FAQ: Inova Weight Loss Surgery Program

o Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is a medical procedure performed on individuals who are severely overweight or obese and have not been successful in losing weight through other methods such as diet, exercise, and medication. The primary goal of bariatric surgery is to reduce the size of the stomach or modify the digestive system in a way that promotes weight loss.

Qualification for bariatric surgery typically depends on several factors, including:

  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Weight-related health conditions
  • Previous weight loss attempts
  • Overall health status
  • Commitment to lifestyle changes

Find out if you're a candidate for weight-loss surgery


Weight loss surgery is considered a safe and effective treatment option for individuals with severe obesity or obesity-related health conditions who have not achieved significant weight loss with other methods. However, it's essential to weigh the potential risks and benefits, undergo thorough evaluation, and make an informed decision in consultation with a qualified healthcare provider.

Weight loss outcomes can vary widely from person to person, and individual results may differ based on factors such as age, gender, starting weight, metabolic rate, dietary habits, physical activity level, and adherence to postoperative guidelines. Additionally, weight loss surgery is a tool to assist with weight loss, but long-term success requires a lifelong commitment to dietary and lifestyle changes. Regular follow-up with healthcare providers and ongoing support are essential for achieving and maintaining weight loss goals over time.

o Yes, both before and after weight loss surgery, you will typically need to follow special dietary guidelines to prepare for surgery, facilitate recovery, and achieve optimal outcomes. These dietary recommendations are designed to minimize risks, support healing, promote weight loss, and prevent complications.

Some common types of bariatric surgery that Inova may offer include:

  • Gastric Bypass Surgery (Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass)
  • Sleeve Gastrectomy (Gastric Sleeve Surgery)
  • Mini-Gastric Bypass (One Anastomosis Gastric Bypass)
  • Endoscopic balloon placement
  • Laparoscopic Gastric Banding (Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding)
  • Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS)

Learn more about different types of weight loss surgery

The recovery period after weight loss surgery can vary depending on the type of procedure, individual factors, and any complications that may arise. However, here's a general overview of the recovery timeline and when you can expect to return to work or normal activities after weight loss surgery:

  • Hospital Stay: Most patients spend 1 to 3 days in the hospital following weight loss surgery, although the length of stay may vary depending on the type of procedure and individual factors. During this time, you'll be monitored closely by medical staff and receive instructions on postoperative care.
  • Immediate Postoperative Period: In the immediate postoperative period, you may experience some discomfort, pain, fatigue, and nausea as your body adjusts to the surgical changes. Pain medications, anti-nausea medications, and other supportive measures will be provided to help manage symptoms.
  • Diet Progression: After surgery, you'll follow a gradual diet progression, starting with clear liquids and progressing to full liquids, pureed foods, soft foods, and eventually solid foods over several weeks or months. It's important to adhere to dietary guidelines and portion control recommendations to promote healing and weight loss.
  • Activity Level: During the first few weeks after surgery, it's essential to prioritize rest and avoid strenuous physical activity or heavy lifting to allow your body to heal properly. Light walking and gentle movements are encouraged to prevent blood clots and promote circulation.
  • Return to Work: The timing of returning to work or normal activities will depend on several factors, including the type of surgery, the nature of your job, and your rate of recovery. In general, most patients can expect to return to work within 2 to 4 weeks after surgery, although this may vary.
  • Gradual Resumption of Activities: As you continue to recover and regain strength, you can gradually resume normal activities and exercise routines, following your healthcare provider's guidance and any specific recommendations provided during postoperative follow-up appointments.
  • Follow-Up Care: Regular follow-up appointments with your surgeon and healthcare team are essential for monitoring your recovery progress, addressing any concerns or complications, and providing guidance on diet, activity, and long-term care.

It's important to listen to your body, follow your healthcare provider's instructions, and give yourself time to heal properly after weight loss surgery. Be patient with the recovery process, and don't hesitate to reach out to your healthcare team if you have any questions or concerns along the way.

Yes, it is highly likely that you will need to take vitamins or supplements after weight loss surgery. Weight loss surgery, particularly procedures like gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy, can affect nutrient absorption and may lead to deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals over time. It's essential to follow your healthcare provider's recommendations regarding vitamin and mineral supplementation after weight loss surgery.

After weight loss surgery, adopting and maintaining healthy lifestyle changes is essential for achieving long-term success, promoting weight loss, and improving overall health and well-being.

Some key lifestyle changes that you may need to make after weight loss surgery include:

  • dietary changes
  • regular physical activity
  • behavioral changes
  • nutritional supplementation
  • social support and counseling

Weight loss surgery, like any surgical procedure, carries certain risks and potential complications. While advances in surgical techniques and preoperative care have reduced the risks associated with weight loss surgery, it's important to be aware of the potential complications. Some of the potential risks of weight loss surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Complications due to anesthesia and medications
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Separation of areas that are stitched or stapled together, known as dehiscence
  • Infections
  • Leaks from staple lines
  • Marginal ulcers
  • Pulmonary problems
  • Spleen injury
  • Narrowing of created surgical passage, known as stenosis

It's essential to discuss the potential risks and benefits of weight loss surgery with your healthcare provider and make an informed decision based on your individual health status, risk factors, and treatment goals. Additionally, following preoperative and postoperative guidelines, attending follow-up appointments, and adhering to dietary and lifestyle recommendations can help minimize the risk of complications and optimize outcomes after weight loss surgery.

Inova Fair Oaks Hospital surgical volumes and complications data can be obtained by contacting Carmen Spencer, program coordinator, at Carmen.Spencer@inova.org.

Insurance coverage for weight loss surgery varies depending on factors such as the type of insurance plan, specific policy provisions, medical necessity criteria, and individual patient circumstances. If you are considering weight loss surgery, consult with your healthcare provider, review your insurance coverage, and contact your insurance provider directly to determine eligibility, coverage details, and any requirements for preauthorization or appeals.

One or more co-morbid conditions often accompany excessive weight of 100 pounds or more and a high BMI. Co-morbid conditions include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Sleep apnea
  • Acid reflux (gastro-esophageal reflux disease GERD)
  • Higher risk for colon, breast and kidney cancer
  • Depression
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Incontinence
  • Reproductive issues in women such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which causes fertility problems

The good news is that weight loss surgery frequently improves or even gets rid of co-morbid conditions. The statistics below refer to patients whose gastric bypass surgery improved or resolved chronic conditions they had prior to surgery:

  • 84 percent of these patients no longer had type 2 diabetes
  • 75 percent of these patients no longer had high blood pressure
  • 95 percent of these patients experienced improved cholesterol health
  • 87 percent of these patients no longer had sleep apnea

Read more about the benefits of weight loss 

Open surgery involves a long incision to open the abdomen and operating with "traditional" medical instruments.

Minimally invasive surgery allows the surgeon to perform the same procedure using several small incisions, a fiber-optic camera, video monitor and long-handled instruments.

Your surgeon is the expert in deciding whether an open surgery or a minimally invasive surgery is most appropriate for you. Some patients cannot undergo laparoscopic minimally invasive surgery because of the presence of dense scar tissue from prior surgery. Also, the inability to see organs or bleeding during the operation can cause your surgeon to switch from minimally invasive to open surgery.

If minimally invasive weight loss surgery is not an option for you, know that the highly skilled surgeons at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital perform open procedures using a very small incision and can perform the procedure in as little as 50 minutes.

Studies show that bariatric surgery can effectively improve and resolve many co-morbid conditions. A review of more than 22,000 bariatric surgery patients showed:

  • Improvement or complete resolution of conditions including type 2 diabetes, hypertension and sleep apnea
  • 61 percent reduction of excess weight

Weight gain after bariatric weight loss surgery is a concern for many new patients.

The good news is that if you follow the guidelines presented to you by your weight loss team, and modify your lifestyle and eating habits permanently, you can achieve and maintain successful weight loss.

Weight loss surgery alone does not guarantee patients long-term success. Keeping the weight off requires ongoing dietary, exercise and behavioral changes. For example, if you consume more food than your stomach pouch is supposed to hold, this can cause the pouch to stretch and can result in weight gain or even more serious medical consequences. After weight loss surgery, it is better to consume frequent small meals (4 to 5 meals per day) rather than eating fewer large meals.

A suggested list of items to bring to the hospital on the day of your surgery include:

  • Loose, comfortable clothing, including pants with an elastic waistband or loose dress
  • Cell phone and/personal device
  • Phone/device charger
  • Your personal toiletries
  • Glasses and/or contacts
  • Slippers
  • Insurance card
  • Photo ID

Inova Fair Oaks Hospital surgical volumes and complications data can be obtained by contacting Carmen Spencer, program coordinator, at Carmen.Spencer@inova.org.

FAQ: Inova Non-surgical Weight Loss Program

Inova Medical Weight Loss Program offers excellent value for your money and gives you access to board-certified physicians and specially trained, master's-degree prepared dietitians, exercise specialists, nurse specialists and counselors. Our comprehensive approach gives you the tools to help you succeed in reaching your weight loss goals.

The benefits of weight loss are numerous and well documented. Learn more 

To begin the program, you will receive information on required documentation, including a clearance from your primary care provider. Lab tests and an EKG are also required. If you do not have a primary care physician, we can assist you with finding one. Once your documentation is received and reviewed by our medical team, you will be contacted with the next steps.

If you are ready to begin your weight loss program, complete our registration process and start your journey. Contact us at 703-844-4572 if you have any questions.

The program cost starts at $700* and includes all the education, tools, tips and motivation you need to begin losing weight and meet your weight loss goals. A full body composition analysis will be done to assess your current health and nutritional status. You will attend 12 weekly educational and exercise classes that include a weekly check-in, a "Tools for Success" lecture by a weight loss specialist, and an exercise session led by an exercise physiologist or personal trainer.

Participants also receive two private sessions with a dietitian, a personal fitness assessment with the exercise specialist, and educational materials which you will be given over the course of the program. Other materials received include a pedometer and exercise bands. Register here 

Pricing information current as of 3/17/2022 and subject to change.

Each class includes a 30-minute "Tools for Success" lecture by a weight loss expert. Come ready to exercise because you will have fun exercising in a group class under the guidance of an exercise physiologist or personal trainer who will show you how to start burning those calories!

These weekly classes are offered in-person and virtually.

If you provide your physician information, we are happy to keep him or her informed of your progress.

Medical supervision by our team of medical professionals is an important part of your program. The required physical, blood work and EKG will be performed by your own primary care physician and will be billed to your insurance. Your insurance may also cover additional appointments for nutritional counseling beyond the two appointments included in the program.

The Medical Weight Loss Program team will do everything it can to help you reach your goal, but there is no guarantee. After 12 weeks, you can choose to re-enroll in the program or you can schedule additional consultations with the dietitian, exercise specialists or counselor.

We hope your weekly class becomes a priority in your schedule. But if you do miss a class, you may contact us at 703-348-4716 so we can provide you the handouts and worksheet for that week.