Steps to Surgery

Our Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons bariatric surgery process:

  • Before surgery: Months
  • Surgery: Minutes
  • After surgery: Lifetime

Weight loss surgery is no quick fix or silver bullet. The process leading up to surgery takes months, and then it takes a lifetime commitment to maintain the results achieved from surgery.

Step One: Educational Info seminar.

Your first step begins with attending or watching online a free educational seminar, where you’ll learn about your surgical weight loss options and meet other patients and our staff.

Learn more about upcoming seminars and registration information here.

Step Two: Verification of insurance benefits.

It is the patient’s responsibility to verify insurance coverage.  Call your insurance and find out if there is an exclusion to bariatric surgery with your plan. You may be asked to provide CPT and ICD 10 codes which are as follows:

CPT: 43775,43644

ICD 10: E66.01

Policy Exclusions

The first step in reviewing your policy is to determine if your policy has an exclusion. Exclusions are medical services not covered by an individual’s insurance policy. Your company’s policy may exclude bariatric surgery even though your parent insurance company does not.

Commercial insurance plans, Medicare, Medicaid, and most managed-care Medicaid plans DO COVER weight loss surgery.  Unfortunately, marketplace policies purchased by individuals under the Affordable Care Act exclude weight loss surgery.

We wish that everyone had access to life-saving surgical weight loss procedures, and maybe someday that will happen. In the meantime, patients with an exclusion have 2 options:

  • Consider self-paying for surgery
  • Discuss a more affordable option such as one of our appetite suppression programs
Step Three: Initial consultation with our Surgeon and Patient Advocate.

This is an important step that consists of the following:

  • The initial consult with your surgeon includes a review of your social, family and medical history and the reasons you are pursuing bariatric surgery. This information helps our surgeon determine if weight loss surgery is the right tool for you.
  • You will meet our Patient Advocate to discuss the costs associated with your surgery, your available insurance benefits and payment options.
  • Your Patient Advocate will review the details of your surgical process and get acquainted with our Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons staff. Your Patient Advocate also will explain our program philosophy, the processes to weight loss surgery, classes and available support groups 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 showing 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.

Foothills now offers a medically supervised Weight Loss Management Program with certified Nurse Practioner, Wendy Heidel.  Learn more by visiting the WEIGHT LOSS MANAGMENT webpage.

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 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.

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) and will receive general information about what to expect throughout your hospital stay.

Step Eight: Insurance authorization.

Once you have met the requirements above, we will work with your insurance company to obtain your 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 Day.

You will arrive at the hospital or surgery center two hours before your procedure is scheduled. Family members or friends may accompany you. You will receive a pre-operative injection of medicine to relieve anxiety.

You will begin in a holding room, where an IV will be placed in your arm. You will receive pre-operative medications and have a brief consultation with your surgeon.
Once you are in the operating room, you will be transferred from your holding room bed to the operating table, where you will receive anesthesia. Your operating room is equipped with state-of-the-art technology to monitor all your vital signs throughout the procedure. Your anesthesiologist will constantly monitor the appropriate level of anesthesia with a special machine.

Following surgery, you will be taken to the Recovery Room for continuous monitoring. You will be given medication through an IV for pain control. You also will receive oxygen. Most patients are in recovery for about two hours.

With no complications, you can expect to be in the hospital one night for a Sleeve Gastrectomy or Gastric Bypass and two nights for a Dueodenal Switch procedure. After being released from the hospital, you remain under our watchful care.

Step Eleven: Follow-up care.

Our team provides comprehensive follow-up care, one of the most important factors for weight loss success. We are with you every step of the way through regularly scheduled office visits and three support groups per month.

Our behavioral health specialist will work to help you maintain healthy lifestyle habits, including proper diet and a good exercise program.

Office Visits

Gastric bypass and gastric sleeve patients will visit our offices at intervals of one week, one month, three months, six months, 12 months, 18 months, and then annually.

During office visits, you will receive ongoing medical examinations from your surgeon including routine monitoring of weight loss, nutritional status and any post-operative problems. You also will have blood tests and clinical monitoring in specialized labs and ongoing education from your dietician.

Regular, consistent follow-ups with your surgeon are vital to your success and should be continued long term for the best possible results. Our Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons team offers lifetime patient support.

Support Groups

Our support groups offer an excellent opportunity for you to meet with your peers to discuss your struggles and your triumphs in a supportive, non-threatening environment. For a schedule of support group meetings, click here.