The initial consultation will be bulk billed if you have a referral from your GP or specialist.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. A referral from a GP is a requirement under Medicare, if you do not have a referral you cannot be bulk billed. We would also like to keep your GP informed about your management plan and subsequent progress.
Usually 1-2 weeks.
Dr Martin has frequent operating times so usually the only delay is your Optifast pre-surgery diet time of two weeks.
If your BMI is over 40, or you have a BMI over 35 with associated obesity related disorders (such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnoea, arthritis) the Australian National Health & Medical Research Council recommends you have weight loss surgery. Some people who have had certain procedures on their gastrointestinal system may be unable to have certain types of weight loss operations. And some medical disorders make the procedures extremely dangerous. We will discuss these issues when you see us.
This is a question which needs a proper discussion in our clinic. Often people come in requesting a certain type of weight loss procedure, and of the 3 most commonly performed procedures, each will be more suited to certain people for various reasons, such as your actual BMI, specific medical conditions, prior operations, your ability to cope with potential risks of each procedure, and your lifestyle.
Our aim is to help patients lose between 60 – 100% of their excess weight (that is, the number of extra kilograms you are carrying over a BMI of 25). The final goal weight you reach depends on several factors including your build, body composition, sex and age. It also depends on how successful you have been in changing your dietary behaviours, lifestyle, and physical activity levels after surgery. The reason why we set a minimum goal of achieving 60% excess weight loss is because this level of weight loss will lead to maximal improvement in any weight-related co-morbidities. In general, most patients having the sleeve gastrectomy will reach their goal weight by 12 months.
After a Gastric Sleeve, weight is generally lost at approximately 1-2kg per week. Most patients reach their goal weight within 9-12 months.
No, because part of the stomach is removed from the body, the sleeve operation cannot be reversed.
No. It is essential to stop smoking at least 4 weeks before and after surgery. It is critical to remain smoke free because smoking significantly increases the risks of complications such as development of breathing difficulties, clots and ulcers.
Typically, you will need 1-2 weeks off work to aid the initial recovery and ensure dietary progression.
Most people will be able to return to normal types of food a few weeks following the operation. There is a strict diet regime you will need to follow for the first 4 weeks following the operation. We will discuss this with you and give you detailed information at your consultations. You should notice that you feel full, or restricted, after smaller meals than you were previously used to. This is normal and the anticipated effect of weight loss surgery.
Some people notice “dumping” effects after weight loss surgery, this involves feeling flushed, dizzy, and weak after very sugary rich meals. This effect lasts for short periods following a meal and usually the body adapts and it doesn’t persist for more than a few weeks.
Some people experience intolerance to certain foods following weight loss surgery and their overall appetite changes. No-one can predict who this will occur with.
All patients will see the surgeon/dietitian following surgery at regular intervals, typically at 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and 1 year to ensure everything is on track. Depending on your needs you may see our team more or less often.
Walking is encouraged early post-surgery and thereafter, on a regular basis to increase your physical activity level. Aerobic activities such as brisk walking, stationary biking, elliptical machines, etc. may be engaged 2 weeks after surgery and are limited generally by the degree of discomfort that these activities cause. You may engage in swimming once the wounds are fully healed. Activities that are more strenuous or that involve lifting weights are generally safe 4 weeks following surgery and you are given clearance by the surgeon.
Yes. Surgery is the tool that enables you to lose weight. Although surgery does produce less appetite and volume of food consumed, it is ultimately up to you to make lifelong changes to be healthy and active.
This includes making healthy food choices, controlling portions, taking vitamin and mineral supplements as directed, getting plenty of fluid, rest and regular exercise. Without these lifelong changes weight regain may occur. The dietitian offers meal plans to patients who want advice on food choices that are high in protein and need some cooking inspiration and tips.
Usually 1 week. This depends on the procedure however generally, after most laparoscopic operations patients may expect to drive again once they are comfortable and able to wear the seat belt and able to react in an emergency situation (ie slamming on brakes, twisting/turning).
If you are in need of urgent after-hours care, you can contact Dr Martin or one of his surgical colleagues by paging (07) 3830 5805 or attend the Wesley Emergency Centre.
Some hair loss is common following surgery and typically occurs between the third and sixth months following surgery. This is a result of several factors including the physiologic stress, the emotional stress of the adjustments and the nutritional stress following surgery. This is temporary, and an adequate intake of protein, vitamins and minerals will help to ensure hair re-growth. The dietitian can advise which supplements are good for hair loss if required.
Contact your health fund and quote the Item Number for either the Sleeve Gastrectomy (31575) or the Gastric Bypass (31572). Sometimes it can seem a little difficult to get a straight answer! Patients often report being told that they will be covered up to the ‘Scheduled Fee’ or that ‘if Medicare will pay 75% then the health fund will pay 25%’, or ‘if the procedure has been recommended by a doctor for health reasons it will be covered’ etc. All of these responses mean that you are covered.
We do not offer Gap Cover or Known Gap on any weight loss procedures. Unfortunately, the full costs involved in providing quality medical care are not adequately covered by the Gap/Known Gap Cover fee arrangements. Irrespective of your level of cover, most common surgical procedures performed in the private health system involve a gap payment.
No, you can have surgery as a self-funded patient. You will have additional costs for the hospital including theatre and bed fees that the health fund usually covers.
Though unlikely, if a self-funding patient has a complication from surgery and requires re-operation, ICU or extended length of stay they may require transfer to a Public Hospital for financial reasons.
It is preferable that patients have private health insurance, though there is a 12-month waiting period after joining to allow access to this. The larger cost for the operation is not the surgeon fees, but the Hospital Fees. We advise that patients check specifically that their health insurance policy includes obesity surgery (e.g. item numbers 31572, 31575).
Both insured and uninsured patients can access superannuation under compassionate medical grounds to pay for all unpaid costs associated with weight loss surgery. The whole process takes approximately 4 weeks to be approved and paid. For more information see our information page.
Prior to surgery you will need to see our dietitian to be placed on a diet to shrink your liver. Your liver needs to be small enough for the operation to go ahead safely. The length of this diet is determined by your BMI.
Everyone responds and recovers differently to surgery. You will see our dietitian at least 5 times following your procedure to upgrade your diet according to your needs and ensure you get your best possible results.
We check your blood tests for protein and vitamin and mineral levels at least 2 times throughout the first year. This is important to ensure no deficiencies occur.
Following a sleeve gastrectomy or gastric bypass, a multivitamin and mineral supplement is recommended for life. The surgery can impact on your ability to absorb certain vitamin and minerals and place you at a higher risk of deficiency. Your dietitian will be able to guide you to the best supplements to suit your individual needs.