FAQ: Weight Loss Surgery (Gastric Sleeve Surgery)

FAQ: Weight Loss Surgery (Gastric Sleeve Surgery)

Our surgeons understand how difficult weight loss can be, as well as how hard some people struggle to keep the weight off. This may be because of biology, behavior, environment or other underlying health issues.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 40% of Americans are obese, increasing their risk of obese-related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. However, our surgeons can help!


Wiregrass Surgical partners with Flowers Hospital Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery to help patients determine if they are a candidate and navigate the process from insurance approval, to surgery and daily life afterwards.


In this blog post we want to discuss the basic information about weight loss surgery and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this life changing procedure…


What is weight loss surgery?


Weight loss surgery is known as bariatric and metabolic surgery because of the impact it has on a person’s weight and health of their metabolism (or the breakdown of food into energy). There are various surgical procedures, but all of them help you lose weight by limiting the amount you can eat. They change the shape and function of the digestive system to help you lose weight and treat medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, etc. They help you enjoy a better quality of life and live longer to do it!


In the U.S.,the most common weight-loss surgery is a sleeve gastrectomy which is what our surgeons are highly qualified and experts at performing. 


What is a sleeve gastrectomy?


In this procedure the surgeon removes about 80% of the stomach with surgical staplers and creates a tubelike sleeve. The new stomach holds less food and liquid, reducing the amount of food and calories that can be consumed. By removing the portion of the stomach that produces most of the “hunger cues,” a patient will experience decreasing hunger, increasing fullness and the positive effects on the body’s metabolism which will help the body to reach and maintain a healthy weight. It is a simple procedure with little complications because it does not affect the small intestine.



  • Technically simple and short surgery
  • Can be performed on patients with high risk medical conditions
  • Usually the first step for patients with severe obesity
  • Can be used as a bridge to gastric bypass or SADI-S procedures
  • Effective for weight loss and weight management


What are the medical guidelines that qualify you for surgery?


General medical guidelines for weight-loss surgery are based on body mass index (BMI) which is determined based on a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. You may be a candidate for weight-loss surgery if you are an adult with a BMI of 40 and higher. 


You can also qualify if you meet three of these conditions:

  1. BMI of 35 or higher
  2. You have at least one obesity-related medical condition
  3. At least six months of recorded weight-loss attempts


Other qualifications include:

  • Between the ages of 18-65
  • You have tried or are currently trying to lose weight through diet, exercise and behavioral changes with only short-term success
  • No more than 100 pounds over your ideal body weight
  • Are not drug or alcohol dependent 
  • Are psychologically ready for weight loss surgery and willing to commit to a new lifestyle

What does the process or roadmap to surgery look like?

The process of getting approval from your insurance, or deciding to do the surgery is not quite as easy as picking up the phone to schedule an appointment with the surgeon to book your date.

However, the team at Wiregrass Surgical and Flowers Hospital Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery can help you navigate the process. The program is the only weight loss program in the Wiregrass and includes a specially trained team of professionals who will work closely with you every step of the way to help you enjoy life-changing success. 

Here are the 7 steps in the program:

Step 1. Attend the free seminar. This informational session will help you understand what to expect during the weight loss surgery process, learn more about the procedure and what results you can expect after surgery as well as lifestyle changes you will need to make to ensure lasting weight loss. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and get feedback from our team. You will also hear from the surgeons and sign up for a screening to ensure you meet the basic requirements for surgery and gather information about your medical history. To sign up for this seminar call us, or register online and a team member will follow up with you about upcoming seminar times. 

Step 2. Qualify for insurance coverage. Call your insurance or work with our team to help you meet insurance qualifications. Criteria for coverage varies based on your insurance. For those interested in private-pay and self-pay options, you can save on bariatric surgery at Flowers Hospital through MDSave.com. Our team can help you develop a financial plan that’s right for you as well as explore financing options such as third-party options for affordable financing.

Step 3. Meet with your surgeon. Dr. Fendley, Dr. Marker and Dr. Cannon can all help evaluate your condition, answer your questions and get you set up for surgery.

Step 4. Follow a pre-surgical plan. Before surgery, a pre-surgical plan will be designed specifically for you. This may take several months and can include things like exercise and diet recommendations, or weight loss requirements pre-surgery. Most insurance companies require that you complete certain steps prior to surgery. Our team will help gather this information and verify the completion of these steps. 

Step 5. Education. Knowing and understanding the surgery, as well as how it impacts your nutrition and health moving forward is an important part of preparing for a sleeve gastrectomy. Our educational program provides classes covering this important information.

Step 6. Surgery. The actual surgery itself takes on average two hours, but some patients’ procedures may take longer. The average post-surgical hospital stay is 1-2 days and most patients can return to work within 10-14 days. Additional restrictions may apply, but your surgeon can provide personal guidance on this.

Step 7. Follow up care. A few days post surgery our team will work closely with you  to keep your physical recovery on track. You’ll have frequent visits with the team to help you safely manage the weight loss. The Center will provide services including medical assessments and monitoring, nutritional guidance and meal planning, behavior modification counseling and more. You will have access to a support group that offers ongoing encouragement and education to all of our bariatric surgery patients. 

Weight loss surgery is not a quick fix, but it remains the most effective sustained weight loss option for patients with class II or III obesity. 

Our bariatric surgeons specialize in minimally invasive techniques including robotic-assisted technology, which gives patients smaller incisions and quicker recoveries.

If you’re considering weight-loss surgery, call our office today or fill out this form for more information. 

Our team of specialists and bariatric surgeons can help you decide if weight-loss surgery is an option for you.

Learn more about bariatric surgery.

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