Before you meet with our surgeon, please attend our free informational seminar. Afterward, our insurance verifier will contact your insurance company to verify your benefits. Once this is completed, (usually in a week), you will get an appointment with the surgeon to start the process.
When can I schedule my surgery?
- Once you complete all your insurance and surgeon’s requirements. This will vary based on insurance approvals and completion of tests; but will usually take 6-9 months.
When do I complete the testing?
Various tests are needed to prepare you for Bariatric Surgery. They happen at different times during your patient journey. The testing usually happens in this order:
- Do the blood work right away. You will have to fast for 10-12 hours.
- The Chest x-ray and EKG will be scheduled by the staff and usually takes place 2 months after your consult (for example, consult in April do Chest x-ray and EKG in June)
- Endoscopy (EGD) - You should be scheduled for this test about 1 month after your consultation. If you are having issues with getting scheduled, please call us at the clinic.
- Schedule and complete the following tests right away if they are ordered:
- Upper GI (UGI)
- pH probe
- Cardiac Stress Test
- Sleep study (you will have to follow up with your Primary care doctor after the sleep study is complete to review your results and help order and start you on CPAP if needed).
Why do I have to do each test?
- Blood work- You need to be optimized for surgery. If a certain lab result is too low or too high, it is not safe to proceed with surgery.
- Chest x-ray- this is required by Anesthesia.
- EKG- This test looks at your heart rhythm. If abnormal, more testing might be required.
- Endoscopy (EGD) – The surgeon looks at your esophagus and stomach to make sure there aren’t any contraindications for surgery. If there is something abnormal, we are potentially able to treat before your surgery.
- Upper GI (UGI) – this is an X- ray of your stomach that allows us to see the flow of fluid from your esophagus down into your stomach.
- PH probe/ Manometry- this test tells us the amount of acid that is being produced by your stomach and how well food is going down into your stomach.
- Sleep study- Here we are testing to see if you have sleep apnea. If you do, you will have to make an appointment with your Primary care doctor to be started on a CPAP machine. The surgeon will NOT proceed with surgery if you have sleep apnea and do not have a CPAP machine.
- Stress Cardiolite Adenosine and NM Myocardial Perfusion Scan Stress and Rest- It is an ultrasound of your heart where you are given medication to stress your heart. This way we are able to ensure that your heart is strong enough to undergo surgery
How do I schedule a Psychological appointment?
- It will depend on who your insurance will authorize you to see. Please refer to your pre-surgery check list for instructions.
During your appointment, our bariatric surgeon will review your health history. Together, you will decide which procedure is right for you. You will be able to ask questions at this appointment.
Most insurance carriers will require you to participate in a medically managed weight loss program. The length of this program will vary depending upon individual insurances. The goal is to prepare you for the lifestyle changes that will help you to be successful after surgery. It will also help you lose weight prior to surgery. Patients who lose at least 10% of their body weight before surgery have less anesthesia and surgical risk.
You will also meet with our dietitian and psychologist to make sure that this is the right decision for you. It is important you fully understand the lifestyle changes needed for success. Surgery is only a tool. Your ultimate success depends on strictly following the recommended dietary, exercise and lifestyle changes.
After you are given clearance from the insurance company and the clinical team, we will schedule the surgery. The process can vary depending on the policies of your insurance carrier and your own clinical condition(s).
The physical changes in your anatomy will require permanent changes in your eating habits. They are key for successful weight loss. The following are some tips for bariatric patients:
- Drink slowly.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Take sips of water throughout the day.
- Eat protein foods first.
- Wait 30 minutes after eating to start drinking fluids.
- Don't drink fluids while eating because they can make you feel full before you have consumed enough food.
- Chew foods very well.
- Eat six Small meals per day.
- Avoid sugar.
- Take your vitamins and minerals.
- Monitor your food and fluid intake by keeping a food diary.
- Make healthy food choices.
- Make exercise a daily habit.
- Participate in support groups
Going Back to Work
Your ability to get back to pre-surgery levels of activity will depend on:
- Your physical condition
- The nature of the activity
Many people are back to their pre-surgery level of activities within six weeks. Those who had a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure may be able to return to their usual activities within a couple of weeks.
Birth Control & Pregnancy
Women of childbearing age should not become pregnant during the first 18- to 24- months after weight loss surgery. Pregnancy places extra demands on your body and increases the chances for fetal damage.
Although the short-term effects of weight loss surgery are well understood, there are still questions to be answered about the long-term effects on nutrition and body systems. Nutritional deficiencies that occur over the course of many years still need to be studied. Over time, patients need periodic checks for vitamin levels. You will see our dietician at 2-weeks, 6-weeks and 3-months along with your surgical post up visits, to make sure that you are nutritionally optimized. Additionally, we want to make sure that you are in touch with your primary care physician, who our team will also be communicating with throughout your recovery period.
The Weight Loss Surgery Program holds a monthly support group that is free and open to everyone. This is a great place to ask questions and get support from other weight loss surgery patients. We know weight loss surgery will not fix the issues that years of morbid obesity might have caused. Support groups help patients heal both spiritually and mentally. Support is critical to success.