Our weight-loss surgery staff is excited that you are considering bariatric surgery. There are several steps you need to complete to ensure you have the best experience possible. Our goal is to ensure that you have a thorough understanding of how this surgery will impact your life and your health and the necessary steps for success. First, complete our online information session. If you have questions or problems opening the link, call (910) 725-7966.
Having bariatric surgery means making a dedication to changing your life and your eating and exercise habits. We want to get to know you so we can discuss realistic goals and walk you through every step of the process to ensure the best possible outcome. You will complete your consults with the dietitian and behavioral health coach on the same day. Your surgical consultation will then be scheduled.
As with any surgery, patient safety is our top priority. We may ask you to obtain medical clearances per your surgeon’s instructions, and we will assist you in scheduling any necessary clearances. Clearances may include a cardiac consultation, pulmonary consultation, a sleep study and internal medicine consultation.
Patient Education Workshop
Before your surgery, we will require you to attend a pre-surgical workshop where we will teach you how, when and what to eat during the course of recovery. We can answer any last-minute questions you might have and reinforce our secrets for success. We will also discuss your recovery time, follow-ups and everything else you can expect post-surgery.
Two Weeks Post-Surgery
You will be seen in the office for your first postoperative visit by the surgeon and dietitian. You will be weighed, your wounds will be checked, and your questions will be answered. Your surgeon will also evaluate if your diet, as tolerated, can be advanced.
Four Weeks Post-Surgery
At four weeks, you will visit the office for a routine check-up to assess your dietary intake; determine how well your wounds are healing; obtain anthropometrics (body weight, fat mass, fat-free mass, circumference around the abdomen and hips); and answer your questions. You will also be seen by a nutritionist who will work with you to advance your diet safely. If warranted, you may also see other members of the multidisciplinary team (i.e., psychologist or spiritual counselor). We will also refer you to the Exercise Is Medicine program so you can begin to increase your exercise regimen.
Three Months Post-Surgery
On this visit, you will again be seen for the general assessments described above. You may also participate in the group medical visits for added education and support.
Six and Nine Months Post-Surgery
During the six-month and nine-month visits, anthropometric measurements will be obtained (Body Mass Index, body weight, fat mass, lean body mass, circumferences). You must also be seen by the dietitian. Consultations with the psychologist and exercise physiologist are optional and available.
One Year and Annual Lifetime Office Visits
We need and want to see you annually. We are committed to your health, and we expect you to be committed to your lifelong follow-up care. During the yearly visit, you will have a routine follow-up examination, have anthropometrics measured and meet with the surgeon and dietitian. You may be seen 1:1 or in a group medical visit. In addition, lab work may be required for some individuals.
Paying For Surgery
We accept all private insurances. We do not accept Medicaid. All insurance carriers and policies have different coverage guidelines and exclusions. We will be happy to contact your insurance company to determine coverage criteria. If you do not have insurance coverage for this type of procedure, we have a highly competitive self-pay option.
Generally, insurance plans require you to meet the following criteria for weight-loss surgery to be covered:
- BMI of more than 40 or more than 35 with a related health condition
- A documented history of medical weight-loss attempts
- Between two and five years of weight history
- A psychological evaluation
- Nutrition counseling
- Additional insurance requirements may include a documented three- to six-month medically supervised diet and a blood test to rule out a thyroid disorder or other possible diseases
While insurance will cover most of the cost of certain bariatric surgeries, we will discuss your benefits with you, answer any questions you might have and let you know about any items that may not be covered by your insurance (e.g., out-of-pocket fees, co-pays and/or deductibles). Tricare now covers the sleeve gastrectomy procedure (gastric sleeve) for beneficiaries and their dependents.
Self-pay While most insurance plans cover bariatric surgery, we understand that some simply will not. In these instances – and for people who do not have insurance coverage, we offer highly competitive self-payment rate for the gastric sleeve.
Taking on the payment or co-payments for these surgeries is a big investment in your health. We do require payment at the pre-operative visit from all our bariatric surgery patients for self-payment. Although we do not offer financing, our patient navigators will be happy to discuss other payment options during your consultation.