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Bariatric Surgery Facts & FAQs

Choosing to undergo a weight-loss procedure is a major decision. As a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence® , Sansum Clinic is committed giving Santa Barbara and Lompoc-area residents all the information and support you need to find the right path for your journey.

Explore some of these frequently asked questions. If you’d like more in-depth, in-person information, we host a free educational seminar, led by our board-certified bariatric surgeon, Marc Zerey, MD. He’ll walk through the different weight-loss surgery solutions, see if you may be a candidate, and, if you’d like, set up a private consultation to discuss your goals and options.

Call (805) 898-3472 or save your spot at an upcoming weight-loss surgery orientation.

Am I a candidate for weight-loss surgery?

Patients undergoing weight-loss surgery are generally between the ages of 18 and 65, with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above. They have tried several diets and are unable to keep the weight off. They may have obesity-related medical problems including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea or high cholesterol. Patients must be drug- and alcohol-free, and psychologically ready for surgery and a commitment to an entirely new lifestyle.

Is weight-loss surgery covered by my insurance?

Most insurance carriers provide coverage for bariatric procedures, assuming eligibility criteria are met. Your out-of-pocket expenses may vary, however, depending on your specific plan. Our bariatric surgery program coordinator, Jessica Orozco, will help you navigate your coverage during your initial consultation, and submit all paperwork on your behalf.

How long do I have to wait before having bariatric surgery?

From the time of the initial consultation, the average wait time is 6-8 weeks. During this time, you will undergo preoperative testing to evaluate whether surgery is a suitable option. This includes blood tests, a thorough cardiac evaluation, chest X-ray, an abdominal ultrasound to evaluate the liver and gallbladder and a consultation with our registered dietician, psychologist and other medical specialists, as needed. Wait times may be longer if your insurance requires you to follow a supervised preoperative diet (3-6 months). In addition, Dr. Zerey may require you to lose weight before surgery to determine if you are able to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

What if my current weight-loss surgery is not working?

Dr. Zerey has extensive experience performing laparoscopic bariatric revision surgery, to correct problems with previous procedures. Issues may include lap band intolerance, slipped lap band, failed gastric bypass or vertical-banded gastroplasty.

Many patients are referred to us from other areas of the Central Coast. Dr. Zerey performs all these revisions laparoscopically with a completion rate greater than 90%.

Which weight loss procedure is best for me?

All procedures have their individual benefits and risks. During your initial, private consultation, Dr. Zerey will walk through your history and unique needs and goals to help determine the best weight-loss surgery option for you.

How long before I can return to work?

In general, patients can return to work approximately 1-2 weeks after a laparoscopic banding and 2-3 weeks after gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy.

When do I start taking my vitamins and for how long?

Patients are encouraged to start taking a chewable multivitamin twice daily and chewable calcium citrate with vitamin D twice daily after their initial consultation with Dr. Zerey. It is important that you take vitamin-mineral supplements every day for the rest of your life to prevent vitamin deficiency. Learn more about post-bariatric surgery diet and care.

Are there any activities that I should avoid after bariatric surgery?

Patients are encouraged to walk several times per day following their return from the hospital. Patients should wait about four weeks before resuming more vigorous exercise.