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Our Long Island Practice Answers FAQ about Stomach Stapling, Laparoscopic Obesity Surgery, and More

We know that the decision to have bariatric surgery is a difficult one. We want you to be well informed about the surgical weight loss options offered at our practice before you make this important choice. To help you in the decision making process, we have provided answers to some common questions that are asked at our Long Island center about stomach stapling, laparoscopic obesity surgery, and other weight loss surgery issues.

What is stomach stapling?

At our Long Island center, we sometimes hear the term “stomach stapling” used to refer to bariatric surgery. Stomach stapling refers to the part of the bariatric surgery procedure in which a portion of the stomach is sectioned off, usually with surgical staples, to create a smaller pouch. It is a restrictive method of weight loss surgery which reduces the amount of food that can be eaten at a time, resulting in weight loss. Stomach stapling can be combined with a malabsorptive technique, such as gastric bypass, which also restricts the amount of calories that the body absorbs from the food that is eaten.

The stomach is sectioned off in both sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass surgery — the two most popular surgical weight loss methods in the United States. The National Institutes of Health recognizes these types of bariatric surgery as a viable treatment options for those who have been unable to lose weight through conventional methods. Bariatric weight loss surgery is a major gastrointestinal surgical procedure that results in successful, long-term weight loss for most patients, and is the only proven long-term solution for the treatment of morbid obesity. Contact our center in Long Island to learn more about your surgical weight loss options.

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What is laparoscopic obesity surgery?

Obesity surgery can be performed through traditional surgical methods (also called an open procedure) or with the use of a laparoscope to accomplish minimally invasive surgery. When performing laparoscopic obesity surgery, it is not necessary to cut through muscle; instead, only a few small incisions are needed through which the laparoscope enters the body. The laparoscope is a small telescope with a camera through which the surgeons can view the inside of the body while performing surgery remotely with the use of a computer monitor.

At our Long Island center, we prefer to perform laparoscopic obesity surgery when possible because of its many benefits. In comparison to the open procedure, the risk of complications such as hernias and infections is reduced with laparoscopic obesity surgery, and the procedure can often be performed in less time. Many patients experience less postoperative pain and recovery time when the laparoscopic method is used.

For most patients in our program in Long Island, laparoscopic obesity surgery is the preferred method. However, the open procedure may be better for some people. For a patient who has an extremely high body mass index (BMI) or certain health conditions, laparoscopic obesity surgery can be too risky. Dr. Collin Brathwaite, Dr. Alex Barkan and Dr. Keneth Hall have extensive experience in both open as well as laparoscopic obesity surgery, and will be able to determine which procedure is safer for you.

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What are the risks and benefits of bariatric surgery?

All major surgery has some risks, many of which can differ for each patient. The choice to undergo bariatric surgery is very personal, and only a physician can determine your individual risk factors.

For many patients, the benefits of reduced weight that are available through bariatric surgery far outweigh the risks. Since life-threatening diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, circulation problems, and serious breathing disorders are often associated with obesity, bariatric surgery may be the only way to achieve the weight loss needed to reduce the risks posed by these conditions. In addition, one of the benefits of bariatric surgery is that both gastric banding and bypass procedures can be performed laparoscopically, and patients who undergo laparoscopic obesity surgery recover more quickly than those who undergo open surgery.

Success of the procedure ultimately depends on how well the patient adapts to lifelong eating and behavioral changes. As a group, Winthrop’s bariatric surgery patients have successful outcomes at rates that meet or beat most nationally published figures. This strong track record is a reflection of that fact that we offer our patients support and guidance so that they can adapt to their new lifestyles as smoothly as possible.

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Am I a good candidate for bariatric surgery?

Candidates for bariatric surgery must be morbidly obese. Morbid obesity is defined as 100 pounds overweight for men or 80 pounds overweight for women, with a BMI of 40 or higher. However, surgery may be appropriate for patients who are 80 pounds overweight with a BMI of 35 or greater and who have life-threatening obesity-related medical conditions.

To learn if you are an eligible candidate for obesity surgery, or would like to learn more about the “stomach stapling” procedure, contact the Winthrop Surgical Weight Loss Program to schedule an appointment for a full evaluation.

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How much weight can I lose?

On average, most patients can expect to lose between 50 to 80 percent of their excess body weight. The amount of weight loss will depend on the type of surgery you undergo, as well as how well you follow your new diet and exercise plans.

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Can I become pregnant after bariatric surgery?

Generally, women should wait to become pregnant for at least 18 to 24 months following bariatric surgery. It is important to discuss your pregnancy plans during your first appointment with your surgeon.

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Will my insurance cover the cost of bariatric surgery?

Because each insurance plan varies, it is important to check with your insurance provider before coming in for your initial consultation. Learn more about payment options.

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How long will I be in the hospital following surgery?

Patients of both open and laparoscopic gastric bypass obesity surgery typically stay in the hospital for two to five days following the procedure, while LAP-BAND® System patients are usually able to leave the day after surgery.

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How soon will I be able to return to work after surgery?

The type of work you do, as well as the type of bariatric surgery you have, will determine how long you need to recover before you can return to work. Patients who undergo LAP-BAND® System surgery can typically return to work two to three weeks after surgery, while it may take gastric bypass patients longer.

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How often will I need to exercise after bariatric surgery?

Exercise is an important part of your short- and long-term success. At our center in Long Island, open and laparoscopic obesity surgery patients are typically encouraged to get up and walk in the recovery room approximately two hours after completion of the surgery, and walking one to two blocks a day within a week is also encouraged.

At Winthrop, we encourage our patients to consider joining a gym or a physical therapy program once our surgeons gives their approval. A regular exercise program is critical for optimal weight loss after surgery, as well as long-term weight maintenance. Learn more about exercise after weight loss surgery

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What is my first step toward obesity surgery?

If you are ready to take the first step toward obesity surgery, you should contact your insurance provider to determine if they will cover the cost of surgery. Then, contact the Winthrop Surgical Weight Loss Program to schedule an appointment for a bariatric surgery consultation in Long Island. Whether you are considering laparoscopic obesity surgery or want to know more about the stomach stapling process, Dr. Collin Brathwaite, Dr. Alex Barkan and Dr. Keneth Hall can answer all of your questions and help you make the best decision for you. For more information, call (855) 678-7436.

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The Winthrop Surgical Weight Loss Program offers bariatric surgery to those suffering from obesity in Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn and all of New York. Our three dedicated weight loss surgeons and staff provide safe and effective solutions to excess weight and morbid obesity.