• How much weight will I lose?

    Any weight loss is good. Even 5 kg of weight loss will make a difference to your health. But in reality if somebody has 50 kg of excess weight they really need to lose at least half of that excess weight to have a worthwhile result. So we’re talking about 20, 25, 30 kg as being a target area. If we can achieve that level of weight loss and if we can hold that level of weight loss over a long period we’ve achieved an enormous benefit. We have achieved something that we have never been able to achieve with all the diet programs, with all the commercial weight loss groups, everything else.

    So we’re looking for substantial and durable weight loss.

  • How much is ‘substantial’ ?

    It depends on the person. A person weighing 100 kg at the start, a substantial weight loss might be 15 kilograms. If a person weighs 200 kg at the start, they might need to lose 80 kilograms to say it is a really worthwhile result.

  • How long is ‘durable’ ?

    Ten years as a minimum. There is little benefit achieve by short-term weight loss. Don’t be persuaded by people on websites who have lost lots of weight during the first year. We don’t mind if it takes two or three years to lose it. It is much more important to know it is still gone at ten or more years.

  • The rule is three or less meals a day . My personal trainer says I should eat six times a day to turn on my metabolism.

    You can indeed “turn on your metabolism” by eating – but at the price of weight gain. For example, if you eat a meal of 300 calories, the turning on of your metabolism may use up about 50 of those calories. You store the rest. It is just a bad deal. Don’t listen to it. Do not eat if you are not hungry. Rest assured, you can skip breakfast if you are not hungry.

  • I am keen to get on with it. What do I do to get started?

    The first step is to phone our office (03) 9805 1500 and talk with Karen or Milica in our Call Centre. They are very keen to help you.

    You could also email them via our clinic address:

    They can give you some information over the phone but, more importantly, they can provide you with a patient information DVD or a booklet that probably answers most of your questions and many other questions you may not have thought about.

    They can also make an appointment for you to see one of the surgeons directly.

  • How does the surgeon decide if I am suitable?

    We use four criteria to determine if you should have weight loss surgery. First we check the BMI – you need to have a BMI above 30. Second, we check that you have problems related to your weight – health problems, physical and social limitations or concern about your future health and life expectancy. Next, we check that you have made significant efforts to lose weight by the usual non-surgical methods. Finally, we want to be sure you can work with us as partners to achieve the weight loss. The surgery helps but we cannot achieve the best outcomes without you doing your part.

  • What happens when I see the surgeon?

    This is a normal clinical consultation, not much different from a consultation for any medical problem. We take a history of the problem. Usually we have asked you to fill out a Patient Information profile beforehand which gives us much of the background detail that we need. You will be asked to post this back to us well before your appointment and the details are added to our LapBase software program. We will usually have arranged for you to have a group of blood tests. We will review those during the consultation.

    Once this is complete, if you are clear that you wish to proceed and we are happy that we can help you then we discuss the procedure and generally will pick a date for it to be performed. Typically this would be 4-6 weeks ahead. There is a little bit of paperwork to complete and some organisational details but otherwise you are set to go. Usually, all of this is completed on your first visit.

  • Do I need to see a psychologist or specialist physician or have special tests?

    Generally not. If you have a special health problem we may get you to see somebody. We are not going to get you to see a psychologist or a psychiatrist unless there was a specific mental health problem that we both wanted to see addressed.

  • Do I have to take the low calorie diet like Optifast before the surgery?

    Two of the surgeons in our group require all of their patients to have a two-week course of Optifast before surgery. Most of us do not require it. We would only use Optifast if the BMI is very high, the liver is enlarged on clinical examination or there is central obesity (the big beer belly). If the Optifast is a concern to you, the call centre staff can advise you on which surgeons are not going to require it and you can book with one of them.

  • How long am I in hospital?

    You are in hospital for part of a day for the intragastric balloon.
    You are in hospital for part of the day for the Lap-Band in most cases. For the Lap-Band, you come in at 6.30 am in the morning, you have the procedure during the morning and then you go home during the afternoon. For some surgeons or on some occasions we keep you overnight particularly if you’re living alone or if you live some distance from Melbourne.
    For the sleeve and the bypass we would keep you in hospital more than one day. Generally it will be two to three days.

  • How long do I need off work?

    Generally you need one week off work. If we did the procedure on a Monday, take the rest of the week off and go back the following week. We usually give you a certificate for two weeks but most people don’t need it. People get better quite quickly but I should emphasise those first few days after the operation should not be seen as potentially easy.

    You haven’t got a lot of pain but you just feel pretty ordinary from the whole exercise – from the anaesthetic, from the operation, from the anxieties associated with it. During those first three or four days don’t be at all surprised if you feel very low. You have got to ride through that. That’s why it is probably a good idea not to go back to work too early.

  • How will I know what to eat afterwards?

    We give you detailed instructions while you are in hospital. We have two booklets that cover the first three weeks after surgery and tell you what you can eat. One booklet covers the Lap-Band and the other covers the sleeve and the bypass. The rules and guidelines are very similar. For each procedure there is a sequence of having liquids only initially, followed by soft foods, followed by solid food over that three-week period.

    The booklets also tell you about what to worry about and what to not worry about, who to contact if you are worried, what to do with the wound dressings etc. All queries you might have should be covered.

  • Is there a lot of pain afterwards?

    The pain is not severe. Typically when you go home you will have Panadol for pain relief. We also give you a few Endone which are stronger tablets but often you will not need to use any of them. So if you picture the sort of pain that you need Panadol for, that is the level of pain that you would be likely to have.

  • Am I going to have lots of loose skin and need plastic surgery?

    You may have. We estimate around 20% of those we treat will end up needing to have or wishing to have some plastic surgery. The commonest thing would be an apronectomy. If you have that overhang of tummy wall before the operation it will still be there after. It will just be thinner. Getting rid of the apron is the most common procedure.

    Other procedures involving the back of the upper arms, the breasts, the legs, are less common. We don’t want people to even think about plastic surgery until two years have passed, until the weight status has stabilised and then look at what’s happening. The skin has a lot of elasticity so it takes up a lot of that slack. We don’t do the plastic surgery but we can refer you to people who we trust to do it well.