Bariatric Surgery Process

Bariatric Surgery Seminar and Consultation

The bariatric surgery process at the DMC begins when you attend one of our informational seminars, either online or in-person at one of our locations in the Metro Detroit area. Bariatric surgery seminars provide an opportunity for you to learn about the bariatric procedures available (including risks, benefits and payment options) and address any questions or concerns you may have. Afterwards, you may choose to move to a one-on-one consultation with a surgeon, at which time your personal health and desired outcomes will be reviewed.

Begin Your Online Seminar

If you and your surgeon decide that a particular type of treatment is right for you, a process of preliminary steps lasting one to two months will begin. During this time, preoperative tests will be conducted and all insurance authorizations will be completed. Total time from consultation to the actual surgery date will vary and largely depends on your individual insurance plan requirements.

Medical Tests

Undergoing bariatric surgery is a significant step for any patient, so the staff at each physician’s office goes to great lengths to ensure you are a suitable candidate and are prepared for your procedure.

To avoid complications, we perform several tests to evaluate your overall health. These include:

  • Blood work
  • Urinalysis
  • Chest x-ray
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Psychological assessment

Due to insurance requirements or physician requests, some patients may need to undergo additional tests, such as:

  • Cardiology evaluation
  • GI evaluation
  • Pulmonology evaluation
  • Sleep study

Mental Health Evaluation

Physical health is the first step in the preparation process, but mental health is equally important. Before receiving clearance to move forward with surgery, you will meet with members of our team to review your expectations, your commitment to a healthy lifestyle, and methods on how to cope with the changes surgery brings.

While preparing for bariatric surgery, patients will meet with:

  • Registered Dietitians
  • Psychologists
  • And other specialists when needed

These individuals can assist in making a determination about overall eligibility. In some cases, numerous appointments may be required.

Lifestyle Changes

Bariatric surgery, while extremely effective, requires diligence and commitment from patients in order to see the best possible results. Many medical professionals encourage patients to make changes before surgery to ensure better adjustment immediately after surgery, and on an ongoing basis for the remainder of your life.

Increased Exercise

Exercise is an important part of maximizing results from bariatric surgery. Walking, jogging, yoga and cardio are recommended to help patients get used to making exercise a habit. Due to physical limitations, incorporating exercise prior to surgery may be challenging for some patients. In this case, any effort made toward creating healthy and active lifestyle habits is helpful.

Altered Diet

For some surgical procedures, like gastric bypass, eating poorly can lead to dumping syndrome. Dumping syndrome is a highly unpleasant side effect which can lead to digestive problems, nausea, and vomiting. Before surgery, a dietitian will draw up a custom eating plan for patients to follow, often including high-protein, low-fat meals and meal replacement protein shakes. A custom eating plan can help adjust eating habits and facilitate weight loss. Weight loss can reduce fat surrounding the liver and spleen, which minimizes the risk of complications during surgery.

Post-operative Care

The procedure you undergo, as well as your overall health and wellness, will help determine the length of your hospital stay.

You will receive in-depth instructions from your bariatric surgeon that outline how to care for yourself after your procedure. These instructions will include information on medication dosage and diet.

You'll be scheduled for a number of follow-up appointments at your surgeon’s office during the first year after your weight loss surgery. You are also encouraged to meet regularly with your primary care physician to monitor your progress.

Making the Bariatric Surgery Decision – Use Our BMI Calculator

Body Mass Index (BMI) may be a helpful indicator for body fat, based on a height/weight ratio. Your doctor may consider BMI as one way to know if you’re a candidate for weight loss surgery. BMI is not a determination of health, although it may indicate a weight category that can lead to health problems.

Criteria for Bariatric Surgery

You've Struggled with Obesity for A Long Time

Weight loss surgery is designed for people who have been overweight or obese for years. In many cases, bariatric surgery patients have spent their entire adult life dealing with excess pounds.

You Have a Body Mass Index Over 40 (or 35+ with Co-Morbid Conditions)

One significant criteria for bariatric surgery is a high body mass index, or BMI. Generally speaking, you need to have a BMI of 40 or higher to be considered for weight loss surgery like gastric bypass, while a BMI of 30 or greater is needed to qualify for procedures like the gastric band.

It's important to note that patients who have a BMI between 35 and 40 along with one or more comorbid conditions (conditions related to being overweight or obese) may also meet the criteria for bariatric surgery. Examples of obesity-related comorbid conditions include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), obstructive sleep apnea, or heart disease.

Your Previous Attempts to Lose Weight May Have Been Unsuccessful

One qualifier for bariatric surgery is being able to show an inability to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, even if you've followed one or more medically-supervised weight loss programs for an extended period.

You're Prepared to Change Your Diet

Weight loss surgery is designed to help obese individuals lose weight by significantly reducing the capacity of the stomach (and therefore, cutting the number of calories that the patient can consume) and/or reducing the amount of nutrients, carbohydrates, and sugars from the food the patient eats.

If you have bariatric surgery, you'll need to follow special dietary guidelines and maintain this modified diet for the rest of your life. Otherwise, you may wind up dealing with serious post-surgical complications or regain unwanted weight.

Our registered dietitians are available to help our patients plan healthy, enjoyable meals designed to promote long-term wellness.

You're Committed to Being Active

Regular exercise is an important part of post-surgical care for bariatric patients. Working out and staying physically active can help with the management of comorbid conditions like diabetes, improve mental wellness, and minimize the chances of complications following weight loss surgery.

Your Mental Health Is Well Managed

Patients seeking bariatric surgery must understand that several factors may have contributed to their ongoing struggles with weight. Factors affecting obesity include medical issues, dietary habits, and mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.

To meet the criteria for bariatric surgery, you may be asked to participate in a psychological assessment. If necessary, you may undergo treatment for conditions that could interfere as you cope with changes to your body after bariatric surgery.

Life After Surgery

Weight loss surgery is a highly effective way to lose weight, but it still comes with its ups and downs. Undergoing a surgical procedure designed to change the look and feel of your body is significant. There are many changes that may affect you as you recover. Below is information you need to know about life after bariatric surgery.

Recovery

The recovery process begins immediately and can last from four to six weeks after your procedure, depending on the type of surgery. Most patients stay in the hospital one or two days after a procedure and remain home for three to four weeks before returning to work or other regular activities. Many patients are not cleared to participate in a full exercise program for four to six weeks. Pain levels differ, but most patients are able to stay comfortable with prescription and over-the-counter pain medications.

Weight Loss

Weight loss varies greatly, but most patients begin to start losing weight immediately following surgery. In the first three months, patients will lose approximately 20 to 30 percent of excess weight, and 60 percent in the first six months to two years. In order to maintain weight loss, a proper diet and regular exercise are required.

Diet

After bariatric surgery, dietary habits must be changed permanently. Patients are urged to maintain high protein, low carb diets with restricted use of sugar or alcohol. Some procedures, especially those that affect nutrient absorption, may require extensive use of vitamins and supplements. Patients are encouraged to eat slowly, take small bites, and chew food thoroughly. Beverages should not be consumed with food.

Relationships

Bariatric surgery affects more than just your physical appearance. Losing extreme amounts of weight can be both emotionally and physically overwhelming. This may extend to personal relationships. Patients are encouraged to seek counseling and help from support groups in order to ensure the physical changes of weight loss do not interfere with your interpersonal connections.

Returning to Daily Life

Recovery is an individual process, so resuming normal activity likely will not happen on the same timeline for everyone. Most patients are able to return to work or school within three to four weeks without prolonged discomfort. Those who have had minimally invasive procedures may recover faster.

Birth Control and Pregnancy

Pregnancy is possible after bariatric surgery. Due to the hormonal changes following surgery, patients are encouraged to use an effective form of birth control for the first 12 to 18 months, even if conception was not possible before a bariatric procedure. Patients are encouraged to wait at least two years before trying to conceive.

Support Groups

Support groups can be an excellent way to help patients recover emotionally after bariatric surgery. By creating an environment that encourages sharing and peer support, our patients are able to move forward with confidence. With active support groups in place to assist you with short-term and long-term questions and needs, we’re able to offer the ongoing post-surgical support you deserve.

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