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Frequently Asked Questions

Learn More About Weight Loss Options in Central Minnesota

You should learn everything you can about surgical and medical options for weight loss if you struggle with obesity-related health complications. We have compiled answers to some frequently asked questions regarding CentraCare’s weight management services below.

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Medical Weight Loss
Surgical Weight Loss

Medical Weight Loss

Does Insurance Cover My Dietitian Visits?

In most cases, individuals with obesity have dietitian coverage under their insurance plan.

How Are Pre-Packaged, Proportioned Food Products Used in Your Program?

CentraCare Weight Management offers both Whole Foods and Meal Alternative-based programs. Pre-packaged foods or meal alternatives are evidence-based interventions that are safe and effective for weight loss. This is at least in part because they are portion-controlled, satiating and convenient to use. Many of our patients choose meal alternative programs for the initial weight loss phase, transitioning fully or partially to a grocery food-based program later. The choice of program is up to you and will be discussed with one of our providers during the initial consultation.

Can I Do a “Natural” Weight Loss Program at Your Center?

CentraCare Weight Management emphasizes the importance of developing eating habits that will encourage weight loss while meeting the specific needs of each client. We are sensitive to preferences for organic foods, vegan or vegetarian, prepared or packaged foods, and individuals with allergies or sensitivities. We work with our patients to develop a meal plan that will mesh with personal preferences.

What Are the Benefits of Coaching Visits?

In-person or virtual coaching visits are an extremely effective strategy for patients during the weight loss and weight maintenance phases. Personal coaches provide regular, on-going support, motivation and accountability. At CentraCare Weight Management our coaches represent the important specialties of nutrition, behavior and exercise so you have an option to work with a specialist week-to-week. Lastly, when you purchase a 12-visit coaching package, you gain access to unlimited weight management classes and life-long monthly personal coaching visits. These benefits highlight our dedication to supporting your life-long efforts!

What Are the Benefits of Meal Alternative Products?

Meal alternative products are an evidence-based tool used to promote weight loss in a safe and effective manner. Our program has options that uses meal alternative products and other options that do not. How to use them and when to use them are decisions you make with your weight loss team.

Surgical Weight Loss

How do I qualify for weight loss surgery?

Individuals with a BMI of 40 or greater or a BMI of 35 or greater with obesity-related co-morbidities (such as type 2 diabetes) may be candidates for bariatric surgery.

How soon after my first appointment will I have surgery?

The process usually takes about six months from your first visit. During this time, you will complete a psychological assessment, meet frequently with a bariatric dietitian, and complete other insurance requirements.

When can I drive?

You may drive after you are done taking narcotic medications and feeling alert. Usually, this is a week after surgery.

Will there be scars?

After the incisions have healed, your scars will look like small scratches. These scars first appear pink. Over the next few months, they will become less and less noticeable.

Is sexual activity restricted?

You may resume sexual activity after wounds have healed and you are no longer experiencing discomfort.

Will I be able to drink alcohol after surgery?

After undergoing weight loss surgery, you will find that even small amounts of alcohol will affect you quickly. Alcohol is a high-calorie beverage that should be consumed infrequently or not at all.

Will I be overly hungry after surgery?

Most say no. During the first 3-6 months, most do not have an appetite. Appetite gradually returns.

Will I be able to use tobacco?

No. Nicotine use after surgery increases your risk of complications.

Can I regain weight after surgery?

It is possible to regain weight after all weight loss surgeries. The chance of weight regain is greatly reduced if a complete lifestyle change is embraced, including a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Will I need to eat a specific diet?

Once you progress to the regular diet, we recommend protein and fiber foods at every meal. Other nutrition recommendations will be discussed during your dietitian visits.

What happens to the staples in my abdomen? Can I have an MRI? Will I set off airport metal detectors?

The staples used in the operations are tiny pieces of stainless steel or titanium. The staples are non-magnetic and will not be affected by an MRI or set off airport metal detectors.

Can I get pregnant after weight loss surgery?

It is recommended that women wait at least 18-24 months after surgery before becoming pregnant. Your weight and nutrition status will likely be stable at this point. Fertility may increase with weight loss. Please talk with your primary care provider about birth control.

What can I do to prevent excess hanging skin?

Many factors will affect how much excess skin you have after weight loss. These factors include genetics, age, skin elasticity and the amount of weight lost. Some people choose to have surgery to remove excess skin. Insurance companies typically do not pay for these types of surgeries, unless complications arise from the excess skin folds.

Will I have to change my medications?

Many conditions improve or resolve after weight loss surgery. These conditions include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, etc. It is possible your medications will be decreased or discontinued.

Will I have hair loss?

Patients may experience hair loss due to the rapid loss of weight and reduced nutritional intake. This may occur for up to one year after surgery. Normal hair growth will eventually return.

Will I have pain after surgery?

Mild discomfort at the incision sites is common. Pain medications will be prescribed to help.

What will my diet be after surgery?

You will follow a full liquid diet for two weeks after surgery. Your diet texture will gradually progress from pureed to soft over the next month and finally to regular foods at about three months after surgery. The recommended meal plan is adequate in protein and low in sugar. The most noted change is smaller portions.

After surgery, when do I follow up with Weight Management provider(s)?

You will have office visits at two weeks, four weeks, three months, six months, 12 months and yearly.

How long will I be in the hospital?

Patients typically stay one night in the hospital after bariatric surgery.

When can I return to work?

Most patients return to work two to six weeks after surgery.

Will I require vitamin supplements after surgery?

Patients must take multivitamins/minerals, calcium and vitamin B12 supplements lifelong. The number of supplements daily depends on the surgery. Check with your dietitian for specific needs.

What is dumping syndrome?

Dumping syndrome occurs when foods high in carbohydrate are consumed after gastric bypass. The symptoms include nausea, cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, weakness and dizziness.

How soon can I travel after surgery?

It is generally safe to travel one month after surgery. Discuss with your provider prior.

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