Who qualifies for Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric Surgery is not for everyone. A key indicator for necessary treatment is the patient’s body mass index (BMI). Patients with a BMI higher than 35 (with a significant co-morbid condition) or over 40, are generally candidates for surgery. We also consider the patient’s overall health and lifestyle. You may need to meet certain medical guidelines to qualify for surgery, and you must be willing to make permanent changes that lead to a healthier life.
Will my insurance cover Bariatric Surgery?
Most insurance companies do provide coverage for Bariatric surgery if there is a legitimate medical reason to perform the surgery, as well as reasonable expectations that the patient’s health will improve with weight loss. Because each insurance provider supplies a range of policies and covered services, it is necessary to obtain information specific to you and your individual policy. With a small amount of information, our Insurance Coordinator can contact your insurance company to obtain the specifics on your policy. Please note that if your policy states there is a “general exclusion” for Bariatric surgery, it will not cover your procedure.
What if my insurance company will not cover my surgery?
We have programs and financing available through our office, as well as through the medical facility where your procedure will be preformed. If you have questions about self pay options, please contact our office for more information.
How much weight can I be expected to lose after Bariatric Surgery?
Please keep in mind that the typical active weight-loss period following surgery is approximately 12-24 months. During that time, you must reduce your caloric intake, increase physical activity and learn your own requirements for weight management. Remember that Bariatric Surgery is not a cure! It is a tool to help you achieve weight loss goals. The amount of weight lost is determined by your diet, lifestyle changes, behavior modifications, and overall health. It is also important to set realistic expectations when it comes to weight loss.
What dietary and lifestyle changes are recommended to Bariatric patients after surgery?
Prior to surgery, every patient will have a dietary consultation with a Registered Dietician who will appropriately guide you to a “new normal” with your diet and ensure you are prepared for both the pre and post op diets. You will receive a manual, which includes what foods to eat, as well as to avoid, and at what stage you can safely add foods back into your diet after surgery.
A few helpful tips we give to our patients include the following:
- Plan meals ahead of time
- Eat Slowly
- Chew your food thoroughly
- Take small bites
- Avoid any other activity while eating, such as watching TV, driving, talking on the phone, or reading
- Keep a food journal of what you are eating and drinking
- Try to get at least 30 minutes of light exercise in every day, such as walking.
- Do not drink with meals, and stop drinking approximately 30 minutes prior to eating
How long is the hospital stay following Bariatric Surgery?
The length of your hospital stay will vary. Typically, all Bariatric patients return home within 24-48 hours after their procedure. Please take into account that your specific health conditions may affect your length of stay in the hospital. Patients with Sleep Apnea, or any other significant health problems may have to stay an extra night in the hospital. We want to make sure you are up and able to be mobile, tolerating your diet and feeling well before you are discharged from the hospital.
When can I return to work following Bariatric Surgery?
Average time off is approximately 1-2 weeks. Your return to work is dependent on what your specific job entails. If you have a strenuous job, such as a job that requires a lot of heavy lifting, you may need to take additional time off of work. Please discuss this with your surgeon and ask when you can expect to return to work.
How often will I need to see my surgeon following my procedure?
All Sleeve, Bypass and Switch patients are seen 7-10 days after being discharged from the hospital, one month after surgery, every 3 months (with a set of labs), and then once a year (with labs) for the rest of your life. For Gastric Band, patients are seen at the one week mark, the one month mark, and then approximately every 4-6 weeks, as needed for fills. It is important to stick to the follow-up schedule to make sure your incisions are healing properly and you are tolerating and advancing your diet, losing weight appropriately, and staying on track with your weight loss. Remember, we are here to help and guide you on your journey to achieving weight-loss success!
What if I have already had a Bariatric Procedure?
As with all types of Bariatric Surgery, weight loss is not guaranteed and weight regain is always a possibility. At our facility, we offer continuation of care and revisional weight loss procedures. If a weight loss procedure does not work for you or if you are experiencing inadequate weight loss or complications, there are options to get you back on track. If you have already undergone Bariatric Surgery at another facility and are interested in continuing your care or having a revisional procedure with our surgeons, please contact our office.
How do I get started in the process for Bariatric Surgery?
Every patient is asked to attend one of our free informational seminars, prior to meeting with the surgeon. We have in-person seminars that are held at Memorial Hospital three times a month as well as an online seminar. The purpose of the seminar is to give patients a better understanding of the Bariatric procedures that we offer, educate them about our program, and provide them with an opportunity to ask questions. We will also collect your insurance information to verify you have coverage for your anticipated procedure.
To register for a live seminar, please visit our website for upcoming dates and call our office to register. To watch the online seminar, please visit the Online Seminars section and watch the three videos. After watching the videos, click on the “Bariatric Follow-Up Form” to input your contact and insurance information. After our office receives your form, our Bariatric Insurance Coordinator will call your insurance company to verify your coverage. After talking with your insurance company, we will call you to discuss your benefits, as well as set up your appointment with the surgeon. As always, please contact our office if you have any questions or need more information.