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Pre-Surgery Process

Successful weight loss begins before a patient has surgery at Bon Secours Surgical Weight Loss Center.

Our team of bariatric surgeons, nurses and Registered Dietitians work with patients through a multi-step process to help patients prepare for surgery. Our goal is to help patients be as healthy as they can before weight loss surgery to minimize any risk and improve their results. The first step in our program is learning the process that we have developed for weight loss surgery patients.

At Bon Secours Surgical Weight Loss Center, we emphasize that patients need to stay involved to be successful. Research has shown that patients who continue to work with their doctors and a support group after surgery achieve the best outcomes.
Frequently Asked Questions

Can weight loss surgery help other physical conditions?

According to current research, weight loss surgery can improve or resolve associated health conditions in nearly 90% of surgical patients:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High triglycerides
  • Sleep apnea
  • Infertility
  • Gastric reflux
  • Osteoarthritis of weight-bearing joints
  • Depression
  • Infertility
  • Urinary stress incontinence
  • Menstrual irregularities

What is the oldest patient for whom weight loss surgery is recommended?

Patients over 65 require very strong indications for surgery and must also meet stringent Medicare criteria. The risk of surgery in this age group is increased, and the benefits, in terms of reduced risk of mortality, are reduced.

21 and older is the recommended age, but I’ve heard of younger teens having weight loss surgery.

Surgery has been performed on patients 16 and younger. There is a real concern that young patients may not have reached full developmental or emotional maturity to make this type of decision. It is important that young weight loss surgery patients have a full understanding of the lifelong commitment to the altered eating and lifestyle changes necessary for success.

What is the youngest age for which weight loss surgery is recommended?

Generally accepted guidelines from the American Society for Bariatric Surgery and the National Institutes of Health recommend surgery only for those 18 years of age and older.

Bon Secours Surgical Weight Loss directors recommend surgery for patients 21 years of age or older. This change in age requirement was announced in Summer 2009. Why? Reviewing their patient outcomes, they found that patients 21+ were much more successful than patients 18-20.

Do I meet with a dietitian before and after surgery?

Bon Secours Surgical Weight Loss requires patients to consult with a dietitian before surgery. Counseling after surgery is available on an individual basis as needed or required by your physician.

Will I be asked to stop smoking?

Patients are required to stop smoking at least one month before surgery. Smoking increases the risk of lung problems after surgery, increases the rate of gastric ulcers, can reduce the rate of healing, increases the rates of infection, and interferes with blood supply to the healing tissues.

If I want to undergo a gastric bypass, how long do I have to wait?

New evaluation appointments are usually available within a month of your request. Once a patient is evaluated, if the surgeon and patient agree it is appropriate, the operation can usually be scheduled within 8 weeks.

What can I do before my first SWL appointment to speed up the process of getting ready for surgery?

  • Select a primary care physician if you don’t already have one. Establish a relationship with him or her.
  • Work with your doctor to keep your routine health testing current. Women should have a pap smear at least every two years, and, if they’re over 40 years, a yearly breast exam. For men, this may include a prostate specific antigen test (PSA).
  • It’s important to make a list of all the diets you have tried (a diet history) and bring it to your first SWL appointment with the surgeon.
  • Bring relevant medical data to your first SWL appointment – including reports of special tests (echocardiogram, sleep study, etc.) or hospital discharge summary if you have been in the hospital.
  • Bring a list of your medications with dose and schedule.
  • Stop smoking. It increases your surgical risks.

What impact do my medical problems have on the decision for surgery, and how do the medical problems affect risk?

Medical problems, such as serious heart or lung problems, can increase the risk of any surgery. They may also be the very factors that make the surgery necessary. Trust your surgeon to weigh all the available medical evidence and to decide if this is the right time for you to have a surgical weight loss procedure.

Why do I have to have a psychiatric evaluation?

The most common reason for a psychiatric evaluation is that your insurance company requires it. Most psychiatrists will evaluate your understanding and knowledge of the potential risks and complications of a weight loss surgery, and your ability to follow the basic recovery plan.

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