Specialty Centers  > Bariatric Services/Weight Management Center  > Program Overview  > Before Surgery 

Before Surgery

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I'm considering weight loss surgery. What’s the first step?

Your first step is to attend one of our free, bimonthly patient education seminars. For upcoming seminar dates and times, see our Seminar & News page, At the seminar you will learn detailed information about weight loss surgery, so you can decide if weight loss surgery is right for you. We encourage you to bring a family friend or family member. Attendance at a seminar is required before making your first appointment at the Weight Management Center.

Will my insurance cover weight loss surgery?

Review your insurance information to see if your plan covers weight loss surgery. You may look at your insurance plan’s exclusions section to determine if it is not a covered benefit. You may also call the number if the back of your card to speak with a customer service representative from your insurance company.

Many insurance companies do cover the surgery because they understand the health benefits and decreased medical costs for beneficiaries after surgery. Some companies may deny the first request for surgery, but will reconsider if you file an appeal.

Do I need to involve my primary care physician?

You need the approval of your primary care physician. We ask that you have them write a letter supporting your decision to have weight loss surgery.

What happens at my first appointment at the Weight Management Center?

At your first appointment you will meet with the surgeon, nurse practitioner and dietitian. If you have not had a recent physical examination you will need to have one. If the surgeon feels it’s needed, he will refer you to specialists like a cardiologist, pulmonologist, or sleep specialist to assess certain medical conditions and determine how your body will tolerate surgery. Bring a family member or friend with you. We want to also educate them on how to help support you before and after surgery.

What other evaluations are required?

National guidelines and most insurance companies require patients to complete a psychological exam before having weight loss surgery. The goals of the evaluation are:

  • Determine coping skills and resources that will help you have a healthier lifestyle and positive outlook
  • Seek healthier ways to replace dependence on food as a coping mechanism
  • Make certain you are prepared for surgery and the challenges you will face after surgery
  • Identify emotional problems that may slow your recovery

How long will it be until I actually have the surgery?

That will depend in large part on your insurance company. Some companies require patients to have completed three or six months of medically managed weight loss without success before they will approve surgery. Many patients have already completed that attempt at weight loss with their primary care physician and can provide sufficient documentation to their insurance company.

When do I have to change my diet?

About one month before surgery you will be placed on a low carbohydrate, Atkins-type diet. The purpose of this diet is to shrink your liver, which maximizes the chance your surgery can be performed laparascopically. The dietitian will explain the general pre-surgical and post-surgical dietary requirements at the seminar. She will also meet with you individually before surgery to insure you understand the vital importance of following the diet guidelines.Work Out photo

How do I prepare emotionally for surgery?

We require patients to begin attending our Bari-Buddies Support Group at least one month before surgery. You will meet others like yourself who are preparing for surgery. You will also meet people who had surgery very recently, as well as those who had their surgery years ago. You will learn that your feelings and experiences are similar to those of others, and you will be motivated and mentored by the “experts” who have successfully lost their excess weight and begun a new life.