Bariatric Surgical Program: Frequently Asked Questions
Is bariatric surgery right for everyone?
No, bariatric surgery is not right for everyone. Bariatric surgery is life-changing and requires life-long commitment to making and adhering to lifestyle changes for success after surgery.
Am I eligible for bariatric surgery?
To be eligible for bariatric surgery, you must:
- Be a resident of Saskatchewan with an active Saskatchewan health card;
- Be over the age of 18;
- Must be a non-smoker at the time of referral (this includes vaping and maijuana);
- No active substance abuse;
- Cannot be pregnant or become pregnant while in the program;
- Have a BMI between 40 and 70. A BMI between 35 and 40 may be considered for treatment at the program, particularly if you have one or more medical conditions which are being managed such as cardiopulmonary problems, sleep apnea, diabetes mellitus, and high blood pressure;
- Previous weight loss attempts;
- Be motivated and be willing to make eating and lifestyle changes;
- Commit to all aspects of the program; and
- Be psychologically and medically fit for surgery.
How can I make sure my referral was received?
All patients will receive a letter confirming their referral was received. If you have further questions, please call our main number at 306-766-0398.
Do I have to lose weight in the program?
Weight loss is a positive side effect of a healthier lifestyle, changing habits and behaviors. Depending on your BMI, you may be required to lose weight. Please note you will not be discontinued from the program for losing too much weight.
What happens if I can’t make my appointments?
Please call the clinic as soon as you are aware as appointment times are limited. Two missed appointments or two cancellations within less than 24 hours will result in dismissal from the program. Also, please note if you are more than 15 minutes late for your appointment or class you will be re-scheduled to a later date.
What if I have a major life event while in the program? Can I stop without having to go back on the waitlist?
Yes, we recognize sometimes things happen which may require you to temporarily pause your program. We give you the ability to place yourself on hold one time during the program for up to a maximum of 6 months.
I have to travel a long distance, is there another option?
There are a minimum of twelve appointments and classes to attend while in the program. For classes and the Registered Nurse visit, Telehealth and WebEx may be an option, howevere, there are certain appointments which must take place in person.
What are the risks of bariatric surgery?
Any surgery has risks. Risks will be discussed throughout the program and when you meet with the surgeon.
Will I still be able to take my medications after surgery?
All medications are reviewed at your first appointment. Some may need to be changed or adjusted prior to surgery. Medications are then reviewed after surgery before you are discharged from hospital.
Is the surgery reversible?
No, the surgery is not reversible.
Do I need any specific tests done?
Blood work is completed prior to your initial visit, before surgery, and then at the three months, six months, and one year after surgery. In addition to this, you may need a sleep study or any other tests deemed necessary by your physician.
How long will I be in the hospital?
Typically, you will spend three nights in hospital. You should plan to have someone drive you home the day you are discharged from hospital.
When can I return to work?
Typically, you can return to work six weeks after surgery.
Is there a cost for the surgery?
Both Roux en Y Gastric Bypass and Sleeve Gastrectomy procedures performed in the Regina General Hospital are covered by Saskatchewan Health if you are a resident of Saskatchewan.
Are there additional costs to the program?
You will have costs associated with vitamins and minerals supplements (approximately $50 per month) lifelong. Please be aware you will be required to purchase protein powder as part of your pre-surgical diet (approximately $200). You may have travel costs as the clinic is located in Regina.
Will I have excess skin?
Yes, it is very common after weight-loss surgery. You may choose to have additional surgery for skin removal. The Government of Saskatchewan has guidelines on what is covered under Saskatchewan Health.
Will I have to follow a special diet?
Yes, two weeks before surgery and two weeks after surgery, you will need to follow a liquid, high protein diet. This allows the surgeon to perform the surgery safely and easily. After surgery, your diet will progress from a liquid to a soft/pureed diet to solid foods.
How do I manage my diabetes on a liquid diet?
Most people lose weight on a liquid diet. When you lose weight, you need to closely manage your diabetes. Check your blood sugars regularly and record the results. Your medication may need to be adjusted during the liquid diet and as you lose weight. It is important to talk to your family doctor or diabetes team before starting the liquid diet.
Will I have to take supplements?
Yes, you will be required to take multivitamins and minerals every day, lifelong. You will need to have blood work done routinely to determine the need for extra supplements.
What should I do before surgery? What can I work on while I am waiting to start the program?
- Watch the Bariatric Surgical Program Videos;
- Watch and work through the Healthy Living Modules;
- Maintain a smoke free lifestyle (this includes vaping and maijuana);
- Decrease drinking alcohol, beer, and wine (with the goal to eliminate)
- Eliminate drinking carbonated beverages of all kinds (pop, beer, carbonated water)
- Decrease consuming caffeine
- Eliminate using non-prescription or illicit drugs
Can I become pregnant after weight loss surgery?
Women should avoid becoming pregnant for at least 24 months after surgery. Rapid weight loss after bariatric surgery can increase your fertility. It is important to not get pregnant during rapid weight loss. After surgery, nutrition may not be optimal. Optimal nutrition is needed to ensure proper growth and development of the baby and weight loss should not be the focus during pregnancy.
Can the weight be regained?
Yes, weight can be regained. The surgery is only a tool that helps, but ultimately it is the changes in eating habits and lifestyle that make you successful. Losing weight and keeping the weight off depends on how well you have prepared yourself and implemented lifestyle changes before surgery and how well you follow your diet and exercise program after surgery.
What are the timelines associated with progressing through the Bariatric Surgical Program?
Once you are approved and added to the waitlist, it can take up to 18 months before you actually start in the program. Once you begin the program you will attend three mandatory classes taken over a 3 to 6 month timeframe. After successful completion of the classes, you will be scheduled for individual assessments with the Multi-Disciplinary Team. The process of individual assessments can take from 4 to 12 months depending on your own personal circumstances and progress.