How often will I be able to eat?

Most patients are instructed to eat 1/4 cup, or 2 ounces, of food. As time goes on, you can eat more (as instructed by your medical team). Most people can eat approximately 1 cup of food after a year or more post-surgery.

What could happen if I don’t follow one or more of the dietary guidelines?

The guidelines are designed to improve the chance of long-term success in weight loss. If you don’t follow the guidelines, you may not lose or maintain the loss of the estimated 70 to 90 percent of excess weight. You may experience complications such as vomiting, diarrhea, or malnutrition after surgery.

How soon will I be able to walk?

Soon after surgery, doctors will require you to get up and move around. Patients are asked to walk or stand at the bedside the night of surgery and take several walks the next day and soon after. Upon leaving the hospital, you may be able to care for all your personal needs, but you will need help with shopping and lifting, and with transportation.

How soon can I drive?

You should not drive until you have stopped taking medications (associated with surgery) and can move quickly and alertly. Usually, this takes seven to 14 days after surgery.

When can I go back to my normal activity level?

Your ability to resume pre-surgery levels of activity depends on your physical condition, the nature of the activity, and the type of bariatric surgery you had. Many patients return to normal levels of activity within six weeks of surgery. 

Should I use birth control?

It is strongly advised that women of childbearing age use the most effective forms of birth control during the first 16 to 24 months after bariatric surgery.

Post-surgery FAQs

Here are some questions patients have asked about maintaining excess weight-loss and lifestyle changes after surgery.

Why is exercise so important?

When you have bariatric surgery, you lose weight as the amount of food energy (calories) you can eat becomes much less than your body needs. Your body has to make up the difference by burning unused fat or muscle tissue. Your body will tend to burn any unused muscle before it begins to burn the fat it has saved up. Without daily exercise, your body will burn unused muscle, and you will lose muscle mass and strength. Daily aerobic exercise for 20 minutes will tell your body to use your muscles and force it to burn the fat.

How much exercise is needed after bariatric surgery?

Exercise is an important part of success after surgery. Exercise actually begins on the afternoon of bariatric surgery––the patient must be out of bed and walking. The goal is to walk further every day after that, including the first few weeks at home. You may be encouraged to begin exercising, limited only by discomfort, about two weeks after surgery. The type of exercise depends on your overall condition. Some patients who have severe knee problems can't walk well, but may be able to swim or bicycle. Many patients begin with low-stress forms of exercise and move on to more demanding activity when they are able.

Why is it important to drink so much water?

When you're losing weight, there are many waste products to eliminate, mostly in the urine. Some of these substances tend to form crystals, which can cause kidney stones. A high water intake protects you and helps your body rid itself of waste efficiently, promoting better weight loss. Water also fills your stomach and helps create a feeling of fullness. If you feel a desire to eat between meals, it may be because you did not drink enough water in the hour before.