Your Pre-surgery Checklist

Posted: May 17th 2020
Categories: Bariatrics

It’s not just about the destination, but your journey to get there as well. Up until now, your weight loss may have felt like something you had to tackle alone.

The Trinity Bariatrics approach to weight loss couldn’t be more different. Time and time again, our patients have commented on the benefits and support they felt from our team-based approach.

We talk a lot about our “pathway” — these are the requirements each of our patients must meet in the months leading up to surgery. The steps on our pathway are multipurpose — some meet insurance company requirements, while others help position the patient for a healthier, happier life.

Trinity Bariatric Surgery’s Preoperative Steps to Surgery

Curious about what the weeks leading up to your procedure are like? Take a look:

Step 1: Complete Bariatric Seminar

This can be done either online or in-person. However, you do not need to complete this seminar in order to request an appointment with a doctor.

Step 2: Access the Patient Portal

A link to the online patient portal will be emailed to you as soon as you register for the educational seminar.

Step 3: Attend the Initial Consult

Our office staff will reach out to schedule this appointment, where you’ll meet the surgeon and discuss which option will be best for you. You’ll need the surgeon’s approval in order to proceed!

Step 4: Meet with the Nurse Navigator

The nurse navigator is the person who oversees all your preoperative requirements… so you don’t have to worry about much, besides showing up to your appointment! These may include:

  • Blood tests
  • A smoking cessation program
  • Endoscopy
  • A sleep study
  • Support group attendance

Step 5: Approval from Specialists

You’re required to meet with three specialists prior to surgery: (1) a registered dietitian (2) a physical therapist and (3) a mental health professional. Each serves their own purpose within our pathway, and is ultimately there to support you and your weight loss!

Registered dietitian — Typically, a patient will meet twice with the dietitian prior to surgery. The first meeting will focus on dietary adjustments that need to be made leading up to your surgery, and then second will talk about post-operative dietary changes.

Physical therapist — The physical therapist (PT) is there to ensure that the patient is safe to comply with any exercise recommendations. You’ll likely be assessed for range of motion and any preexisting injuries. Upon initial evaluation, you’ll either be recommended for one-on-one exercise sessions or your choice of classes. Individualized workouts can be modified to match your abilities/limitations.

Mental health professional — A psych evaluation is quite a common requirement from health insurance providers. Number of meetings with the social worker tends to vary by patient, though most end up meeting 1-2 times before surgery.

Step 6: Liver Reduction Diet

The final step prior to surgery is the patient’s adopting a restrictive diet, usually for two weeks leading up to their procedure. Our surgeons comment that many of their patients are surprised to find out that it’s actually not an exclusively-liquid diet, more so a restrictive way of eating that mimics a ketogenic diet in some ways.

The goal of this is to optimize the patient’s condition going into surgery. This way of eating is designed to get rid of excess fat that may be on the patient’s liver. Fairly significant weight loss (10-12 lbs.) usually occurs for many patients. The patient’s nutrition is closely monitored during this time, and use of vitamin supplements may be required to address any pre-existing deficiencies.

Our dietitians note than in addition to weight loss, several patients have reported other positive effects of the liver reduction diet prior to surgery, such as improved energy levels and better overall wellness.

Dietitians are also available to tailor this diet to any other medical conditions. It’s quite common for a patient to have a preexisting gastrointestinal problem, like a food sensitivity, or IBS, and those conditions are able to be taken into account, as are patients with diabetes.

How Long Does It Typically Take Bariatric Patients to Complete These Steps?

We’d like to note that the length of your preoperative journey does not usually depend on the Trinity Bariatrics pathway, but the required length of time set by your insurance provider.

Many insurance companies changed their requirements for bariatric surgery at the start of the 2020 calendar year. This varies completely depending on your provider. Most companies require a monthly evaluation over a 3-6 month period before the patient is able to submit for surgery. Some don’t require it at all; however, others may have to attend as many as 12 visits before they’re able to receive coverage.

While our offices cannot dispute with insurance companies over their requirements for coverage, we will continue to work so that our patients feel supported, encouraged, and respected in the days, weeks, or even months leading up to their surgical procedure.

To take the first step on your weight loss journey, call (716) 893-0333.