Does health insurance cover bariatric surgery?

The requirements for health insurance companies to cover such surgery include:

  • BMI > 35
  • Extended efforts to diet for a minimum of two years, or in some cases, one year.

Moreover, you should not suffer from any other serious psychiatric or medical condition.

How much weight can I lose after bariatric surgery?

Each bariatric surgery method can lead to sustainable and long-term weight loss. However, with each method of surgery there is also the possibility that the desired results cannot be achieved.

Numerous studies, which are consistent with our numbers and experience, provide a statistical average of weight loss for each individual intervention. In the first 5 years you can expect to lose approximately 65 – 70 % of excess weight with a gastric bypass, 50 – 55 % with a gastric band and 50 – 65 % with a stomach tube.

The weight loss usually occurs within a year. After that your weight will settle down to a new level. Cases of being «underweight» after bariatric surgery are rare.

Is bariatric surgery dangerous? Are there many complications? Or is it more dangerous if I stay overweight (BMI > 35)?

Bariatric surgery completed by an experienced surgery team is not considered dangerous. Nevertheless, as with any surgery, complications can occur and are, in some cases, severe. In very rare cases these complications can be fatal.

The «death rate» after bariatric surgeries is below 0.5%.

This death rate after surgery has to be compared with the death rate due to excess weight. If compared in the long-term, the death rate for bariatric surgery patients is much lower than that for obese patients with a BMI > 35 who have not had surgery. Numerous long-term studies show that obesity is much more dangerous for your health than a surgical intervention due to the many secondary diseases that can develop.

Shall a robot do the operation?

The so-called robotic surgery has not prevailed in bariatric surgery, as it is not advantageous for the patient. The abdominal incisions are the same size as with a conventional laparoscopy. A skilled surgeon is much faster with the conventional laparoscopy than with robotic surgery. Robotic surgery unnecessarily prolongs the anesthetic time in bariatric surgery and does not lower the complication rate.

Essentially, with robotic surgery the operation is still done by the surgeon, however, the surgeon does not stand at the operating table but sits at a console and moves the instruments via a joystick.
There are clinics that charge a premium of several thousand francs for robotic bariatric surgeries without a real benefit for you as the patient.

I received a gastric bypass weeks or months ago and since then I cannot eat well.

If you vomit immediately after food intake and if this problem started only a few weeks after the operation, then it is possible that the connection between the stomach and small intestine (gastroenterostomy) has scarred too thickly.

Please contact the bariatric department of the hospital Limmattal during consultation hours so we can clarify the cause. A narrowing of the gastroenterostomy can be successfully dilated with a balloon through a gastroscopy.

After food intake I feel very tired, sometimes I feel sick. I sweat and sometimes everything goes black.

If you are suffering from these or similar symptoms, «dumping syndrome» might be the reason. Dumping syndrome is often seen after gastric bypass, duodenal switch or biliopancreatic diversion surgery.

It is a disorder of your glucose metabolism. Often this disorder is caused by a too rapid or excessive consumption of carbohydrate rich foods. Carbohydrates are in all sweet dishes and drinks (chocolate, tiramisu, ice-tea, Coca-Cola, etc) but also in bread and pasta. If you think that you are suffering from dumping syndrome contact the bariatric department of the hospital Limmattal during consultation hours immediately.

After the gastric bypass surgery my stools are more liquid and very smelly. What can I do about this?

The stool changes in most cases after distal VVLL gastric bypass surgery. The changes, however, are very individual. The malodorous stools occur especially when undigested fat is excreted in the stool. You can avoid this if you limit your intake of fatty foods (fondue, raclette, cordon-bleu, crisps, hamburgers, etc.).

If you suffer from chronic diarrhea visit the bariatric department of the hospital Limmattal during consultation hours.

I am experiencing repeated abdominal pain after the bariatric surgery. What can I do?

Slight abdominal pain after bariatric surgery is common and the reasons are varied and mostly harmless. Often the pain is caused by a dietetic mistake.

If you suffer of abdominal colic (especially in the right upper abdomen) gallstones could be the reason for the pain. If you suffer from sudden, strong and diffuse abdominal pain, we recommend an immediate inpatient clarification of the reason via the emergency ward of the hospital Limmattal. The reason may be twists of the intestines or internal hernias.

Can I get pregnant after bariatric surgery? Is there an increased risk for the pregnancy after bariatric surgery?

After bariatric surgery you can become pregnant without any problems. However, we recommend waiting 12 months after the surgery. It is important to have your blood vitamin and nutrition levels checked on a regular basis, especially when pregnant. Studies show that the associated risks to pregnant women is higher when they are obese (BMI >40) than after a gastric bypass surgery. Therefore, we recommend carrying out a planned bariatric surgery before a planned pregnancy.

I am developing an excess of skin after losing weight. What can I do?

There is no way of predicting if you will suffer from excess skin after successful weight reduction. Unfortunately, there are no reliable preventative measures to avoid the excess skin formation. Typical areas for excess skin are the abdomen, hips, thighs, breasts and arms.

The excess skin formation can only be treated surgically. Please talk to the bariatric department of the hospital Limmattal during consultation hours if you suffer from excess skin formation so that we can take further steps.

What if I regain weight after the surgery?

A slight weight gain 2 to 4 years after the bariatric surgery is normal.

However, a bigger weight gain must be investigated. There are many possible reasons for renewed weight gain. Our interdisciplinary team will begin the necessary inquiries and will advise you about the various therapy options.