UF Health Bariatric Surgery Center: FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact Gwen Crispell, MSN, RN, CBN, UF Health bariatric nurse coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 265-0111 x29634.
I have completed all my tests and labs, when will I know my surgery date?
30-45 days may pass before you will know your actual surgery date. During this time, procedure and lab results are being reviewed by your bariatric team. Approval from your insurance is actively being perused by our schedule coordinators. Documentation to cover bariatric surgery (if required by your insurance) is your responsibility to obtain. We will contact you for any concerns and when you have been approved. Please be patient and keep working towards your weight loss goals.
Why do I have to stop smoking?
Smoking leads to complications during and after surgery. We want you to be successful with your decision to have weight loss surgery and eliminate any unhealthy habits that would not lead to improving your health and lifestyle.
Will I lose my hair? Can I prevent hair loss?
Hair thinning can occur due to nutrient changes in your body. Meeting your protein goal, vitamins and mineral supplements each day can help. Hair loss is usually noted three months after surgery and after seven months regrowth begins. Not everyone has hair loss and for those who do, it is temporary.
When can I go home after surgery?
Usually patients stay three days and two nights in the hospital. You will not be discharged until your medical team is comfortable that you can tolerate small sips of water and protein supplement. Do NOT force this process; we want to discharge you home so you can be successful with your new knowledge and habits from your decision to have weight loss surgery.
Is it normal to feel full and food is “stuck”?
Yes, immediately after surgery you will have a different feeling. During surgery, you were intubated (breathing tube placed down your windpipe) and sometimes after surgery you will feel a sore or have a hoarse throat-this should resolve. If you have ANY breathing difficulty, notify your medical team immediately or call 911 if you are at home.
Remember, your surgery affects how food travels in your digestive system and your satiety (feeling of feeling full). You are going to feel different. Time, patience and knowledge will help you be successful and healthy.
What do I eat after week 8?
You may begin “regular” foods ONLY if you can tolerate foods in the previous stages.
You are required to meet with our dietician two weeks after your surgery to ensure you are meeting your individual nutritional goals. Do NOT skip this appointment and please call if an emergency prevents you from making your appointment. Take care of yourself!
This is the time when you need to start making notes of how your new digestive system tolerates food and create new eating habits that will lead to successful goals you set. Remember; make it a part of your new lifestyle to have three meals and three snacks with the foods recommended by our dietitian.
You will find some food may never be tolerated or not until later in your post weight-loss surgery journey. Do not give up. You can do it! Eat slow and chew thoroughly! Please call and ask to speak to our dietitian or bariatric coordinator if you want more assistance with your new eating habits. Attending weight loss support groups will help your through your new lifestyle and eating habits.
How often do I need to see a doctor after surgery?
You will have a schedule of appointments for the first year with doctors (both your primary and our bariatric surgeon), and physician assistant. Your post-surgery appointments should be at two weeks and three, six, and twelve months and then yearly. Our schedule coordinators (Kathy Rodriquez or Stephanie Stevens) provided you with a form listing your scheduled appointment dates. The appointments can be virtual or in person at UF Health Surgical Specialists – Shands Hospital, 1st floor.
How often do I need to see the dietitian?
You are scheduled to see our dietician minimally two times before surgery and again after surgery at two weeks and then at three, six and twelve month intervals. Some of the appointments are in the main hospital, UF Health Shands Hospital, 1st floor (Room G171) and some will be at UF Health Surgical Specialists – Shands Hospital, 1st floor. Please be advised: following up with appointments is the key to your success. If you have concerns that would prevent you from making your appointments, please share them with our bariatric coordinator.
How often should I weigh myself?
Patients who are most successful after weight loss surgery make it a habit to weigh themselves regularly. This is another habit that commits you to being accountable and responsible for your success. How often is regularly? Once a week is reasonable. Use the same scale, same time of day upon waking and after using the bathroom, wearing the same clothes (or none). Keep a log of your weight. An extra pound/kilogram each month can add up to gaining back weight that becomes too overwhelming to lose again. Stay on top of your success. Checking your weight more than once a week can be too excessive.
What should I do about the medications I was taking before surgery? Should I continue taking all of them?
First and foremost, it is your responsibility to ensure your primary or prescribing doctor (s) are aware that your medications may need to be adjusted after your surgery. Do NOT just stop taking medications after your surgery. Plan ahead, contact your primary doctor and discuss if your medication prescriptions need to be changed, especially diabetes and blood pressure medication.
Medications should be in chewable or liquid form for two months after surgery. Time-release medications are NOT recommended. Contact your prescribing doctor(s) prior to surgery. Do not wait until the last day or after surgery.
How many pills can I take at once?
If the medication cannot be converted to chewable or liquid you can take one pill every 10 minutes if ordered by your physician. NEVER take a handful of pills as this can lead to a blockage. We suggest the pill be no bigger than the head of a push pin tack and smaller than a regular M&M candy.
When can I begin engaging in physical activity?
Physical activity should be similar to eating, creating a new habit in your new lifestyle. Begin walking as soon as possible, this may even be four to six hours after surgery once the anesthesia has worn off. The first week you may be limited by fatigue and mild pain. Walk around the house or in a mall with air conditioning and areas to sit and rest. Your discharge instructions recommend no heavy lifting greater than 10-15 pounds. When you return for your two week post-surgery appointment, usually you will be cleared to return to work and can begin physical activity (going to the gym, swimming, stationary bike etc.).
Your recommended, long-term physical activity goal will be 30 minutes or three, ten minute sessions each day. Get your body moving…A body in motion, stays in motion.
I do not like to physical activity. Will this affect my weight loss after I have the surgery?
Yes! Not engaging in physical activity affects the simple equation of calories in and calories out. Regular physical activity is another habit you need to develop for yourself after committing to weight loss surgery. Find physical activities you enjoy and can also do by yourself prior to having the surgery. There are numerous free smartphone apps that can help you, or you can join a gym (UF Health has a wellness center). It’s up to you for you!
When can I go back to work?
Your discharge instructions recommend no heavy lifting greater than 10-15 pounds for three weeks. When you return for your two-week follow-up appointment after surgery, your ability to return to work will be addressed. Depending on your type of work, you may be cleared after two weeks.
Where do I buy vitamin and mineral supplements?
Where you buy them is your choice. Some patients choose online options and others go to a local drug store, health food store, vitamin specialty shop or supermarket. If you have questions about the multiple choices of brands, ask our registered dietitian, bariatric coordinator or your pharmacist for their knowledge of the product. Purchase your vitamins and supplements prior to your surgery so they will be available when you get home. You will need to take these for the rest of your life, every day, to avoid serious nutrient deficiencies. We recommend bariatric specific supplements with ongoing follow-up appointments and lab work.
The vitamins and mineral you need to take every day
- Multivitamin with Iron
- Calcium Citrate with Vitamin D (take 2 hours apart from Iron)*
- Vitamin B12 (if sublingual)
*Calcium must say calcium CITRATE not carbonate or phosphate.
What's important after bariatric surgery?
- No smoking- if you had to quit for the surgery, keep at it!
- Follow-up with a doctor yearly.
- Have the following labs checked by a health care provider annually: CBC, CMP, Lipids, TSH, HA1C, Iron TIBC, Ferritin ,Vitamin D (25 hydroxy), and B12.
- Make physical activity a regular part of your life.
- Enjoy your journey in your new body!