10 Steps When Planning For Weight Loss SurgeryJanuary 9, 2023
Having weight loss surgery is a big decision. Planning can alleviate stress that comes along with this process. Here are some tested and true steps from bariatric professionals in planning for weight loss surgery that may help!
10 Steps When Planning For Weight Loss Surgery:
Check Your Insurance Benefits and Learn About Out-of-Pocket Costs You Might Run Into
Learn if your insurance covers weight loss surgery and what your deductible and out-of-pocket charges might be. Request a copy of your insurance benefit plan – regarding bariatric surgery. Some plans require pre-surgical physician, dietician, behavioral health, and/or fitness specialist consults prior to surgery. Some require a 3, 6, or 12-month supervised diet. Some require pre-surgical weight loss. Some require you to go to a specialized program (for example, a Center of Excellence, Blue Distinction Center, or Optum BRS Center). Learn if the program you anticipate going to it in network or out-of-network and what your coverage is. Learn if the hospital/facility has a payment plan. Learn what qualifications your insurance requires for coverage. And if your insurance doesn’t cover, learn what you can do to cover charges as a private pay patient.
Codes to check for coverage:
- Diagnosis Code for Morbid Obesity is E66.01
- Sleeve is 43775
- Bypass is 43644
- Lap-Band (Gastric Banding) is 43770
- Duodenal Switch (DS) is 43659
Research Bariatric Facilities for a Provider You Feel Good About
Make sure you feel comfortable with the program, the surgeon, and the integrative health staff. Understand how comprehensive the program is; do they offer a full line of care before and after surgery. Attend a Bariatric Seminar put on by the program you are investigating. And make sure the doctor does the type of surgery that you are considering.
Schedule All Your Bariatric Appointments
Make sure you get a list of all the appointments that may be required, and may include:
- Primary Care appointment for medical clearance
- Bariatric Surgeon / Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant
- Psychological Evaluation
- Nutritional Assessment/Education
- Pre-op Education
Required testing (typically ordered by the Bariatric Surgeon) – varies amongst providers and your medical background, but may include some of the following:
- EGD – Scope to look down your esophagus into your stomach
- PFTs – Pulmonary Function Tests
- CXR – Chest x-ray
- Blood studies (potentially vitamin labs, coagulation studies, thyroid studies)
- Venous Doppler Study (especially if history of blood clots)
- Sleep Study
- Clearances (if required)
- Pulmonary, Cardiology, Renal, or other specialties
- Medically Supervised Diet – with PCP or Dietitian (if required)
Start Implementing New Lifestyle Habits:
- Stop smoking (if you smoke). Nicotine screening may be required by your bariatric program and/or insurance requirements.
- Exercise habits – join a gym or talk to a fitness expert
- Eating habits (choose smaller portion sizes, slow down, chew your food well
- Focus on protein (60-100 grams of protein daily)
- Drink water (64-80 ounces daily), cutting back on carbonated beverages and alcohol
Look at the Pre- and Post-op Diet and Start Planning
- Throw away trigger foods
- Purchase shakes and starts trying different flavors
- Purchase vitamins for post-op
Talk to Your Providers about Medication Changes
- Review pill sizes
- Review how medications are released – sustained release /extended release – and if changes need to be made to them
Take Before Pictures / Measurements
- Take pictures of body: face, front profile, side profile, and back profile
- Take measurements: neck, arms, chest, waist, hips, thighs, and calves
- Use specialized equipment to measure body fat (some programs may have body fat calibrators, or you can purchase specialized scales)
Write Out Your Why
There is nothing more important than a constant reminder of why you decided to have surgery. This will keep you on track on days that it might be easy to get off track.
Find Support Systems
Find people in your life that are willing to support you. People that are willing to help you during your hospital stay and during your recovery period. Find people that are like-minded and in the same community. People that are knowledgeable about what you are going through. These can be peers, friends, family, and our Bariatric Support Communities.
Pack for the Hospital Stay
Bring those things that will optimize your surgical experience (like medical equipment – C-pap machine), your medications, your vitamins, and clothes that feel comfortable for moving and walking. Maybe even that special teddy bear that brings you a little extra comfort!
Here’s to your best experience possible! And don’t forget to enjoy the journey along the way!
ABOUT THE AUTHORBrenda Hoehn MSN, BSN, RN, CHTP is a bariatric nurse and has worked with thousands of bariatric surgery patients pre- and post-op. She has certifications in both life-coaching and Healing Touch (holistic health). She currently works in the bariatric vitamin industry with ProCare Health whereas she offers bariatric LIVE topics weekly & Support Groups for patients and facilities. She intertwines all of this including her own incredible bariatric surgery journey – VSG in 2013.