Frequently Asked Questions On Bariatric Surgery
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I trust Dr. Kelly to do a good job?
Yes! Dr. Kelly is one of the best bariatric surgeons in the world. He has committed the last 10 years of his life exclusively to Bariatric surgery. His peers in Canada and USA recommend him and his patients speak very highly of him. Please see our testimonial page for some of his patients comments. Dr. Kelly also operates on high risk patients that other surgeons do not feel qualified to help. He has fixed many surgeries that were not done correctly!
Will I have complications?
No one can guarantee you that you will not have a complication, no surgeon can. What is important to know is whether or not your doctor has the experience to deal with anything that might arise. Dr. Kelly has exclusively performed bariatric surgery for the past 10 years and it is safe to say that he has seen and done it all. He has perfected his surgery technique so as to minimize the chance for any complication to arise. His complication rate is very low, less than 1 out of 200.
I have heard news about violence in Mexico, is Tijuana safe?
Yes, it is safe for you to travel to Tijuana. In the 12+ years Dr. Kelly has been doing weight loss surgery none of his clients have had a single incident of violence. You should always take precautions no matter what city you are in, whether you are in Canada, US, Mexico or the world.
I am concerned that I won’t lose weight because during all the diets I have tried in the past I seem to lose the weight and then regain it all back plus more.
You will lose the weight and keep it off. This surgery helps you keep it off permanently. You still need to do your part by incorporating exercise and healthier eating into your lifestyle but surgery makes it much easier to follow the rules to help you maintain your weight loss permanently. Surgery is your best “weight loss tool”.
Are standards at the hospital the same as in the US?
Yes! Dr. Kelly is concerned first and foremost with his patients health so hospital standards are always a top concern. He has worked for over 4 years at hospitals in Michigan and California so he is quite aware of the US standards. For Dr. Kelly it is pretty simple. If he didn’t think the hospitals that he performs surgery in were not clean and safe then he would not use them. While we cannot speak for all doctors and hospitals or medical centers in Mexico we can assure you that at Nova and Angeles Hospital standards are up to par with US and Canadian hospitals. The ORs are subject to government health department inspections. Daily lab tests are done to ensure quality control. Our hospitals have been granted the “ SAFE BUSINESS” from the government. Nova and Angeles Hospital are under close supervision to ensure safety to patients. Regretfully this is not the case in smaller clinics and medical centers.
How do I know I will get the surgery I am paying for?
Medical Tourism is becoming more and more common and many are choosing to use Dr. Kelly because of the testimonies of his very satisfied clients. Dr. Kelly takes his patients health very seriously. Please research Dr. Kelly’s credentials for both the US and Mexico here. You can verify these online. There are also hundreds of patients recommending us online, including doctors and nurses that have either had the procedure themselves or brought a family member to see Dr. Kelly for surgery.
Do I need to keep coming back for follow up?
No. If you have had the Vertical Sleeve or Gastric Bypass or Duodenal Switch there is no need to come back. All outer sutures are dissolvable. Dr. Kelly will recommend that you have blood work done by your family doctor during the first year after your surgery to make sure you are getting adequate nutrition. The quantities of food you will be eating will be much smaller than what you were used to so you will need to supplement your diet. Blood work will tell your doctor if your supplementation is adequate and if not then your doctor may need to adjust your supplements. Dr. Kelly will make himself available to help you if you are having difficulty getting proper nutrition.
Why should I pay more to go to Dr. Kelly when I can go to other doctors in Mexico for a cheaper price? Aren’t all the doctors doing the same procedure anyway?
Money is always a concern for most people but it shouldn’t be your biggest concern. You will live with the ramifications of your decision for many years to come so your biggest concern should always be first and foremost your health. If you don’t have your surgery properly done the first time and there are complications then this may cost you more money in the long run than doing it right the first time. An inexperienced surgeon increases your risk. This surgery should be the last thing you need to do to get to your goal weight! Quality medical care will always cost more. Some of us will only buy quality parts for our cars but will settle for less when it comes to our health. If your surgeon makes a mistake you could live with that mistake for the rest of your life. It is not worth the risk. Some have gone to less skilled surgeons and now come to Dr. Kelly to get the surgery done right. They could have saved themselves much heartache and money if they had come to him the first time. Consider it an investment in your health. It pays very well.
Is there anything I can do to make sure I do not regain the weight?
After more than 10 years of experience with bariatric surgery I see the need to do 6 things.
Plan what you put in your mouth. Don’t just wing this. Make up your meals so you eat healthier.
Eat every 3 – 4 hours even if it is only a small meal or snack. It is important that you don’t skip any meals.
Try to avoid liquid calories as they don’t fill you up. Save your calories for when you eat.
Don’t drink when you eat. This may be hard at first but it is important to not drink 1/2 hour before or after you eat.
Accountability. We all need someone to help us stay on the right track. It is much easier with support than without. Join a WLS support group online if there is not one near you.
Exercise. It is important to move. You may only be able to walk at first but as the weight starts to come off and you can get around easier than why push it a little more. Maybe take up jogging or join a recreational team sport or a fitness club. Why not go to the gym and push it a little harder on some exercise equipment. Maybe use some machines that work out the muscles. Resistance training will benefit even into our golden years.
Nutrition & Food After Bariatric Surgery
Which vitamin and mineral supplements should I expect to take after weight-loss surgery?
The vitamins you’ll need to take after surgery will depend largely on the procedure you had. Duodenal switch patients will have different supplement needs than gastric sleeve patients. The supplements you need will be prescribed to you by the surgeon.
How long will I need to take vitamin supplements?
You will only need to take protein supplements as long as you cannot get all your protein from food. Generally, patients come off of protein supplements after a few months. You may need to take vitamin supplements for life, but this will depend on your procedure and your surgeon’s recommendations.
How much protein do I need daily?
Protein needs will depend on your body weight and your gender and are prescribed on an individual basis. It’s crucial to meet your protein requirements to facilitate recovery from surgery. Most patients will be prescribed anywhere from 60 to 80 grams of protein.
Can I take all of the protein in one dose?
We do not recommend consuming all of your protein in one sitting, for several reasons. First, your body can only absorb a small amount of protein in one sitting (30-40g, according to some estimates). Second, if you try to consume all of your protein requirements in one sitting after surgery, you will almost certainly experience gastrointestinal discomfort.
How should I get my protein? With shakes? Bars? What if I’m a vegetarian?
This will depend on where you are post-op. Your first protein requirements will be prescribed with shakes. However, as you start reintroducing foods, you will want to get more of your protein from food.
If you’re vegan or vegetarian, we have supplements that fit your dietary needs. Please tell your surgeon about any dietary considerations you have.
What happens if I don’t take in enough protein?
Many bad things can happen if you do not meet your protein requirements. The first is that recovery can be affected if you do not eat enough protein. You may also experience a loss of muscle mass.
Do I need to avoid caffeine after bariatric surgery?
No; this is a misconception. Caffeine is acceptable to consume after bariatric surgery, although some caffeinated beverages may have gastrointestinal effects that you may find unpleasant. Black coffee and tea are generally acceptable, though.
Why is fluid intake important?
First of all, you need water to keep your body alive. Bariatric surgery patients in their first few weeks post-op have an increased risk of dehydration since they simply cannot consume a lot of water in a single sitting. To maintain proper fluid intake, sip water every 15 minutes or so.
Medications After Bariatric Surgery
What effect does weight loss surgery have on my medications?
This will depend entirely on which medications you are taking. Please talk to the surgeon about any medications you are taking during your initial consultation. Your surgeon will be able to answer any questions you may have.
Will my medications change after bariatric surgery?
Some patients find that they can get off of their blood pressure and diabetes medications after bariatric surgery. However, you should only change your medication at the advice of your doctor! Never go off your medication just because you think it’s fine to do so.
Which medications should I avoid after weight loss surgery?
Painkillers are the most common category of medications that can cause problems after bariatric surgery. Specifically, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) should not be taken in the first month after bariatric surgery because they can cause stomach bleeding. Common NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. NSAID-containing drugs include Advil, Motrin, Aleve, and Pepto-Bismol, among others. Tylenol (acetaminophen/paracetamol) is safe to take after bariatric surgery.
Other medications may be avoided after weight loss surgery, but you will want to talk to your surgeon about the medications you take.
Are there any additional prescription medications I will have to take after bariatric surgery?
You may be prescribed an opioid painkiller immediately after surgery to deal with the acute pain caused by surgery. However, you will not take these medications long-term. You will also be prescribed a set of dietary supplements, including protein supplements and multivitamins. Any other medications will be prescribed to you at the discretion of your primary care doctor or your surgeon.
Are all medications crushable?
Exercise After Bariatric Surgery
Physical activity is very important for long-term weight management. Different patients may have different needs and abilities. As you progress in your fitness program, your body becomes more efficient at the same activity, which means that you tend to burn fewer calories. As you lose weight, the number of calories burned per hour tends to decrease as well. And so, throughout time, it is necessary to gradually increase the intensity or length of your fitness activities. Your surgeon or fitness instructor may have specific recommendations for you in this regard.
How much exercise should I get?
The American Heart Association recommends that everyone get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity exercise. For severely obese patients, walking at a high speed can be considered moderate intensity. Intensity should increase as physical fitness improves.
How soon after surgery can I exercise?
Light exercises, such as walking, can be performed in as little as one-week post-op. However, more strenuous exercises such as jogging and cycling should be reserved for after you have recovered more fully.
What type of exercise should I do?
We recommend that all bariatric patients, regardless of age, weight, gender, or situation, engage in some sort of cardiovascular exercise. Exercise bikes and ellipticals reduce the impact on tendons and provide a controlled way to progress. Swimming is easy on the joints, enjoyable, and relaxing.
We also recommend that patients do at least 2 days per week of resistance exercise, which may include lifting weights, calisthenics, or resistance machines.
Smoking and Alcohol After Bariatric Surgery
To have a lower risk of complications with weight-loss surgery, almost every bariatric surgery program will recommend that you quit smoking or using chewing tobacco prior to your surgery. Hopefully, this can be an opportunity for you to kick the habit for good.
Why do I have to quit smoking or using tobacco before surgery?
Smoking is linked to a plethora of negative health outcomes, however, there are acute problems that can result from tobacco use before surgery. The biggest risk is the increased risk of fatal blood clots. Other risks include an increase in marginal ulcers after bariatric surgery and a decreased ability to fight off infection.
How soon do I have to quit smoking before surgery?
You will need to cease smoking for at least six weeks before your operation to reduce the risk of blood clots. This is not unique to bariatric surgery.
Where can I get help to help me quit?
Your primary care provider can refer you to local addiction help resources so that you can get the help you need in your town or city.
Can I drink alcohol after surgery?
Alcohol is not recommended during the post-op diet at all, as it can cause severe digestive issues. Not only that, but alcohol sensitivity will go way up after surgery and will remain very high. You will likely find that you can only drink a fraction of the alcohol you used to before getting intoxicated. We recommend that all patients quit their alcohol habit and restrict alcohol consumption to small, occasional amounts.
Does this apply to cannabis as well?
Cannabis smoking has a different set of risks than tobacco smoking, and they’re not very well studied. However, we highly recommend that you cease smoking cannabis six weeks before surgery, to keep yourself safe.
Pregnancy after Bariatric Surgery
Is it safe to get pregnant after I have bariatric surgery?
Yes, it is safe to get pregnant after bariatric surgery, but we advise that patients wait between 12 and 18 months post-op before planning to have a child. Patients who are currently pregnant do not qualify for bariatric surgery. We recommend consulting your doctor if you plan on getting pregnant after bariatric surgery.
I’ve never been able to get pregnant anyway, so I won’t need to worry about avoiding pregnancy after surgery, will I?
This isn’t necessarily true, as severe obesity can affect fertility. Losing a lot of excess weight may change your hormone levels to such a degree that fertility is possible. However, we recommend seeing a specialist for matters related to pregnancy and fertility.