Bariatric Surgery, otherwise known as Weight Loss Surgery, helps patients to overcome obesity and improve their overall health.

By either reducing the size of the stomach, how hunger is generated, or how food is digested, Bariatric Surgery procedures are some of the most effective tools to help with weight loss.

Bariatric Surgery Pre-Operative Information

Preparing for Bariatric Surgery involves following a special pre-operative diet. This diet reduces the fat in the liver, making the liver less prone to injury during surgery. The pre-operative planning may also require changes to your existing medication dosages.

Pre-Operative Diet

At BodyFree Weight Loss Clinic, all patients are required to commence an Optifast based diet for a period of 2-3 weeks prior to Bariatric Surgery.

This diet induces a change to the patient’s metabolism, putting it into a ketotic state, known as Ketosis. During this period the patient’s diet will be restricted, with only certain additional foods allowed. Your Dietitian will provide clear direction tailored to you. There are no carbohydrates, sugars, fruits or juices permitted during this Very Low Calore Diet (VLCD) period.

In ketosis, the fat stores come out of the liver to provide the metabolic fuel that your body needs. During surgery, it will be necessary to retract the liver. By following this diet, the reduction of liver fat stores in the lead-up to Bariatric Surgery allows for this to be done safely, without risk of damaging or tearing the liver during the procedure.

Some patients may note that they can lose 5-10% of their body weight during this period. (It would be terrific if this were sustainable long term, but VLCD diets such as Optifast aren’t sustainable over the long term.

Medication

For patients taking medications, most medications can continue until the day of Bariatric Surgery. They will be recommenced post-operatively under our direction.

There are several blood-thinners and anti-platelet agents which will need to be stopped 2-10 days prior to surgery, depending on the particular medication. We will provide advice tailored to each patient.

Fish Oil supplements should not be consumed within 14 days of Bariatric Surgery.

Bariatric Surgery Post-Operative Information

The team have collated some Weight Loss Surgery Post-Operative information, including dietary and recovery details, to help you on your weight loss journey.

This information is a guide only, our Bariatric Surgeon and Dietitian will provide tailored programmes to suit each patient.

Wound Care

Post-operative wound care following Weight Loss Surgery is very manageable, due to the incisions being smaller than those used for open procedures. The small keyhole incisions made are all closed with dissolving stitches, which are placed under the skin so that patients will never need to see them.

We also use either tissue glue, or steristrips and waterproof dressings, to ensure the skin heals in a clean and dry environment. Patients can bathe or shower with these dressings in place. However, they should be patted dry afterwards.

The dressings are normally removed 10 days after Bariatric Surgery, and the incisions should have healed nicely by then.

Pain Management

Most patients’ post-operative discomfort has settled at the time of discharge from the hospital.

Some patients may require a small amount of oral medication to help manage ongoing discomfort for a week or so. This can include Panadol, Panadeine Forte, Endone, Palexia, or occasionally other medicines.

Other Medicines

Routine medications can be recommenced as directed in the post-operative phase. Any blood-thinning agents that patients were previously taking will also be recommenced, as directed by the medical team.

Many patients will be directed to take a PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitor) such as Nexium, Somac or Losec for a certain period after Bariatric Surgery, to reduce stomach acid production.

Post-Operative Diet

Bariatric Surgery will help patients to start their weight loss journey. However, in order to achieve successful long-term results, ongoing dietary and behavioural changes are necessary.

While each patient will be given specific dietary advice based on their personal requirements, the following are very brief recommended guidelines following Bariatric Surgery in Sydney.

Week 1

  • Liquid nourishment

Weeks 2 – 4

  • Pureed food

Week 4 +

  • Commencement of soft solid diet.

** For more dietary information, please speak with one of our Dietitians, who will provide you with a more comprehensive plan.

Recovery Time

As a guide, most patients need 2-3 nights in hospital post-operation and, depending on the work in which you are employed, 3-14 days off work. Most patients can start walking within a few days, and more vigorous exercise can commence within 3 weeks.

Bariatric Surgery Cost

BodyFree offers Bariatric Surgery in Sydney, Australia, for both patients with and without private health insurance. Our fixed fee programs for Gastric Sleeve or Gastric Bypass surgery start at $4,490 for patients who have not had any previous Bariatric procedure and whose private health insurance covers them for surgery. We also have fixed fee packages available for uninsured patients with Bariatric Surgery costs starting from $16,500.

Whether insured or self-funded, our Bariatric Surgery cost uses an all-inclusive pricing model. An all-inclusive price means that our surgeons can provide patients with the best possible care, for a single fixed fee and zero risk of hidden costs .

All-Inclusive Program Fee

The BodyFree programs provide all pre and post-operative care, surgery, and ongoing follow-up, for a single all-inclusive Bariatric Surgery cost.

The programs include:

  • Consultations with your Bariatric Surgeon
  • Surgical Assistant
  • Anaesthetist
  • 2-3 night hospital stay
  • Five Dietitian consultations
  • Ongoing surgical follow-ups at our clinic for 24 months post-surgery.

Our Fees

We offer a fixed price programs for $4,90 for patients with private health insurance that covers Bariatric Surgery (Gastric Sleeve or Gastric Bypass) and who have not had a previous Bariatric procedure. Please note that your insurer may charge an excess fee, to be paid to them outside of our fee.

For patients with private health insurance but who have had a previous operation, and need a Revision Bariatric Surgical Procedure, our program fee starts at $6,990. This is also an all-inclusive fee that covers all of the above services. The higher price reflects the more complex nature of the surgery, the potential additional pre-operative investigations, and increased post-operative care.

We advise patients to check with their private health insurer, to see whether Bariatric Surgery is covered and whether there will be any excess charges. To check your coverage, please ask about these procedure item numbers:

  • 31575 Gastric Sleeve
  • 31572 Gastric Bypass
  • 31581 SADI

For patients without Private Health Insurance, we offer fixed fee Weight Loss Surgery (Medicare only) with pricing starting at $16,500.

Bariatric Surgery in Sydney, Australia

Our specialist surgeons perform Bariatric Surgery in Sydney private hospitals, located in North Sydney, Randwick and Woolloomooloo. . We operate on both insured and self-funded (uninsured) patients.

Dr David Joseph also operates at Concord Hospital, where there is a limited subsidised Bariatric Surgery programme for uninsured patients who meet the specific criteria set by the hospital. This includes a BMI of 40 with established comorbidities such as diabetes, sleep apnoea, NASH, established fertility issues or severe arthritis.

Private Bariatric Surgery Hospitals

The Mater Private Hospital

Rocklands Road, North Sydney NSW 2060
Phone: 02 9900 7300
Website

The Mater is one of three Bariatric Surgery Sydney hospitals where Dr Joseph operates.

Located in North Sydney, The Mater Hospital is a leading centre for surgical and medical excellence. There are 11 operating theatres, equipped to provide the most innovative care using the latest technology, including hybrid theatres and robotic surgery.  A full range of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology procedures are available onsite. The Mater Hospital is run by St Vincent’s Health Australia.

Dr David Joseph regularly performs Bariatric Surgery at The Mater Hospital. Many BodyFree Weight Loss Clinic patients have their surgery performed at The Mater Hospital, and benefit from the renowned and excellent post-operative care.

There is a large and highly advanced intensive care unit, and nursing care is provided by the highly experienced team in the operating theatres, intensive care and wards.

Prince of Wales Private Hospital

Barker Street, Randwick NSW 2031
Phone: 02 9650 4000
Website

Located in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, Prince of Wales Private Hospital has a reputation for delivering a continually high standard of clinical care. The hospital has 168 overnight beds and specialises in Cardiothoracic Surgery, Neurosurgery, Spinal Surgery, Endovascular Surgery, Interventional Neuroradiology, General Surgery, General Medicine, Liver Surgery, Orthopaedics, Maternity and Paediatrics. The hospital also has a dedicated Day Surgery, a Coronary Care Unit and an Intensive Care Unit.

Prince of Wales Private Hospital offers comprehensive care and services in a modern, well-equipped facility. 24-hour medical cover supports the clinical services, with the Intensive Care Unit staffed by experienced specialised nurses and medical officers.

As some of the best Bariatric burgeons in Sydney, Dr David Joseph and Dr Robert Gandy operate regularly at Prince of Wales Private Hospital, on both insured and uninsured patients.

East Sydney Private Hospital

75 Crown Street, Woolloomooloo NSW 2011
Phone: 02 9001 2000
Website

East Sydney Private Hospital is a modern boutique private hospital located in Woolloomooloo in East Sydney. Founded in 2014 the hospital has attracted an abundance of highly skilled surgeons across specialties including Othropaedic, Bariatric, ENT, Opthamology and Plastic & Cosmedic Surgery. Other services include pain management, and a range of general surgical procedures such as hernia repairs, reflux surgery, and laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

East Sydney Private Hospital features five spacious operating theatres and 32 overnight medical and surgical beds, a recent ward expansion has added 12 luxurious private rooms with ensuites and many boasting Woolloomooloo wharf water views.

Dr David Joseph and Dr Robert Gandy operate regularly at East Sydney Private Hospital, on both insured and uninsured patients.

Public Bariatric Surgery Hospitals

Concord Repatriation General Hospital

Hospital Road, Concord NSW 2139
Phone: 02 9767 5000
Website

A major teaching hospital in Sydney, Concord Hospital provides an extensive range of diagnostic and treatment services. Its specialities include Hepatobiliary (Liver) and Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery, Neurosciences, Cardiology, Cancer Care, Respiratory Medicine, as well as having a world-class Burns unit.

Dr David Joseph operates regularly at Concord Hospital, treating both private and public patients. He also participates in multidisciplinary meetings, for the management of patients with liver and other gastrointestinal cancers.

There is a large and highly advanced intensive care unit, and nursing care is provided by the highly experienced team in the operating theatres, intensive care and wards.

Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

Missenden Road, Camperdown NSW 2050
Phone: 02 9515 6111
Website

One of Australia’s leading hospitals, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital provides an extensive range of diagnostic and treatment services.

Its specialities include Hepatobiliary (Liver) and Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery, Neurosciences, Cardiology, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cancer Care, Respiratory Medicine, and Kidney Transplants. It is also the only centre in New South Wales to perform Liver Transplantation.

Dr David Joseph operates at Royal Prince Alfred on a regular basis, treating both private and public patients.

There is a large and highly advanced intensive care unit, and nursing care is provided by the highly experienced team in the operating theatres, intensive care and wards.

Bariatric Surgery – FAQs

Can you stretch your stomach after Bariatric Surgery?

Stomach stretching is normal, with or without a gastric sleeve. For example, a normal stomach will stretch to accommodate after eating a large meal. The normal volume capacity of the stomach is around 1 litre.

However, it is possible to permanently stretch a stomach after Bariatric Surgery. With a Gastric Sleeve, the stomach is significantly reduced in volume and will stretch over about 18 months following the surgery. It should get to no more than 300 mLs in volume, but can be stretched beyond this by overeating repeatedly, and possibly by the regular ingestion of carbonated beverages.

The stretching happens over a long period of time, usually years. As long as the stretching is within normal bounds, it is not an issue.

To prevent over-stretching the stomach, it is important to eat only until satisfied. Eating to the point of feeling full should be avoided. We advise patients to eat less per sitting, and especially minimize drinking during meals, as fluids also create a volume for your stomach to accommodate. Instead, aim to drink between meals to stay hydrated.

Smaller, more frequent meals will help you prevent stomach stretching while also eating enough to meet your nutritional needs. This could be 5 or 6 snack-sized, low-calorie meals throughout the day. We also encourage patients to eat more slowly – take your time to enjoy the food!

Are Bariatric Surgery Costs covered by insurance?

Many private health insurers cover Bariatric Surgery, making this critical weight loss procedure more accessible to more Australians.

Once considered an experimental treatment, Bariatric Surgery has now been used as an effective tool n for weight loss for decades, helping thousands of people around the world. Today, procedures such as Gastric Sleeve, Gastric Bypass and SADI are covered by almost all private health insurers.

In order to keep your Bariatric Surgery costs as low as possible, please check whether Bariatric Surgery is covered by your private health insurance policy. Coverage will depend on the specific policy, not just the insurance company. You can use these procedure item numbers to check for coverage:

  • 31575 Gastric Sleeve
  • 31572 Gastric Bypass
  • 31581 SADI

For the majority of people covered by insurance, their policy will cover a portion of their Bariatric Surgery cost, but charge an additional excess fee. This excess must be paid upon admission to hospital, and is separate from the all-inclusive program fee charged by BodyFree for our services. Again, please speak with your insurer to find out if an excess is payable under your policy.

What if I don’t have insurance that covers me for Bariatric Surgery?

The BodyFree Clinic offers fixed fee, all inclusive Bariatric Surgery programs starting at $16,500 in a private hospital for uninsured patients.

Dr Joseph also provides a limited subsidised public hospital Bariatric Surgery program at Concord Hospital in Sydney. In order to qualify for this program you must have a BMI greater than 40 and also have a diagnosed co-morbidity such as diabetes, sleep apnoea, arthritis, PCOS or fertility issues. You also must be a NSW resident to be eligibale for this program. Fees for this program are lower than at a private hospital. Speak to our clinic team for more information.

Can you drink alcohol before Bariatric Surgery?

A major part of preparing for Bariatric Surgery in Sydney is readying the liver and body for surgery. As alcohol contains a very significant calorie and carbohydrate load, it is essential that alcohol intake is eliminated before surgery, and not restarted until all the weight loss goals have been achieved.

We advise patients to avoid drinking alcohol for 2-4 weeks leading up to their Bariatric Surgery. This will help the body to be in optimal health to come out of the surgery with minimal risk of complications. Alcohol intake should be slowly reduced over the course of a week or so rather than being stopped immediately.

We especially advise against drinking alcohol in the 48 to 72 hours prior to the surgery. Alcohol immediately prior to any surgery can have serious consequences.

Overall, avoiding alcohol before Bariatric Surgery will minimise the risks of the surgery, and ongoing alcohol minimisation will enhance weight loss and health outcomes.

How do I avoid loose skin after Bariatric Surgery?

During significant weight gain, the skin expands and stretches to accommodate the increased fat volume of the body. After Bariatric Surgery, much of this excess fat can be shed. However, the skin doesn’t always shrink back to normal. Following the surgery, and significant weight loss, patients may be left with a certain amount of loose skin.

How much loose skin persists really depends on the amount of total weight loss, the distribution of ther excess weight (ie all in the lower abdomen versus evenly distributed throughout the body), age, gender, and other factors such as a history of smoking and sun exposure. There is some evidence that light weights and toning excercises may help to reduce the eventual amount of loose skin.

After reaching their goal weight, some patients may consider body contouring, or cosmetic plastic surgery to remove excess skin. The BodyFree surgeons do not perform these procedures, but can refer you to another specialist surgeon who will be able to help.