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Preparation for Bariatric Surgery

Approval From Your Insurance Company May Be Slow

Throughout the process of preparing for your surgery, we'll act as if your insurance company will approve the procedure. However, you might not receive your insurance approval right away. Don't panic. It can take awhile. You may schedule your operation on the next available day. Please don't call to see if your paperwork has arrived. It can easily take four weeks and we will call you if we are missing anything. It may feel like a long time, but believe us: we are scheduling things in the shortest time possible. In the mean time, the following are ways you can prepare.

Physical Preparation

As with any other major surgery, there are many things you can do to prepare for a successful operation. But please confirm these steps with your surgeon!

  • Most important: Understand the risks and potential benefits and follow your doctor's instructions.

  • Stop smoking. Smoking always injures your stomach and intestines. By agreeing to have surgery, you agree to quit smoking forever and at least 6 weeks before surgery.

  • Follow your surgeon's directions about taking your regular medications.

Complete All Tests Requested Before Surgery

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)

  • Urinalysis

  • Chemistry Panel, which gives a readout of about 20 blood chemistry values

  • Often a Glucose Tolerance Test is done to evaluate for diabetes

  • Chest X-ray

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)

  • Many surgeons ask for a gallbladder ultrasound to look for gallstones

  • Other tests, such as pulmonary function testing, echocardiogram, sleep studies, GI evaluation, cardiology evaluation, or psychiatric evaluation, may be requested when indicated

Prepare Mentally

Unlike some other types of surgery, bariatric surgery leads to inevitable emotional changes and challenges. After all, it changes the way you live your life. That's why at Strong Health, we consider your psychological evaluation an important part of the pre-surgery meetings. The psychological visit will help you prepare for your new lifestyle. Here are some other steps you can take to minimize the stress of these changes.

  • Understand the surgery. Research the procedure. Read the fine print.

  • Speak with patients who have had the procedure. Discuss it in detail with your surgeon.

  • Work with your doctor and other patients to form realistic expectations of the outcome.

  • Start a journal. Jot down how you feel now, current obstacles and challenges in your life, and your hopes for the future.

  • Recruit support. Ask your friends and family to put their backing in writing.

Build a Network of Support

You'll have a greater chance of long-term success if you surround yourself with people who understand and support your goals. To help them help you:

  • Make sure your friends and family members understand why you've chosen a surgical solution.

  • Direct them to this web site and others listed in our resources section.

  • Explain that morbid obesity is a disease and diets don't work for you.

  • If the people close to you seem to discourage weight loss, or are not acting supportive, remember: they probably see your weight as part of your identity and they are afraid of change. Remember, you are not alone. There are knowledgeable, friendly people here at Highland available to support and help you.

    • Discuss your reasons for having surgery. Explain that your health is at stake and you are counting on them to help you during and after surgery.

    • Attend support groups in person and online.

    • Surround yourself with people who share your situation. Ask questions in a supportive environment.

    • Form a network of friends to share experiences, recipes, and exercise tips.