grassystepThis is the time of year when many people resolve to lose weight. If you’ve spent many years making – and failing to fulfill – that resolution, you may be considering bariatric surgery. You may also be wondering what steps are required to get you there.

The following gives you a quick snapshot of what to expect:

Step One: Educational seminar. Your first step begins with attending a free educational seminar, where you’ll learn about surgical weight loss options and meet other patients and our staff. Upcoming seminars and registration information are available here.

Step Two: Verification of insurance benefits. We will work with your insurance carrier to verify insurance benefits available for weight loss surgery.

Step Three: Initial consultation with surgeon, financial counselor and patient advocate. This is an important step that consists of the following components:

  • An initial consult with your surgeon that includes a review of your social, family and medical history and the reasons you are pursuing bariatric surgery. This information helps the surgeon determine if weight loss surgery is the right tool for you.
  • A meeting with our financial counselor to discuss costs associated with your surgery, insurance benefits available and payment options.
  • A meeting with our patient advocate to review the details of the surgical process and get acquainted with the staff at Foothills Weight Loss Specialists and Blount Memorial Health Weight Management Center. The patient advocate also will go over the Foothills Weight Loss Specialists philosophy, the steps and processes to weight loss surgery, classes and support groups available and “survival skills.”
  • Scheduling of your initial testing and lab work.
  • Step Four: Completion of supervised, approved weight-loss plan. Most insurance providers require documentation evidencing that you have followed a medically supervised weight loss program for at least six months prior to surgery. We can help you with that requirement.

    Step Five: Nutrition and exercise consultation. Our dietitian will meet with you to discuss life after bariatric surgery, including changes to your digestive system and nutritional requirements; the use of multiple vitamin and mineral supplements; the importance of protein and adequate fluid intake; and any other concerns you may have. We also will discuss with you the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle and make suggestions for appropriate exercise and fitness routines. This is part of our multi-disciplinary approach, a critical component for weight loss success.

    Step Six: Psychological evaluation. Our behavioral health specialist will meet with you at least twice prior to weight loss surgery to confirm that you are a good candidate for surgery and to help you establish a better understanding of the behavioral changes essential for long-term success. Meeting with a psychologist or psychiatrist before weight loss surgery is a requirement of most insurance carriers.

    Step Seven: Clinical clearance and lab tests. Prior to surgery you will go through pre-operative testing which includes meeting with your anesthesiologist and undergoing lab work. You also will have an electrocardiogram (EKG) and/or a chest x-ray (CXR). You also will receive general information about what to expect throughout your hospital stay.

    Step Eight: Insurance authorization. Once you have met the above requirements, we will work with your insurance company to obtain authorization for surgery.

    Step Nine: Pre-operative education. We will meet with you prior to surgery to provide you with important pre-surgical instructions and to help you better understand what to expect following surgery.

    Step Ten: Surgery. With no complications, you can expect to go home the same day of your band procedure; be in the hospital one night for a sleeve gastrectomy and two nights for a gastric bypass procedure. After being released from the hospital, you remain under our watchful care.

    Your journey doesn’t end with surgery. Follow-up care is a critical component of the treatment process. I’ll discuss the specifics of that aspect of treatment in another post.

    If you’re ready to take the first step, attend one of our free seminars to see if bariatric surgery is right for you.