Bariatric and Weight Loss Surgery Frequently Asked Questions

When will my family know my surgery is finished?

Dr Balalis contacts all next of kin following surgery, and updates them on your progress.  He also sees all patients daily (at least) until discharge.

Who can come and visit me at the hospital after weight loss surgery?

Hospital policy is ever-changing, and this is updated frequently on the hospital websites.  The easiest way to stay up to date is to review the hospital website and to contact the hospital closer to your surgical date. 

Do most people lose weight after weight loss (bariatric) surgery?

 Yes, and they keep it off.  Bariatric surgery is the only proven way to lose weight and keep it off. Weight regain is still possible however and a continued effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle is essential to long term results. We have a holistic team to provide patients with support for long term changes. 

What does your BMI have to be to have weight loss surgery in Australia?

Current guidelines followed by Dr Balalis recommend a BMI from 35 with a medical condition related to obesity or a BMI of 40.

There are circumstances, particularly for patients with Type 2 diabetes, that a patient with a BMI from 30 may benefit.

All patients wanting more information, should consult with Dr Balalis to discuss weight loss surgery and other options.

Is it my fault that I am obese?

No, it is not your fault. Obesity is a chronic disease, that results from a complex interaction between genetics and environment. Your genetics can determine how susceptible you are to weight gain and you can not change your genetics. Surgery can assist to improve lifestyle and health.

Can I use nurofen or other anti-inflammatories after weight loss surgery?

Not after a gastric bypass.  After a sleeve gastrectomy, Nurofen or other anti-inflammatories are OK to use, as long as it is with a PPI (acid-suppression tablet) such as pantoprazole. This is because non-steroidal medication after a gastric bypass can cause ulcerations with subsequent bleeding and perforation (hole in your bowel).  There are alternatives for steroidals.

Is a gastric bypass better than a gastric sleeve?

No – a sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass are different.  There is no ‘best surgery’, only different surgeries, with different risks and benefits.  Dr Balalis will discuss the surgical options further during a consultation.

Is my weight loss surgery ‘keyhole’?

Yes – Dr Balalis does not perform open bariatric surgery.  He performs laparoscopic or keyhole weight loss surgery, including all revision surgeries.

Does Dr Balalis perform a ‘re-sleeve’?

No – Dr Balalis does not believe in ‘re-sleeve’ operations and is happy to discuss this further.  There are more proven and durable revision surgery options available.

What is the recovery time for weight loss surgery (gastric bypass or gastric sleeve)?

2 days in hospital – one night in ICU, and one night on the ward.  People who work office jobs, can aim to be back at work after 2 weeks.  If you have a more strenuous job, then this will mean more time off work.

Will my gastric sleeve stretch?

 Yes over time, but not to where it used to be.  Please read the article on Dr Balalis’ website regarding stretching, which is a normal process, and does not equal weight regain.

When can I start to exercise?

6 weeks of no heavy lifting – no lifting more than 10kgs.  Our exercise physiologist will tailor a plan suitable for your specific needs, to ensure you continue to exercise during this time, and into the future, for improved health and quality of life.

Does Dr Balalis perform lap band surgery?

No, Dr Balalis does not perform lap band surgery. There are more effective and safe options available, including sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass. This is evidence based, and Dr Balalis performs a high volume of band removals and revision surgery to help those patients suffering with side effects of lap bands.

Does Dr Balalis perform sleeve gastrectomy after a lap band?

No – Dr Balalis does not believe in sleeve gastrectomy after gastric band procedures.  There are more proven and durable revision surgery options available, and he is able to discuss this further during a consultation.

When can I start driving?

10-14 days following surgery is usually when you can start driving again.  It is important that you are off pain medication, can slam on the brake in case of an emergency, and your insurance company are happy.

What weight loss can I expect?

Usually 65-70% excess weight loss (difference between healthy weight and current weight), over a 2-year period.  The majority of this occurs in the first 12 months.

Do I need to take vitamins for life?

Usually a multivitamin is used post sleeve gastrectomy surgery, and our experienced dietetics team can guide you through this.

Do I need regular bloods?

Yes, 3 monthly bloods are needed in the first 2 years.  It is important to keep on top of your blood monitoring to ensure the best result.

Do I need to come to my appointments?

Dr Balalis feels passionately about the holistic and supportive team that is all under one roof at 149 Ward Street North Adelaide.  Their expertise and support is what provides patients with the care and knowhow needed for good outcomes.  Please come to your appointments, and also use our online support!

Will I lose my hair?

Only a minority of patients lose their hair, and this is particularly in the first 6-12 months.  The hair loss is temporary and associated with rapid weight loss.  It is important to liaise with our dietitians and medical team to ensure vitamins, minerals and supplements are optimised during this period.

When can I fall pregnant after weight loss surgery?

Guidelines recommend 24 months after surgery as the ideal timeframe, however 12 months is a minimum recommended time frame.  It is important to liaise with our experienced bariatric surgery team, as we need to monitor vitamins, minerals and supplements more closely.

Contact Us

Considering the next step in your weight loss journey? Contact us to find out more about our holistic approach or to book your consultation.