Wondering what the pre-procedure process is if you’re interesting in undergoing bariatric surgery? We’re here to help. At Foothills Weight Loss Specialists in Knoxville, preparing for bariatric surgery involves nine steps:

1. Educational Seminar
2. Verification of insurance benefits
3. Initial consultation with surgeon, financial counselor and patient advocate
4. Completion of supervised, approved weight loss plan
5. Nutrition and exercise consultation
6. Psychological evaluation
7. Clinical clearance and lab tests
8. Insurance authorization
9. Pre-operative education

safe_image“Our goal is to provide education, resources and support to our patients every step of the way as they prepare for bariatric surgery,” says Foothills Weight Loss Surgeon Dr. Mark Colquitt. “These steps are important to ensuring that patient is highly involved in the process, aware of their role in preparation and equipped with the tools and knowledge they need for a positive experience.”

If you are interested in having bariatric surgery, you will first need to attend one of our educational seminars. These seminars are free, and will give you insight on the types of surgeries, while also giving you the opportunity to meet other patients and our team.

Once you’ve attended a seminar and decide you would like to pursue the bariatric surgery process, our team will verify your insurance benefits for weight loss surgery.

Determining your insurance benefits

Bariatric surgery is covered by most insurance companies, however, patients must check with their employer to learn if bariatric procedures are included in their particular company’s plan. Our team works directly with you and your insurance company to determine your coverage your carrier’s requirements for covering bariatric surgery.

“We understand that navigating insurance benefits can be challenging, which is why our team is here to help you every step of the way,” explains Foothills Weight Loss surgeon Dr. Jonathan Ray.

Meet with our team

You’re now ready to meet with our team! First, you will consult with one of our surgeons. Dr. Colquitt or Dr. Ray will review your social, family and medical history, and discuss why you’d like to have bariatric surgery. When they have determined that the surgery is right for you, you’ll meet with our on-site financial counselor to go over costs, insurance benefits and payment options.

Our patient advocate will then walk you through the weight loss surgery process, including the classes and support groups offered by our team.

Beginning your weight loss plan

“We want to help our patients in their journey to a healthier life by setting them up for success. Our staff will help you meet the common requirement of following a medically supervised weight-loss program before surgery. Typically, this takes around six months,” says Dr. Ray.

Building blocks to a healthy lifestyle

Nutritional and fitness counseling are also common requirements in process of bariatric surgery.

“Before surgery, our goal is to help you learn about how nutrition and exercise habits will play a role in your weight loss success. Our dietitian will educate you on how nutrition affects your body and digestive health post surgery, and address any questions you may have,” says Dr. Colquitt.

Mental health is also an important component prior to surgery. After your nutrition and exercise consultation, we require you to complete a psychological evaluation with a psychologist of psychiatrist. The psychological exam is coordinated for the you by our team.

Clinical clearance and lab tests

Pre-operative testing is an important part of undergoing most surgical procedures. This step includes:
• Lab work
• Meeting with anesthesiologist
• Electrocardiogram (EKG) and/or chest x-ray (CXR)

Final steps before surgery

You’re now in the final phase of your path to bariatric surgery! After you’ve completed the requirements above, we will be able to receive approval and clearance for your procedure. The last important step before surgery is your pre-surgery meeting. Like with many surgical procedures, there are certain things you can and cannot do in the weeks and days leading up to (and on) your surgery day. Our team will cover what you should bring, eat, and activities to avoid prior to surgery.

“The path to weight loss surgery is lengthy and crucial, often lasting between three and six months,” says Dr. Colquitt. “However, our multidisciplinary approach is designed this way to ensure a rewarding and successful procedure, and healthy future for our patients.”

Our multidisciplinary weight loss team includes a surgeon, behavioral health psychiatrist, bariatric coordinators, an exercise physiologist, a patient advocate, a registered dietician, designated care coordinators and the patient.

If you are interested in beginning the journey to weight loss surgery, do not hesitate to give Foothills Weight Loss Specialists in Knoxville a call at 865-984-3413.