Headshot of Elias Chousleb, MD

By Elias Chousleb, MD

While most people know about weight-loss surgery (also known as bariatric surgery), many are still unsure about how it’s done, how long it takes to recover and whether their insurance will pay for it.

Advances in technology coupled with our experience and expertise at the Weight-Loss Surgery Center at Jackson North Medical Center has made bariatric surgery safer, more effective and accessible for hundreds of Miami-Dade County residents.

If you are considering weight-loss surgery, it may be the tool you need to get your health back on track this year.

Here are a few lesser-known facts about the procedures that may be helpful as you decide if it is right for you:

1.) Most weight-loss procedures are performed using minimally invasive, laparoscopic surgery.

This means that small incisions (up to about half an inch wide) are used to access your abdomen and complete the procedure, whether for the gastric sleeve, banding, bypass or other surgery.

The use of smaller incisions as opposed to an “open “ surgery with one long incision makes a tremendous difference. Laparoscopic procedures are less invasive, less painful and allow you to bounce back quicker after surgery. It also means there will be little or no scarring after your incisions have healed. Sometimes we use a robotic device that allows us to complete the surgery within these small spaces.

2.) You can be back to your normal activities in two weeks or less.

Thanks to the use of minimally invasive, laparoscopic techniques, your recovery will be quick and nearly painless. After surgery, patients are up and walking the same day and often stay just one night in the hospital for monitoring. Although pain is minimal, most patients use pain medication on the day of the procedure.

You should be back to all of your normal activities within two weeks after surgery, and may be able to return to work sooner, depending on the type of work you do. (Physically intense jobs may require you to recover a bit longer.)

3.) You don’t have to go through the process alone.

At Jackson North, our team is here to help you before, during and after your weight-loss surgery. You will be working with the same team throughout the entire process, and we’ll be intrinsically involved in your care. You’ll get to know us, and we’ll get to know you. We offer a team of nutritionists, psychologists, support groups, and a surgeon who will be seeing you throughout your journey.

4. It matters where you have your weight-loss surgery.

You should have your procedure performed by an experienced team that is committed to safety and your success.

The Weight-Loss Surgery Center at Jackson North is accredited by the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery and has been designated a Center of Excellence due to its safety and other surgical benchmarks. We perform more than 200 procedures each year, and have experience assisting the different medical needs of all of our patients in achieving their weight-loss and health goals.

Jackson North also has the latest healthcare technology and a brand new floor with renovated, modern hospital rooms where our patients recover after surgery.

5. Your insurance company may cover all or most of the costs for surgery.

Most private insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover some or all of the costs of weight-loss surgery for patients who meet certain criteria.

The amount covered by insurance companies and different plans – including co-pays – can vary quite a bit. You can call your insurance provider directly to ask about your specific coverage.

If you’d like to learn more, or meet me in person, attend my next informational seminar on Thursday, February 13 at 6:30pm at Jackson North Medical Center, located at 160 N.W. 170th St North Miami Beach, FL 33169. Or call 305-654-6250 to schedule a consultation with our team or visit https://jacksonhealth.org/bariatric-excellence/physicians/.

Elias Chousleb, MD, is a board-certified bariatric surgeon specializing in bariatric surgery, bariatric endoscopy, and minimally invasive digestive surgery. He is also the medical director of the Gastric Sleeve Center | Jackson North.