First: meet these criteria
We want to give you the best chance for a healthier life. If you are thinking about having weight loss surgery through HealthEast Bariatric Care, you need to:
- Be approximately 100 pounds above your ideal weight with body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more
- Have a BMI of between 35 and 39.9 with serious health problems that may be improved with surgery
- Be healthy enough to have surgery
- Stop smoking
- Be informed about the surgery, including risks, benefits, uncertainties and post-operative expectations and expected lifestyle changes
- Have a strong support system
- Be psychologically stable
- Be committed to a healthy lifestyle that includes taking the required nutritional supplements
- Agree to have long-term follow up
- Not become pregnant for one to two years after surgery
- Understand that weight loss surgery is only a tool that you have to use properly every day in order to have long term success
Then: follow these program steps
1. Attend an introductory class
Attend a free informational class to learn more about obesity, weight loss surgery and whether it is right for you.
Introduction to Weight Loss Surgery class
2. Decide to pursue weight loss surgery
To help you decide if weight loss surgery is right for you, it's important to research the options. Talk to your doctor about the surgery and lifestyle changes needed for successful weight loss.
3. Complete health and diet history form
Fill out the health history form that will be provided to you prior to your first appointment at Bariatric Care.
4. Consult with the Bariatrician and Bariatric Nurse Clinician
Bring your health history form to this meeting. The bariatric nurse clinician will review it with you prior to your consultation with Dr. Laurie Sund. She will also take your height, weight and body mass index (BMI).
A bariatrician is a physician who specializes in weight management. Dr. Sund is one of about a dozen who are certified in the State of Minnesota. You will have a medical evaluation by Dr. Sund. She will also assist you with "physician-monitored weight loss" if required by your insurance company.
Dr. Sund will provide a list of things for you to do prior to scheduling surgery that will help determine whether or not you are a good candidate for weight loss surgery.
5. Say “hello” to new eating and drinking habits
To prepare for life after surgery, it is helpful to practice:
- Drinking 64 ounces of liquid each day
- Not drinking liquids with meals
- Eating small bites
- Chewing each bite to applesauce consistency
- Eating slowly
6. Obtain nutritional counseling from our dietitian
A consultation with a specially trained dietitian will help evaluate your understanding of the dietary changes you will need to make after surgery. The dietitian will also teach you about nutritional requirements and how to get them after surgery.
7. Obtain a physical therapy consultation, if recommended by the Bariatrician
8. Obtain a health and behavioral assessment
A health and behavioral assessment will help determine if you are mentally and emotionally prepared for surgery and the lifestyle changes and commitment necessary after surgery.
9. Consult with your surgeon
You and your surgeon will determine what operation is best for you. The surgeon may advise you to lose some weight prior to scheduling surgery. If your surgeon does this, the weight loss is not optional. You must meet the goal weight prior to scheduling surgery.
10. Attend Connections support group before surgery
Connections is a support group for Bariatric Care patients who are preparing for or have undergone weight loss surgery. It is a time dedicated to learning, listening and sharing with others.
Connections: Bariatric Care Support Group
11. Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider
We encourage you to choose a primary care provider who is supportive of your decision to have weight loss surgery.
12. Schedule appointments with specialists, as directed
Specialty consultations and blood work will be done to check for existing health conditions. We want you to have the best outcome possible, so it's important to make certain that the risks of having surgery do not outweigh the risks of not having it.
13. Request prior authorization from your insurance company
It is important to call the member services telephone number on the back of your insurance card to determine whether or not weight loss surgery is covered by your insurance plan. When you have met all of the criteria, and we have all of the necessary documentation required by your insurance company, our insurance specialist will submit the information to the insurance company.
14. Receive insurance approval
When you receive an approval, both your insurance company and HealthEast Bariatric Care will notify you. Sometimes you will hear from the insurance company before we do. Please note: We must have the actual approval notification from the insurance company before we can schedule surgery.
15. Meet with your surgeon to schedule surgery
It is important that you have met the weight loss goal that was advised at your initial consultation.
16. Attend the Bariatric Care pre-operative teaching class
We want to make sure that you are well prepared for your life after surgery! In this class, we will review the following information:
- Benefits and risks of weight loss surgery
- Lifestyle changes after surgery
- Nutritional requirements after surgery
- How to eat after surgery
- Medical and support follow-up
- Your individual medicine requirements
17. Have surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital
18. Come back to HealthEast Bariatric Care for lifelong follow-up
19. Attend Connections post-operative support group after surgery
Connections: Post-Operative Bariatric Surgery Support Group
For patients who have undergone weight loss surgery and are at least three months post-surgery.
20. Experience new beginnings!
This is it. You have taken the first step to a new beginning. Enjoy it!
Keep in mind that results may vary. As with all elective surgeries, weight loss surgery involves risks and responsibilities for patients. Consult your doctor to discuss whether this procedure is appropriate for you.