Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why would I consider bariatric surgery?

A: Obesity has physical, psychological and social consequences; it is not a simple cosmetic concern. The health consequences of obesity include heart disease, diabetes, several types of cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and respiratory problems, musculoskeletal diseases, etc. Many of these conditions are commonly improved or resolved within the first six months after bariatric surgery.

Q: Who is eligible for weight loss surgery?

A: Physicians at the Weight Loss Center ensure that every patient undergoes a thorough screening process using multiple assessments to determine if you are an appropriate surgical candidate. Minimum criteria are: your Body Mass Index (BMI, which is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared) is above 40, or above 35 with at least 2 obesity-related conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, and traditional weight loss methods have failed. For those not eligible for weight loss surgery, the Weight Loss Center offers a Weight Management Program that can medically treat obesity to help you lose weight and reach your desired weight.

Q: What are my surgical options?

A: The bariatric surgeries offered by the surgeons at the Cedars-Sinai Weight Loss Center include Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, and Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band (both LapBand® and Realize) and Sleeve Gastrectomy. To learn more about each of these surgeries, click here.

Q: What is the recovery time following weight loss surgery?

A: Most patients recover from bariatric surgery procedure without complications. You can expect to stay in the hospital from 1-3 days, in general, and depending on which procedure you have. Most people return to work two to three weeks after surgery.

Q: What are the risks of bariatric surgery?

A: Every surgical procedure, from a skin biopsy to a knee replacement, involves risk. Therefore, the decision to have weight loss surgery needs to be evaluated against your overall risk. Generally, the risks of remaining morbidly obese greatly outweigh the risks of weight loss surgery. Also, surgeons with more experience tend to have fewer complications.

Q: How much weight can I expect to lose after surgery, and how quickly?

A: Weight loss after surgery varies, depending on your age, your weight before surgery, your level of physical activity, your change in diet, and the type of weight loss surgery you have. Multiple studies show excess weight loss at twelve months after surgery for the gastric bypass averages between 51 and 76%, and between 31 and 54% for the adjustable gastric band.1 Weight management programs offered by the Weight Loss Center can help you further reduce your weight to towards your ideal weight.

Q: What is EWL?

A: EWL is an acronym which stands for Excess Weight Loss. Your excess weight is determined by the amount of weight over your "ideal weight".

Q: When is weight loss surgery considered successful?

A: Weight loss surgery is considered successful when a person loses 50 percent of his or her excess weight. Although few people lose all of their excess weight, most lose a substantial amount of their excess weight and they do gain numerous health benefits, which may be lifesaving. It's important to remember that there are no guarantees with any method of weight loss, even surgical procedures. Success hinges on your ability to become part of the plan to support the surgical tool you've chosen and make lifestyle changes with exercise and dietary adjustments.

Q: Is it possible to gain the weight back after a bariatric surgery procedure?

A: While the majority of people successfully lose significant amounts of weight, and maintain much of this weight loss for many years after surgery, it is possible to re-gain some or all of the lost weight. If you are committed to making permanent dietary and lifestyle changes, your chance of weight re-gain is minimized. A thorough understanding of, and commitment to, the lifestyle changes necessary to achieve and sustain substantial weight loss, will help prevent significant weight gain.

Q: Why should I consider having bariatric surgery at the Cedars-Sinai Weight Loss Center?

A: The entire multidisciplinary team at the Weight Loss Center has extensive experience and prides itself on staying at the forefront of surgical and medical treatments for obesity. The surgeons at the Weight Loss Center are board certified by the American College of Surgeons and are members of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Our registered dietitians have more than 10 years of experience in assessing patients' readiness for surgery. Our mental health professional have been working in the area of eating disorders and obesity for more than 15 years. The Weight Loss Center performs more than 40 surgical procedures a month.

1Tice JA et al., "Gastric Banding or Bypass: A Systematic Review Comparing the Two Most Popular Bariatric Procedures,", Am J of Med, 2008 (121):885-893