Our office will take care of you every step of the way!
So you have been thinking about weight loss surgery and are ready to get started. You likely have many, many questions on your mind.
Am I ready for it? Is weight loss surgery dangerous? What procedure to choose? Where do I start? How long will it take? How fast will I lose weight? What to eat? What not to eat? Will my insurance pay for it? How fast can I go back to work after weight loss surgery?
We understand that weight loss surgery can be a stressful experience – but it does not have to be! Staying fully informed about the entire process of weight loss surgery is the best way to make it a stress-free experience. In general, the entire process from first inquiry into weight loss surgery to the day of surgery can take approximately two to six months.
Once you are ready to undergo the procedure, these are the common steps you will be going through:
- Attend an educational seminar or view the seminar online. This should be your first step. The educational seminar on weight loss surgery covers the most common weight loss (bariatric) procedures and their risks, benefits, side effects, and more.
- Meet with Dr. Gritsus in a personal consultation to discuss whether weight loss surgery is right for you, and choose the best procedure. Consultations are conducted in two of our office locations. You will spend time with Dr. Gritsus, receive advice on what type of weight loss surgery may be best in your case, and will be given ample opportunity to ask all the questions you have. You can bring your spouse, significant other, a friend or relative for "moral support." We will make your appointment as stress-free as possible!
- Receive a nutritional evaluation. You will need a nutritionist to interview you and write us a letter which will be used for getting approved by your insurance company. It is also important to be educated about your diet after Gastric Sleeve, Gastric Bypass, Gastric Balloon or Gastric Band surgery.
- Receive a psychological evaluation. Most insurance companies require an evaluation by a psychologist. This evaluation includes an interview to determine your ability to follow instructions after weight loss surgery, and that you are ready to make some changes in your lifestyle.
- See your primary care physician and request a letter of medical necessity. A letter of medical necessity is a letter your primary care doctor sends to us to recommend weight loss surgery. This letter generally describes why you will benefit from a weight loss procedure. Most of the primary care physicians are excited about the prospect of improving the health of their patients. In some cases, other specialists who see you regularly can be called upon to write a letter of medical necessity for you.
- Receive health insurance authorization for surgery. Our office will obtain authorization for you and will help you qualify with your insurance. Navigating health insurance for weight loss surgery can be a nightmare! Fortunately, our office staff takes care of this for you. You may want to call your insurance company and ask whether you have coverage for weight loss surgery. For additional information on insurance and plans we accept, visit here.
- Your health insurance may require you to have several visits to our office prior to qualifying you for surgery. Some insurance plans want to ensure that you are serious about your decision regarding weight loss surgery before approving coverage for the procedure. This usually means that they want you to go through a medically-supervised weight loss program. While it may sound complicated, it is actually very simple. Typically, you would need to visit our office once a month for three to six months, and receive advice and counseling from Dr. Gritsus on a healthier lifestyle. The key is to keep all appointments; otherwise your surgery could be delayed.
- Undergo pre-surgery tests, endoscopy and receive clearance for anesthesia and a physical from your primary doctor. Pre-surgery tests usually include bloodwork (CBC and Chem 7) as well as EKG. Those tests are usually done at the hospital where you will be having weight loss surgery. Our office will give you a prescription, and you will go to the hospital (no appointment is needed) and have your blood drawn, as well as undergo an EKG (cardiogram). It is best to schedule these tests 30 days prior to your surgery. The endoscopy is a camera evaluation of your stomach to make sure you have no problems that could interfere with surgery. It is usually done under sedation either in a hospital or surgical center, and takes 5-10 min. You will need to visit your primary care doctor to have medical clearance 2-4 weeks prior to your surgery. This is just an office visit with your doctor to make sure you are fit for anesthesia.
- In some cases, you may need to visit additional specialists, such as a cardiologist, pulmonologist or endocrinologist. Our office will let you know what is needed in your case.
- Undergo weight loss surgery. Your surgery will be scheduled by our surgical coordinator. Since weight loss surgery is an elective procedure, our office will be able to book the Gastric Sleeve, Gastric Bypass, Gastric Band or Gastric Balloon at a time that is most convenient for you. Dr. Gritsus typically performs surgery on Mondays and Wednesdays, and some Fridays are available.
- Remain as an inpatient for one night or same-day surgery (depending on the procedure).
- Follow a postoperative diet of liquids for 7-14 days after surgery.
- Graduate to a pureed food diet for 1-2 weeks.
- Reintroduce regular foods slowly.
- Come to your post op visit with Dr. Gritsus. Typically post op visits are scheduled 7-10 days after your weight loss surgery. The post op visit will include evaluation by Dr. Gritsus to see whether you are feeling OK, and able to tolerate and follow your diet after the Gastric Bypass, Gastric Band and Gastric Sleeve.
- Return to work, most often within one to two weeks.
- Schedule your follow up visits with Dr. Gritsus every six months to yearly.
The process of undergoing weight loss surgery is designed to be easy to follow. In addition to seeing Dr. Gritsus after the surgery, you are advised to follow up with a nutritionist, as well as your primary care physician on a regular basis.
You will be required to have bloodwork performed once or twice a year to make sure you are receiving adequate nutrition and vitamins.
Here are the items we test in bloodwork:
- Vitamin levels: B1, B3, B6, B12, A, E, Folate, D25
- CBC, iron profile, ferritin
- CMP, Zinc, Copper
- PTH, albumin
- Thyroid Function test (if needed)
- HbA1C (if needed)
The diagnostic codes (ICD10) for these tests are E66.01, Z98.84
Our office will be able to order the bloodwork for you. However, you can ask your primary care physician to check your bloodwork as well.
Please view our Frequently Asked Questions.
Need to ask Dr. Gritsus a question? Please contact us online.