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Frequently Asked Questions

Am I a Candidate?

Am I a Candidate for weight loss surgery?

If you are overweight and have concerns that your weight may be affecting your health, then surgery may be right for you.

Surgery can be considered when other attempts at weight loss have been tried and been unsuccessful.

There are internationally agreed patient criteria for performing weight loss surgery that are based on BMI measurements. The best way to find out if you are eligible for surgery is to make an appointment for an assessment with Dr Ian Baxter.

In order to be considered for the weight loss surgery, you should:

  1. Be more than 50% above your ideal weight;
  2. Be at least 16 years of age;
  3. Have been obese for at least 5 years;
  4. Have been unable to lose weight by other non-surgical methods, such as supervised diet or behaviour modification programs;
  5. Have no medical problems that are causing your obesity;
  6. Be willing to accept significant changes in eating habits;
  7. Be willing to participate in post-operative follow-up visit at your Surgeon’s office and to have 6 monthly blood tests.

As well as meet the specific criteria for weight loss surgery which are based on BMI and other health co-morbidities.

  • BMI 40 or more, surgery is considered indicated as the risk of developing serious health problems is very high.
  • BMI 35-40 with obesity related health issues.
  • BMI 30-35 with obesity related health issues may be eligible however individual assessment is required.

You may be eligible for the Bypass if you identify with one of the following conditions:

  • BMI of 35 and above, with associated obesity related illnesses such as chronic reflux and diabetes (type 1 and type 2).

Dr Baxter will carefully assess your medical history, age & your family history of obesity & associated serious illnesses.  He will then consider your particular case before making a decision about your eligibility for surgery.

To find out if surgery could be suitable for you please phone on 5444 8594 or contact us to discuss it with one of our team.

What is Obesity?

The term “morbid obesity” is used to describe severe, abnormal and debilitating obesity.  Individuals suffering with this condition are prone to develop different medical problems through their lives.  The life expectancy of severely obese people is decreased by 10 to 15 years, mainly because of increased incidence of heart attacks, strokes, hypertension and diabetes.  Severely obese people also tend to develop severe arthritis in the joints of ankles, knees, hips and lower spine, due to excessive weight bearing.  Self-image is poor, and depression may result.

The most widely used method to assess a person’s weight is the body mass index (BMI), which is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in metres squared.

If your BMI is:

  • between 25 and 29, you would be considered overweight
  • between 30 and 40, you would be considered obese
  • over 40, you would be considered morbidly obese

Another useful method is to measure around your waist. Men whose waist measurement is 94 cm or more and women whose waist measurement is 80 cm or more are more likely to develop obesity-related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.

What Should I Do Now?

If you feel you are eligible or you would simply like to discuss this further, we encourage you to contact our team to make an appointment.

Do I Need a Referral to See Dr Baxter?

Yes, you do require a referral to see any specialist. This can be obtained by your GP.

What Happens After My Appointment

If Dr Baxter deems you are a suitable candidate for surgery and you decide that you would like to go ahead with a procedure, the team will organise your appointments with the Dietitian and Psychologist. You will then see Dr Baxter once more to ensure the whole team are happy to proceed with surgery. A date will then be booked for surgery, and the admin team will go through all the information regarding your procedure and any book necessary appointments.

Successful treatment for obesity involves continued treatment, guidance & support.  We will continue to work closely with you to firstly find the best regimen for you, to provide a supportive environment for you to continue to lose weight & establish new ways of living & to ultimately help you to achieve your weight loss goals.


Do I Need a Referral from my General Practitioner

Yes. You require a referral from your GP. This will allow you to claim a Medicare rebate for your consultations and surgery.

What pre-operative tests do I require?

We need to ensure that we have all the relevant information we require prior to your surgery. Standardly, we require routine blood tests and a radiology examination, called a Barium Swallow (an x-ray to help us examine the digestive system and your oesophagus).

I live remotely… can I do a telehealth conference?

Yes. Telehealth consultations are available for patients who live in our remote areas. It is intended for new and existing patients who live in remote areas. Please contact our rooms for further information.

Do I need to modify my diet prior to the surgery?

Yes. You are required to have a very-low-calorie diet, VLCD, (Formulite/Optifast or similar) before bariatric surgery. This helps to reduce the size of the liver, which facilitates a safer and more effective operation. The diet is required for up to 2 weeks prior to surgery. Your dietitian will give you your VLCD instructions and our administration staff are well versed in helping you navigate your way through this pre-operative phase.


Will I need time off work?

We usually recommend a two week recovery following your weight loss surgery; however if you are a FIFO or your work requires heavy lifting/labour (miner, builder, concreter) you will require between 2-4 weeks off (or modified/light duties).

How long will my hospital stay be?

Each patient recovers differently from an operation. For patients who have gastric sleeve or bypass, it is usually a 2-3 night stay in hospital. Lapband patients are an overnight stay.

I am travelling from a distance/remote area. How long will I be required to stay on the Sunshine Coast for post surgery?

Yes. We recommend you stay for approximately 10 days so that you can be seen you post-operatively prior to you travelling home. However, this is assessed on a case by case basis by Dr Baxter.

Post Surgery

What follow up appointments will I need?

Dr. Baxter and his team are committed to providing comprehensive specialist care on a long term basis.

You will require 3 post operative appointments with Dr Baxter, and 3 post operative appointments with our Dietetics team within the first 3 months of your surgery.

You will also be referred to participate in our metabolic reconditioning program at the Buderim Private Hospital.

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