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Common Questions about Weight Loss Surgery


Who is a candidate for weight loss surgery?

Weight loss surgery is considered major surgery and is not for everyone.

Candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Between 18 and 72 years of age
  • At least 100 pounds over his / her ideal weight
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or over, if suffering from other health problems caused or worsened by weight
  • BMI of 40 or higher without additional health concerns

Weight loss surgery is a permanent procedure that requires significant lifestyle changes.
All patients are required to complete a psychological evaluation before surgery is scheduled. Conemaugh's Weight Management team includes a licensed psychologist who is available to provide ongoing counseling and support services. 


Will insurance cover the surgery and follow-up care?

Insurance coverage varies. Before a patient meets with Conemaugh's Weight Management team, he or she should contact a health plan representative to determine level of coverage for surgery.


Are there risks involved with this procedure?

Weight loss surgery is a safe and effective long-term weight management option for those with severe weight problems.
It has been endorsed by a consensus panel of the National Institutes of Health and the American College of Surgeons.

Some risks include:

  • Infection
  • Breathing problems
  • Bleeding or leaks at the incision site
  • Blood clot in the legs or lungs
  • Damage to other organs
  • Problems related to anesthesia
  • Death

Conemaugh Physician Group - Surgery surgeons are trained and experienced in bariatric surgery.


Will weight be gained again after surgery?

Regaining weight is possible after weight loss surgery, and a small amount of gain is likely. After about 18 months to two years, a patient's body and hormones will adjust to the changes made during surgery. A patient may feel hungry again and be able to eat most foods. However, by this time a patient has also achieved an active lifestyle that incorporates frequent exercise and awareness of eating smaller amounts of nutrient-dense foods. 

Yearly follow up visits with the Weight Management team is essential for long term maintenance of weight loss. Even if some weight is gained, many of the conditions related to obesity will not reoccur at the same severity as prior to surgery.


Are there any side effects from the surgery?

Side effects vary by patient, but all weight management patients make lifestyle changes to adjust to assist in the weight loss process. Patients typically take additional vitamins and mineral supplements to replace nutrients the body is no longer absorbing through food. Staying hydrated is also important. 

Loose folds of skin are a common occurrence after surgery, as patients being to lose a large amount of weight. Conemaugh Physician Group - Plastic Surgery offers cosmetic and reconstructive surgery options to remove excess skin after weight loss. However, this may not be covered by health insurance. Patients are encouraged to check with his or her healthcare insurance provider for questions about coverage.