Weight Loss Surgery FAQ

Is Dr. Bonnor Board Certified? How many procedures has he performed lifetime?

Dr. Bonnor is a double board-certified surgeon with specialized training in weight loss surgery and cosmetic surgery. Dr. Bonnor has been in practice for over 10 years and performed over 5,000 procedures. Dr. Bonnor offers the latest technique in weight loss procedures including robotic assisted surgery which has been shown to improve recovery and decrease post-operative pain. 

Will my insurance cover the procedure?

Since everyone’s insurance policy is different, it’s not a simple answer. Our patient coordinators work hand in hand with you and your insurance to determine your benefits and if your procedure is covered. 

If my insurance policy covers a portion of the surgery, what is the typical criteria for coverage?

Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of greater than 40, or a BMI of >35 accompanied by other issues related to health (co-morbidity). These co-morbidities include diabetes, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol, triglycerides). Have a stable psychological status with adequate social support system to help you through the course of surgery and the postoperative period.

Can I find out if my insurance covers bariatric surgery before I come in for an appointment?

YES!  We encourage all patients to call their insurance ahead of their appointment and verify if bariatric surgery is a covered benefit.

What if I don’t meet criteria but I feel that I will benefit from a surgical weight loss procedure?

Unfortunately, some outlets may have created a misconception that weight loss surgery is only for morbidly obese patients and this is just not the case. If you don’t feel that you look your best, we are here to help you achieve your goal.   

Can I use Out of Network benefits (OON)?

When checking your insurance eligibility for surgery, we look at all including using your Out of Network benefits. Depending on each individuals plan, this option may be the best for you!

If my insurance policy will not cover weight loss surgery, can I pay for surgery myself? 

Yes! We offer financing options for patients who would like to finance or pay out of pocket. 

What financing options do you offer for surgery?

 To help you achieve your weight loss goal, we have partnered with two reputable lending institutions such as Care Credit and Lending ClubApply today to start looking, feeling, and being your best.  If approved, you can have your surgery in as little as 10 days!

Will bariatric surgery last? What can I expect in terms of weight loss?  

Many patients (up to 50%) may regain a small amount of weight (approximately 5 percent) two years or more following their surgery.  We have information supporting the durability of gastric bypass surgery up to 15 years.  Also, sleeve gastrectomy patients are able to maintain weight loss at 5 or more years after surgery.

How soon can I have surgery after my first visit? What about follow up after surgery?

For patients with insurance coverage then your surgery will take place 3 to 7 months from initial appointment.  This variance is related to the requirements as mandated by the insurance policy. If you are paying out of pocket or financing your surgery that timeline is shortened significantly and depending on your medical condition could have surgery three weeks from initial consultation.

Is there a preparation diet prior to surgery?

Following a liquid protein diet 14 days before your surgery is highly important, because it significantly helps to reduce complications during your procedure. The purpose of the diet is to reduce the size of your liver, which makes it much easier to perform surgery on your stomach.

Are there any medications I should avoid before the sleeve gastrectomy?

Medications which could change your ability to clot, including: NSAIDS such as Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin as well as Aspirin, Warfarin, and Plavix. All steroids prevent healing and must be avoided. Any medications that can lead to blood clots, such as hormones and birth control, must be avoided as well.  

Do I need to stop smoking before surgery?

Yes! We care about you and smoking can increase your complication rates on most procedures including weight loss surgery. The complication includes: soft tissue infection, blood clots, pulmonary complications such pneumonia and poor wound healing. We will require you to stop smoking at least 6 weeks before surgery.

How bad is the pain after surgery?

Most patients just need to take oral pain medications for a few days after surgery and some just over the counter Tylenol. The majority of our patients felt that pain was not a major issue during their recovery.

What facility is the surgery performed?

Sometimes your insurance will dictate where a patient will have the procedure. The current facilities where Dr Bonnor performs weight loss surgery include: Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital, First Street Hospital and Methodist West Hospital.

What are the Risks Associated with weight loss Surgery?

Bariatric generally carries a low complication rate. However, all bariatric operations regardless of the type carry some general which include: chronic nausea and vomiting, inability to eat certain food, infection, weight gain or failure to lose weight, excessive bleeding, blood clots, lung or breathing problems, leaks in your gastrointestinal system, complications leading to a prolonged hospital stay. Dr. Bonnor will discuss procedure specific complications that may occur in the long term.

How long is the procedure and hospital stay/recovery?

The average surgical time for a sleeve gastrectomy is about 1hour and for revisions it varies depending on the type of revision surgery.  Almost all of our patients can walk a few hours after surgery and start liquid diet the day after surgery. The majority (more than 80 percent) of patients stay in the hospital for one night.

When can I go back to work after surgery?

Most patients return to work after four to five post-surgery. Some may be able to work from home as early as 3 to 4 days after surgery. Because of the significantly reduced calorie intake, many patients have low energy for 1-2 weeks after surgery. However, patients gain their energy back once they start to have puree.

How soon can I resume sexual activity?

Just as soon as you no longer feel pain. Once the pain has passed it means that your stomach has healed, and sexual activity is then perfectly safe.

Will I lose hair after bariatric surgery?

For the reasons we still don’t fully understand, hair loss after bariatric surgery is common between 3 and 6 months following surgery. However, hair loss is almost always temporary. Adequate intake of protein, vitamins, biotin and minerals will help to ensure hair re-growth, and avoid longer term thinning.

Do I need to take vitamins and minerals after surgery?  

You will need to take a multivitamin for life. You may need higher doses of certain vitamins or minerals, especially Iron, Calcium, and Vitamin D (depending on your surgery type). You will also need to have at least yearly lab checks.

When can I start exercising again after surgery?

 The key is to start slow and listen to your body. If you lift weights or do sports, stay “low impact” for the first month. If you experience pain or discomfort, stop and relax. Avoid lifting heavy objects for the first 6 weeks. You can start swimming after two weeks.

What about cosmetic surgery for redundant skin? When is that appropriate?

After losing most of the excess weight, most patients may have some loose or sagging skin.  For many patients, this might be just temporary. The degree of loose or sagging skin depends upon several things, including how much weight you lost, your age, your genetics and whether or not you exercise or smoke. Generally, many patients can hide loose skin by clothing or compression garments. We generally recommend waiting for at least one year before scheduling your cosmetic surgery procedure with Dr. Bonnor. 

Women generally have significantly increased fertility after weight loss surgery. Birth control pills typically do not work as well in heavy patients and during the time of rapid weight loss. We strongly recommend all child bearing age women to use other ways of contraception after bariatric surgery. We recommend waiting 14 to 18 months after weight loss surgery before getting pregnant. After losing most of the excess weight, there is much less risk of having problems during pregnancy (gestational diabetes, eclampsia, macrosomia) and during childbirth. There is also decreased risk of having miscarriages and stillbirths. Bariatric surgery also reduces the chance of needing a C-section.