Choosing Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery may be the most effective long-term treatment for those suffering from obesity and its related diseases; however, any major surgical procedure, no matter how effective, can be daunting. It can take many failed diet and exercise programs and years of frustration before a patient considers bariatric surgery. Indeed, the choice is a very personal one and ultimately rests on the patient with the support of their medical team and those that are affected by their decision.
Step 1: Attend a Seminar
The first step in the decision-making process is research. This can include spending time on the Internet learning more about the procedures available to you. Of course, everyone’s circumstance is different, so any conclusions you reach may change based on a consultation with your surgeon and medical team. You will attend a free weight loss surgery seminar held by our practice. Doing so will allow you to learn more about the weight loss surgery options available to you as well as to meet the team that will be taking care of you before and after surgery. You will find out, preliminarily, if you qualify for bariatric surgery and explore the possible options for payment, which may include insurance, financing or cash pay. This may also be the time to discuss bariatric surgery as an option with your primary care physician who will work with us to expedite the pre-op process. Attending a bariatric surgery support group can also give you an idea of post-bariatric surgery life and the challenges and opportunities our patients face.
Step 2: Consultation
The next step is to schedule a consultation with one of our bariatric surgeons. This is a very important and required step in the bariatric surgery process as it will offer the perspective we need to finalize your treatment plan and to help you decide which procedure.
At this visit, your physician will explain the surgery in detail as well as the risks, benefits and alternatives. He will talk about what you should expect after your surgery. He will also discuss the BEGIN Program, the importance of nutrition, exercise and joining a local support group. After talking with your physician, you will be asked to:
- complete a five year diet history
- sign a medical release and take to your other physicians documenting your weight history and other co-morbid conditions
- be aware of the requirement to complete the BEGIN Program at Mobile Infirmary Medical Center prior to surgery
- join a local bariatric support group
You will meet with our bariatric coordinator to discuss your insurance company’s specific requirements and surgical copays.
Once we receive preapproval for your surgery, our office will call to schedule your BEGIN appointment.
Step 3: Set Up Visit!
You will be seen by our physician to review your records, discuss the surgical procedure again, and answer any questions you have. On this visit you will also:
- Be required to pass a written test about bariatric surgery and post-operative instruction
- Schedule your preoperative clearance labs and X-rays
- Schedule pulmonary or cardiac clearance if indicated
- Pay patient portion (copays and deductibles) due for surgeon’s fee when applicable
- Satisfy Mobile Infirmary’s financial requirements
You will be admitted to the hospital the morning of surgery, unless your medical condition warrants you being admitted the night before surgery. Your hospital stay will be two to five days for gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy and overnight for Adjustable Gastric Banding (AGB).
Please note that your account must be in good standing with our office and the hospital or your surgery may be cancelled.
Step 3: Surgery!
If all pre-op testing comes back within limits, your next step is surgery.
We encourage our patients to educate themselves as much as they can before any surgical procedure. It is often patients with the least knowledge about their condition and procedure that are most apprehensive about surgery. We also want our prospective patients to take their time, ensuring they’ve asked all their questions at a seminar or consultation and completely understand their payment responsibilities, expectations for surgery and responsibilities after surgery.
The decision to undergo bariatric surgery is not easy, but it doesn’t have to be agonizing. With the support of our office and the loved ones and friends around you, we are confident that you will make the choice, surgery or not, that is best for you and your health.