Bariatric Treatments and Weight Loss Surgery Options
If you are significantly overweight, you may be at risk for a wide variety of health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, breathing problems, and depression—and you are not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one third of adults in America—more than 72 million people—are obese. If you have had trouble losing weight and/or keeping it off, surgical weight loss may be a solution. Considered one of the most effective and long-lasting treatments for morbid obesity and related illnesses, bariatric surgery may improve your health and quality of life.
If you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or greater, or a BMI of at least 35 with other existing medical problems, or you are facing other health risks due to obesity call 713.757.7575.
Bariatric Treatment Options at St. Joseph Medical Center
- Adjustable Gastric Banding: a safe and healthy weight loss procedure. The surgeon places a band around the upper part of the stomach, effectively reducing the stomach’s size so that patients are able to eat smaller meals while still enjoying a sense of fullness. The procedure is adjustable and reversible.
- Gastric Bypass: the most frequently performed weight loss procedures in the United States. The surgeon creates a small stomach pouch, about the size of a large egg. The pouch is created by dividing the small intestine just beyond the first 50cm of small intestine, also called the duodenum, for the purpose of pulling it up and attaching it with the newly formed stomach pouch. The other end of the small intestine is connected into the side of the Roux limb (the portion of the small intestine attached to the new small stomach) creating the “Y” shape.
- Revision Weight Loss Surgery: a surgical procedure that is performed on patients who have already undergone a previous bariatric surgery, and have either had complications from such surgery or have not successfully achieved significant weight loss results from the initial surgery.
- Sleeve Gastrectomy: a permanent, non-reversible procedure in which 75 percent of the stomach is removed. The result is a stomach that’s similar in shape to a banana. Patients who undergo this procedure also enjoy a sense of fullness from very small meals.
Preparing For Surgery
The best way to prepare for surgery is to make sure you understand everything you can about your procedure. Here are some suggestions that you can begin to work on right away.
- Gradually decrease the amount of caffeine you consume. Patients who stop caffeine suddenly at the time of surgery may experience withdrawal symptoms such as intense headaches. Remember there is a significant amount of caffeine in coffee, tea and many soft drinks.
- If you drink carbonated beverages, now is the time to stop. Why? When a cold compressed gas (carbonation) hits a 99.5 degree closed system (your stomach) it expands. That can be very problematic, especially after surgery.
- Start a program of aerobic activity such as walking or swimming for 20 minutes, four times a week. BUT, get a physician’s approval before you start any program involving physical exertion!
- Stop smoking. Cigarettes interfere with your lung’s ability to exchange oxygen, and nicotine can impair circulation, which can impede healing after surgery and increase the chance of infection.
- Reduce the amount of refined carbohydrates you consume. Refined carbohydrates include foods such as white rice, pasta and cookies.
Checklist for Insurance Approval
Benefits: Check your benefits. Call the customer service number at your insurance company, and ask for the benefits department. Ask if you have benefits for bariatric surgery. This information can also be found written in your policy on the exclusions page. You may be asked for CPT Codes, which are:
- Lap Banding 43770
- Sleeve Gastrectomy 43633
- Gastric Bypass 43644
Surgical Clearance: This exam is used to determine that a patient does not have any underlying medical conditions that would prohibit them from having surgery. A letter/copy of the exam notes needs to be sent to our office after each exam is complete.
Pre-operative Lab Work: Each patient will be asked to have labwork completed, with a copy of your results sent to our office upon completion.
Diet Records: You will be asked to provide documentation of all recent medically supervised weight loss attempts. Most insurance companies require proof that you have tried physician-supervised weight loss attempts. We will review your insurance company requirements with you at you initial consultation visit. The weight loss attempts do not have to involve medication. They will need to include exercise, low calorie diets, and behavior modification.
Medical Records: Medical records are essential to establishing medical necessity. Any visits to a doctor, surgeries, lab results, diagnostic procedures and ER visits should be included. Request records pertaining to your weight and any conditions worsened by your weight, such as hypertension, diabetes, degenerative joint disease, etc. We need records dating back five years, unless insurance indicates a need for more.
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Psychological Evaluation: A preoperative psychological evaluation is an essential part of preparing for weight loss surgery. The importance of obtaining a thorough psychological assessment cannot be overstated. A detailed clinical interview and objectively scored psychological tests should be part of a comprehensive psychological evaluation. Many insurance companies require an evaluation for benefits and our surgeons require an evaluation for all patients.
We offers post-operative support groups. The groups will assist you with short term and long term questions and needs. Our surgeons recommend ongoing post-surgical support to help produce the greatest level of success for their patients.