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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Mills-Peninsula's weight loss surgery program is an American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence (ASMBS). We offer Lap Band, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, vertical sleeve gastrectomy and transoral "Stomaphyx" procedures for patients looking to receive the best care in the Bay Area.

    Who is eligible for obesity surgery?

    Mills-Peninsula’s Obesity Surgery Program may be an option for people who have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of at least 40, or a BMI of 35 with two obesity-related medical conditions and who have not been successful losing weight through other methods. Typically, our patients are between the ages of 18-65. There is no maximum weight limit for obesity surgery. The decision to have any obesity surgery procedure must be made in consultation with a qualified surgeon, and after very careful consideration of the potential benefits and risks and the lifelong consequences.

    Measure your Body Mass Index
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    What are the benefits?

    The benefits – emotional and physical – of achieving normal and appropriate weight are significant:

    • People who lose at least 50 percent of excess weight report increased energy level, endurance and ability to enjoy physical activities. There is usually significant improvement in back and joint pain
    • Research on the effects of major weight reduction have demonstrated a significant decrease in the risk of heart disease, and patients with hypertension often show improved blood pressure
    • Diabetes is treated effectively and many patients no longer require medication
    • Many people with obstructive sleep apnea or respiratory problems experience marked improvement
    • Skin problems related to obesity usually resolve
    • Acid reflux symptoms (indigestion, heartburn) often improve or disappear

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    What is our philosophy?

    Long-term success following every procedure depends in large part on making positive lifestyle changes through diet and exercise.
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    Why choose us?

    As a comprehensive health care organization, Mills-Peninsula brings together all the services you need to make your obesity surgery a success. Ranked in the top five percent of hospitals in the nation for four years in a row, Mills-Peninsula has a solid track record for quality care.

    Mills-Peninsula's Obesity Surgery Program is designated a Center of Excellence by the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

    We are conveniently located near the San Francisco International Airport, with access to discounted hotel accommodations for Obesity Program participants and their families.

    In 2011, the new Mills-Peninsula Medical Center opened its doors to the community. This state-of-the-art, $630 million acute care hospital incorporates the latest technologies and most advanced equipment.
    Designed with the patient’s and their family’s comfort in mind, the new 241-bed medical center features all private rooms – each with family sleeping accommodations, 100 percent fresh air throughout the building.
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    Will my insurance pay for obesity surgery?

    Obesity surgery procedures are not cosmetic and are covered by most heath care plans if certain requirements are met. For example, you must be able to document that you have seriously tried to lose weight multiple times through conventional methods without lasting results. It is a good idea to contact your insurance company prior to making a consultation appointment. Insurance coverage for program components will depend on your individual health plan. In general, some will be covered and some may be self-pay.

    We can only accept Medicare patients for evaluation who are referred by their own physician and we do not accept MediCal for obesity surgery.
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    What are the risks?

    Obesity surgery has a mortality rate of less than half of .1 percent nationally. However, significant obesity itself increases the risk for many life-threatening diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, respiratory problems and liver dysfunction.

    Complications which may occur during surgery, or soon after, include bleeding, a leak or narrowing of the anastomosis (where the loop of bowel is attached to the stomach pouch), abscesses inside the abdomen, wound infection, blood clots developing in the legs (deep venous thrombosis) or a blood clot going to the lungs (pulmonary embolism). Between 5 - 10 percent of patients experience a post-operative problem that requires medical attention. Complications which may occur later include incisional hernia, narrowing or stricture of the anastomosis, small bowel obstruction, gallstone formation, anemia and diarrhea. Some complications may require additional surgeries. These complications are rare and are reduced at MPHS by taking pre-operative measures you will discuss at your MD consultation.
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    How much weight can I expect to lose?

    Weight loss after surgery depends on how successful you are in making significant dietary and lifestyle changes. Mills-Peninsula's program is designed to support you in making those changes.

    Most patients lose 8 - 10 pounds a month or more during the first year and continue to lose weight, usually at a slower rate for another year. Lap-Band patients who are not losing weight at a desired rate have the option of adjusting their band periodically.

    Successful habits include eating three small, high protein, low carbohydrate meals per day. Avoid caloric snacks and beverages, including alcohol.

    A program of regular exercise is very important for promoting and maintaining weight loss. Patients tend to gain weight if they start eating larger portions, consume high fat or "junk" foods, or drink high-calorie beverages.
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    Can I get pregnant after bariatric surgery?

    We recommend a period of one to two years after surgery before becoming pregnant. For additional nutritional counseling during pregnancy, you may call 650-696-5469 to speak to someone in our Sweet Success program.
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    What do I do next?

    After you thoroughly read this information, contact Mills-Peninsula’s Nurse Specialist/Program Director at 1-800-559-9960 for a preliminary telephone consultation or for information about our support group meetings.

    Support group meetings are held the first Saturday of each month, excluding holiday weekends. Agenda and location information are recorded on the 800 number.

    If you have received initial approval from the Nurse Specialist, we will assist in scheduling a consultation appointment with a surgeon. We recommend you bring a family member or significant other, and come prepared to discuss your health history as well as past experience with conventional weight loss methods.
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