Bariatric Surgery: What to Expect
What can I do to prepare?
Deciding to have Bariatric Surgery is a major life decision. You can best prepare by knowing the benefits and risks of surgery and by closely following the instructions we provide.
You will undergo a series of interviews, consultations and evaluations to make sure that you are both a good candidate for a procedure and that you are prepared for it. Our program emphasizes a personal approach in the setting of the highest standards of care.
Some things to expect:
- An initial consult with the surgeon.
- Lab studies.
- Psychiatric evaluation: This helps to identify any major psychiatric problems and to make sure patients have reasonable expectations, acceptable coping skills, and a good support system. Patients with psychiatric illnesses are still candidates but must have their conditions well managed and under control. This is required by all insurance companies.
- Nutrition consultation: A registered dietician will hold educational classes multiple times a month to makes sure you understand the important nutritional component of having this procedure and the nutritional impact and limitations of surgery.
- EGD or Swallow Study: Depending on what your surgeon decides is necessary for you an EGD or swallow study will be ordered. An esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is an endoscopic examination of the lining of your esophagus, stomach, and upper duodenum with a small camera and is performed to determine if you have other disease or have a hiatal hernia. A swallow study is where you swallow a small amount of liquid and pictures are taken under fluoroscopy, as it travels down your throat and into your stomach.
- Pulmonary consultation: Many patients have undiagnosed sleep apnea and it may be necessary to evaluate and treat this prior to surgery.
- Cardiology consultation: This is sometimes ordered depending on your age and risk factors.
- Non-operative weight loss: You will be expected to maintain your weight prior to surgery. Due to more strict insurance guidelines, your procedure may be cancelled if you gain a large amount of weight.
You must realize that you will eat normally after the procedure just in small amounts. If you treat every meal like it is your last in the preoperative period, you will prove to us that you do not understand the eating process for the postoperative period.
Once all the consultations have been obtained, the office will then get preauthorization from your insurance company to ensure payment for the procedure. At that time a date will be set.
To mentally prepare yourself:
- Understand the surgery and what to expect afterward – do your research and ask questions
- Talk to others who have had bariatric (weight loss) surgery -come to a support group
- Start a journal; record how you feel now, the challenges you face, and the things you hope to be able to do after surgery
- Keep in mind that you’ll never be able to eat the way you did before, and that you’ll have to watch the way you eat for the rest of your life
- Get a promise of support from your friends or family; in addition to the staff who are here to guide and support you in your journey, it helps to know you have people behind you, ready to help
- Learn about resources, such as our support groups, for those who have undergone weight loss surgery