Preparing for Surgery
Along your journey to a healthier and more active lifestyle, there are changes that need to be made. Our program is designed to identify some of those changes and help you make them! The first step in deciding whether weight loss surgery is right for you is to educate yourself with a thorough understanding of the risks and benefits of the surgical procedure. Talking to your primary care physician, physician specialist or family physician is a good next step.
Be aware, there is a lot of misinformation about weight loss surgery, so be sure you talk to qualified sources that can help you make an informed decision. It can also be helpful to talk with others who have taken the path you are now considering – so you will know more about the personal commitment required to successfully achieve weight loss through surgery. In the end, your best source for information is an experienced bariatric surgeon who knows how to handle your special needs before, during, and after weight loss surgery.
Weight loss surgery is major surgery. Although most patients enjoy an improvement in obesity-related health conditions after the successful results of weight loss surgery, these results should not be the overriding motivation for having the procedure.
The goal is to live better, healthier and longer
That is why you should make the decision to have weight loss surgery only after careful consideration and consultation with an experienced bariatric surgeon or a knowledgeable family physician. Our experienced bariatric surgeons can answer your questions clearly and explain the exact details of the procedure, the extent of the recovery period and the reality of the follow-up care that will be required.
An important part of the Surgical Weight Loss Solution process is a psychological evaluation. This is to help establish a clear understanding of the post-operative changes in behavior that are essential for long-term success.
It is important to remember that there are no ironclad guarantees of any kind in medicine or surgery. There can be unexpected outcomes in even the simplest procedures. What can be said, however, is that weight loss surgery can only succeed when the patient makes a lifelong commitment. Some of the challenges facing a person after weight loss surgery can be unexpected. Lifestyle changes can strain relationships within families and between married couples. To help patients achieve their goals and deal with the changes surgery and weight loss can bring, the Surgical Weight Loss Solution program offers follow-up care that includes support groups, dieticians and other forms of continuing education.
The decision to have bariatric surgery is entirely up to you and your surgeon. After having heard all the information, you must decide if the benefits outweigh the side effects and potential complications. Surgery is only a tool. Your ultimate success depends on strict adherence to the recommended dietary, exercise and lifestyle changes.
Checklist for Insurance Approval
The following is a checklist you can use to ensure you have the information needed to get your surgery approved.
Check your benefits. Call the customer service number at your insurance company, and ask for the benefits department. Ask if you have benefits for bariatric surgery. This information can also be found written in your policy on the exclusions page. You may be asked for CPT Codes, which are:
- Lap Banding 43770
- Sleeve Gastrectomy 43633
- Gastric Bypass 43644
This exam is used to determine that a patient does not have any underlying medical conditions that would prohibit them from having surgery. A letter/copy of the exam notes needs to be sent to our office after each exam is complete.
Pre-operative Lab Work
Each patient will be asked to have labwork completed, with a copy of your results sent to our office upon completion.
You will be asked to provide documentation of all recent medically supervised weight loss attempts. Most insurance companies require proof that you have tried physician-supervised weight loss attempts. We will review your insurance company requirements with you at you initial consultation visit. The weight loss attempts do not have to involve medication. They will need to include exercise, low calorie diets, and behavior modification.
Medical records are essential to establishing medical necessity. Any visits to a doctor, surgeries, lab results, diagnostic procedures and ER visits should be included. Request records pertaining to your weight and any conditions worsened by your weight, such as hypertension, diabetes, degenerative joint disease, etc. We need records dating back five years, unless insurance indicates a need for more.
A preoperative psychological evaluation is an essential part of preparing for weight loss surgery. The importance of obtaining a thorough psychological assessment cannot be overstated. A detailed clinical interview and objectively scored psychological tests should be part of a comprehensive psychological evaluation. Many insurance companies require an evaluation for benefits and our surgeons require an evaluation for all patients.
Preparation for Surgery
The best way to prepare for surgery is to make sure you understand everything you can about your procedure. Our team is here to help you achieve your goals and to support you as you prepare for this exciting change in your life. Here are some suggestions that you can begin to work on right away.
- Gradually decrease the amount of caffeine you consume. Patients who stop caffeine suddenly at the time of surgery may experience withdrawal symptoms such as intense headaches. Remember there is a significant amount of caffeine in coffee, tea and many soft drinks.
- If you drink carbonated beverages, now is the time to stop. Why? When a cold compressed gas (carbonation) hits a 99.5 degree closed system (your stomach) it expands. That can be very problematic, especially after surgery.
- Start a program of aerobic activity such as walking or swimming for 20 minutes, four times a week. BUT, get a physician’s approval before you start any program involving physical exertion!
- Stop smoking. Cigarettes interfere with your lung’s ability to exchange oxygen, and nicotine can impair circulation, which can impede healing after surgery and increase the chance of infection.
- Reduce the amount of refined carbohydrates you consume. Refined carbohydrates include foods such as white rice, pasta and cookies.