Pre Surgery FAQ's
For Bariatric procedures, WWLS only operate on patients with Private Health insurance.
You will need to have Gold cover Private Health Insurance for 12 months pre surgery.
If you are not currently insured, you can still start the process with Dr Freeman as you can take the 12 month waiting period time to prepare for surgery.
It is not compulsory to have a referral when meeting with Dr Freeman for the first time however, having a referral means you will get a portion of the consultation cost back from Medicare.
If you don’t have a regular GP, get in contact with us and we can give you the details of our bariatric specific GP who can assist.
Bariatric surgery is currently considered by the Australian government as an important choice when managing overall health and well-being in the overweight population. It is therefore covered under the Medicare rebate scheme.
This means that most of the cost of surgery and aftercare is covered by a combination of your insurance company and Medicare. The exact amount, however, varies between insurers and there is usually an out-of-pocket cost associated with surgery.
Please feel free to make an appointment to discuss exact numbers as related to your specific situation.
Your health and overall fitness for surgery will be assessed before deciding on surgery.
This will include blood tests and a gastroscopy for almost all patients. If you have had a gastroscopy for other reasons done within 12 months of your appointment you may not need another one.
A bariatric physician may also review you, especially if you have significant pre-existing health conditions.
All patients will have pre-operative dietary assessment and education by one of our specialist dietitians.
We also encourage you to engage with our psychologist prior to surgery.
Smoking increases the risk of a surgical complication by over 10 times and therefore must be avoided.
When you come in for your initial consultation, Dr Freeman will discuss with you the importance of quitting smoking and how you can achieve this in the lead up to your operation.
Unfortunately, if you are still smoking, we are unable to operate as it is a high risk to your health. Additionally, in the long term if gastric bypass patients smoke there is a real risk of causing gastric ulcers.
The time between initial consultation and surgery varies depending on a patient’s particular health situation and concerns.
We have an average investigation and assessment period of 3 months but this, again, will be tailored to your specific needs.
Yes. It is widely recognised that obesity and the range of medical problems associated with it can reduce a person’s life expectancy, and that weight loss surgery is not yet readily available in the public hospital system.
Therefore, the Australian government allows early access to your, or another family member’s, superannuation to cover the costs involved in bariatric surgery.
The application for early super release is processed by the ATO. You will need to fill out an application form and forward the specialist surgeon section to our rooms for completion post initial consultation.
The processing time by the ATO generally takes around 2-4 weeks and allow a further 4-6 weeks for your superannuation fund to release the funds to your personal bank account.
While each surgery is specific to the type and patient, most take somewhere between 1 and 3 hours.
They are generally done by a keyhole approach and specialist anaesthetic staff ensure the patient is comfortable throughout.
Most people stay in hospital for 2 nights and are free to walk around and shower during that time.
Most patients are surprised by how comfortable they are post-operatively.
Pain and nausea are usually controlled with a combination of medications both in tablet form and through a drip.
They are monitored closely by our specialised nurses and physicians to ensure a supported and safe experience.
Everyone’s stomach is different.
When fasting before surgery the stomach collapses to a shrunken state, a little like letting all the air out of a balloon.
Rather than worrying about how much is removed, we make sure that a standard-sized, safe, narrow tube of stomach is left behind.
Yes, it is ok.
We understand that a person’s weight journey is complicated by many bumps along the road.
If you are assessed as eligible for surgery at your first consultation you will not be penalized for any weight changes afterwards.
Of course there are specific consideration to take into account that must be discussed with the team but as a general rule, we are here for you, no matter your size.
Your safety is our number one priority.
Our specialised multidisciplinary team, including the surgeon, anaesthetist and physician will work together to ensure all tests and preparations are made to avoid undue risks on the day of surgery.
We tailor our approach to your individual needs to ensure all procedures are as safe as possible.
We are an all-female specialist team, but we operate on both men and women.
Yes. Dr Freeman is a qualified general and upper gastrointestinal surgeon.
She often performs surgery for gallbladders, hernias, and hiatus hernia/reflux.
She also does emergency surgery addressing acute pathologies like appendicitis, abscesses, and bowel obstructions.
Please speak to our team if you have a particular concern that you would like addressed.
Post Operative FAQ's
Yes. All patients must commit to taking a multivitamin for the rest of their lives after any form of weight loss surgery.
Patients will also often take anti-acid and anti-nausea medication for a short period after surgery.
This will be stopped when no longer required.
The short answer is yes.
You are more likely to fall pregnant and maintain a healthier weight after pregnancy with even a small amount of weight loss.
It is however important to note that immediately after surgery, during the rapid weight loss period, your body will be in a period of starvation, and it is not advisable to fall pregnant during this time.
Although the foetus has priority over the mother in absorbing nutrients, we generally advise waiting until your weight has stabilized before becoming pregnant. This will usually take 12-24 months to occur.
However, if you do fall pregnant during the period of starvation, our dieticians will work closely with you to ensure the safety of both you and your child.
For more information about pregnancy and bariatric surgery, click on the link to the podcast episode below of pregnant: the podcast about getting pregnant – which features an interview with Dr Lara Freeman discussing the relationship between bariatric surgery and pregnancy.
We would normally expect you to return to work after 2 weeks.
It generally takes about 3-4 weeks to get back to normal activities.
You should avoid heavy lifting for 6 weeks.
A degree of fatigue is normal after surgery, and it takes time to adjust to changes in your drinking and eating.
Where possible we encourage you to take at least two weeks off work.
For jobs which require a lot of exertion or heavy lifting, your surgeon will advise you when you can return to light duties and then full duties.
Gentle, frequent movement is highly encouraged as soon as possible, and is one of the best things you can do to help your recovery.
Strength and weights-based training should be commenced once you get the all-clear from your surgeon, this is usually around 4-6 weeks after surgery.
Yes, especially after sleeve and bypass surgery, this can last for 4-6 weeks post-surgery.
Losing weight quickly can contribute to fatigue. Taking your recommended nutritional supplements can help.
If you are unsure if your experience is normal, please speak to our nurses.
There are a lot of reasons why people may notice a slowing down in their bowel habit initially following weight loss surgery.
The pre op diet, the general anaesthesia, strong pain-relieving medications, not drinking enough fluid and decreased physical activity can all contribute to sluggish bowels.
If you do experience constipation our nurses will help you navigate this.
Following the initial postoperative period, bowel actions should be regular and comfortable to pass.
You may experience some unwanted changes to your body after surgery, such as scarring or loose skin.
Your scars can be various sizes or shapes, depending on the type of surgery you have.
Most patients who have bariatric surgery experience loose skin as they lose weight. For some, this may be temporary.
The amount of loose skin depends on many factors, including how much weight you lose, your genetics, age, smoking history, and whether you exercise.
Clothing or compression garments can often hide loose skin. But, if the extra skin bothers you, discuss options with your healthcare team to see if plastic surgery may be an option for you.
Hair loss can be a temporary issue for 30-50% of patients.
Gallstones occur in approximately 30- 40% of patients.
It is important to remember that surgery should be seen as an aid for weight loss, not a replacement for diet and lifestyle modification.
It is vital that eating behaviours are modified to get the best result from the procedure. It is also important to ensure a healthy diet, limiting caloric intake and to slow the speed of eating.
If eating behaviours are not adapted after surgery, weight loss will be limited, or weight regain can be possible in the future.
More detailed information about eating behaviours will be covered during your visit with the dietitian and psychologist.
It’s actually rare for a person to become extremely malnourished after weight loss surgery.
It is more common for women in general to be low in certain nutrients, like vitamin D and iron, and this can be made worse when consuming less.
Regular blood tests and lifelong multivitamin use are essential components of any bariatric surgery journey.
Enjoy eating out with friends? Attending family celebrations? Consuming alcohol on special occasions? These things are still very much part of life after weight loss surgery.
Our dedicated, specialist dietitian provides clear instructions and support to aid in the transition back to normal life at the right time for you.
It is generally recommended that you wait until your weight loss has plateaued before having any cosmetic surgery. This is because, to get the best results, we want your body to have stopped changing.
This usually takes 1.5-2 years but potentially longer if you are panning any pregnancies.
It is common to have questions or doubts.
We always encourage you to contact us at any stage to clarify concerns.
The team will take time to explain your options for treatment and the team will outline the logistics of diet, hospital stay and costs.
We strive to equip you with all the information you need to make informed decisions about managing your health.