Gastric Bypass Information

QUESTION: Can you provide me with gastric bypass information from someone who has experienced the procedure?

ANSWER:

I underwent Gastric bypass surgery in December of 2004. For me it was a wonderful life changing experience that literally gave me a second chance for life. For those of you considering this option, here is some information to help you decide what course of action you should follow.

Time:
The entire process, from the moment I was told that gastric bypass was the option for me, took six months from start to finish. Be prepared however for it to take much longer depending on your insurance company. Some insurance companies require as much as two years of doctor supervised diet and exercise before this is even considered an option, so speak with your doctor, and find out if this is the right option for you.

Cost:
This surgery costs roughly 24 thousand dollars for the open option and 35 thousand for the laparoscopic option. I was blessed to have an insurance company which covered most of the cost but be prepared - even if this is the case for you there will be a few procedures that your insurance company will not cover. I was required, by my surgeon, to have a psychological examination which cost me $200.00 out of pocket. There was also one test not covered that cost me $100.00 out of pocket.

Surgery: (This is my experience. Consult your doctor for your individual instructions.)
  • Two weeks prior to surgery I was asked to begin altering my diet until I was on nothing but clear liquids in order to cleanse my body.
  • One day prior to surgery, I was asked to take a medication to cleanse my body, after which my intake was limited to clear liquids only.
  • The morning of my surgery I reported early so that I could be prepped and evaluated. They gave me heparin and an IV. (The actual surgery will take between 45 minutes and two hours depending on your surgeon and the type of surgery you undergo.)
  • I was taken to a recovery room where I was monitored until I woke up.
  • I was then taken to a room where the staff talked to me about how the surgery went and what would be required of me.
  • I was asked to get up and walk within two hours to make sure that my intestinal health was maintained.
  • That evening, I received my first meal which consisted of two ounces -- one of Jell-O another of juice. (Follow the accompanying instructions that come with your meal.)
  • I was released from the hospital once my surgeon was happy with my progress and I was given a strict diet and exercise regime to follow until I saw him again in two weeks.
Recuperation time:
I was advised to take 4 to 6 weeks off from work after surgery, do certain exercises and to walk every day, but normal activity was suspended. I was restricted to lifting no more than 10 pounds until after my two month check up. This is an abdominal surgery, and it is requires a long recovery, but with a good attitude and hard work it can be a good one. (For those of you who have undergone a c-section, it is very similar as far as recovery goes.)

This surgery can quite literally give you a new beginning, and it is imperative that you look at it in this way. Your attitude will aid you in your recovery and in the way your life changes afterward. My doctor told me that my attitude would dictate whether I was a sick person or someone on the way to becoming well. He was right!

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