Patients should have: either
- 100 pounds or more of excess weight; or a BMI of 40 or greater or
- A BMI of 35 or greater with one or more co-morbid condition
Other common guidelines required before surgery include:
- Understanding the risks of bariatric surgery
- Committing to dietary and other lifestyle changes as recommended by the surgeon
- Having a history of weight loss treatments having failed the patient
- Undergoing a complete examination including medical tests
What is Body Mass Index (BMI)?
BMI is a measure used to index a person’s height and weight. BMI allows healthcare professionals and patients to better understand health issues associated with a specific weight classification (classifications such as obesity and morbid obesity).
Do I qualify for insurance coverage for the surgery?
Because every insurance policy is unique, it's important that you thoroughly understand your Certificate of Coverage to know exactly what is and isn't covered through your plan.
What is included in the qualifying process?
The qualification process includes a series of tests with your bariatric surgeon. You also will meet with a nutritionist, psychologist, and other support staff members in sessions leading up to surgery. Each healthcare professional will help you prepare for the changes and challenges that lie ahead.
What are the routine tests before bariatric surgery?
Certain basic tests typically are performed:
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
Other tests that may be requested include:
Blood glucose test
Pulmonary function testing
Choosing a Surgeon
Choosing your surgeon is a very important step. Asking questions is key to finding a surgeon. One of the first points to consider is the surgeon’s experience performing bariatric surgery. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery found that experienced surgeons had significantly reduced bariatric surgery complication rates. Your surgeon should have experience performing your particular procedure—whether it’s gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, or gastric banding, and whether it’s performed as a minimally invasive or open procedure. You may want to take the opportunity to speak with the surgeon’s patients. Patients willing to refer family, friends, and interested candidates are a good indication of the surgeon’s quality. Another good gauge of quality is a ASMBS Center of Excellence (COE) designation. COE programs and surgeons must meet strict criteria relating to quality of care in order to be designated a COE. A third point to consider is commitment to your success. Your surgeon should provide post-op care through follow-up appointments, support-group resources, and other information as needed. Your success is likely to be enhanced by all three. Making informed decisions and knowing what to expect can help you achieve success and manage challenges. Part of finding a surgeon is asking questions. You should feel free to ask questions, and you should receive complete and clear answers. If you don’t, ask for clarification. The more you know and understand, the better you will be able to make an informed and confident decision.
Questions to Ask Your Surgeon
Are you board certified? Are you a ASMBS Center of Excellence (COE) Bariatric Surgeon? Are you a member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery? Which bariatric procedures have you performed this year? How many of each specific type? How many minimally invasive bariatric procedures have you performed? And, what is your “conversion to open” rate? Are the benefits of surgery worth the potential risks for me? What are your complication and mortality rates? What are your most common complications? Does the hospital have experienced, dedicated bariatric surgical teams in the operating and recovery rooms, the intensive care unit, and medical/surgical unit? What is the average weight loss your patients achieve? What is the average co-morbid resolution/improvement rate for your patients? Do you have patients who are willing to share their experiences, both positive and negative?
For more information regarding St. Vincent's East Bariatric surgeons, please call (205) 838-6589 or email Veronica Patterson