Steps for Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery requires a commitment to lifestyle changes, and to the preparation necessary to ensure your safety and success.

The Surgical Process

Step 1: Attend our Patient Education Seminar.

Our Patient Education Seminar orients you to the types of surgeries available, the risks and benefits, and the steps you will take on your way to surgery. Prior to the seminar, you will watch an online educational video about bariatric surgery informed decision making.

Step 2: Consult with one of our surgeons.

Typically 1-2 weeks after the seminar.

After you have attended the seminar, you may request a consult with one of our bariatric surgeons. You will be contacted within 48 hours of the seminar to schedule this appointment. At your consultation, you will undergo an examination, discuss your surgical options with your surgeon, and have the opportunity to ask questions. At the conclusion of your consultation, a Care Coordinator will give you a checklist of pre-operative tests you will be required to complete before you can proceed.

Prior to your consult, you will watch two online educational videos regarding the surgeries.

Step 3: Attend Nutrition and Behavior Modification classes.

Held each Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. You will be scheduled for these classes after your consultation.

Step 4: Consult with a Dietitian and Mental Health Professional.

Typically 1-2 weeks after the Nutrition and Behavior class.

You will see one of our Registered Dietitians and Licensed Clinical Social Workers for an assessment. These appointments are usually scheduled back-to-back on the same day.

Step 5: Complete preliminary tests, screening, and obtain any necessary clearances.

Typically takes 3-6 weeks.

Your checklist of pre-operative tests includes:

  • Vitamins A, D, E and K, B1, B12-folic acid assessment, so deficiencies can be treated before surgery if needed (E, K, B1 and B12 recommended)
  • Iron and zinc levels (pre-operative correction if appropriate)
  • Thyroid stimulating hormone
  • Gastrointestinal evaluation including abdominal ultrasound, gallbladder evaluation and upper endoscopy with biopsy for H. pylori
  • Drug screen
  • Nicotine screen
  • Smoking cessation for 8 weeks if indicated
  • Dexa scan of lumbar spine and hip in estrogen-deficient patients (post-menopausal females) and individuals who are at risk for metabolic bone disease
  • Sleep apnea evaluation if sleep apnea is known or suspected
  • Cardiology testing
  • Electrocardiography
  • Echocardiography
  • Pulmonary testing
  • Chest radiography
  • Clearance from your physician and/or psychiatrist

Step 6: Multidisciplinary review.

The multidisciplinary committee meets every Friday afternoon.

Once you have completed steps 1-5, your case will be brought to our multidisciplinary committee for review.

Step 7: Insurance Authorization

Takes 5-30 days, depending on the insurance company.

If the multidisciplinary committee approves you for surgery, we will begin the authorization process with your insurance company.

Step 8: Attend Pre-operative Education Class.

Once authorization for the surgical procedure has been obtained from your insurance company, you will be scheduled for surgery. One to two weeks before your scheduled surgery date, you will attend a Pre-operative Education Class.

Step 9: Complete pre-operative workup.

Before your surgery, you will undergo another set of tests and screens. These must be completed at least 5 business days prior to your scheduled surgery. They include:

  • History and physical exam
  • Complete blood count
  • Comprehensive metabolic panel (including liver profile)
  • C-reactive protein
  • Beta HcG (for menstruating women)
  • Prothrombin time (INR) and Partial Thromboplastin time
  • Urinalysis
  • Nicotine screen
  • Blood type and screen

Step 10: Surgery.

The surgery will take between 1-3 hours, and your hospital stay will be between 1-2 nights, depending on the procedure.

Step 11: Follow-up Visits.

Follow-up is critical to both your safety, and long-term success. Your visits will be:

For Gastric Bypass:

  • 1 week post-operative checkup
  • 30-day follow-up
  • Every 3 months for the 1st year
  • 18-month follow-up
  • 24-month follow-up
  • Annually thereafter

For Adjustable Gastric Band:

  • 1-week post-operative checkup
  • 45-day follow-up for first fill
  • Monthly visits in the first year to assess whether adjustments are necessary
  • 18-month follow-up
  • 24-month follow-up
  • Annually thereafter

Lab tests will need to be completed prior to each visit.

How much time will this process take?

The entire process, from consultation to surgery, generally takes 3-4 months to complete. It can take more or less time, depending on your availability and insurance requirements.