What to expect from pre-surgery through post-surgery at the Lake Health Bariatric Surgery Center
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Bariatric surgery is a multi-step process that requires a team of qualified experts. The Lake Health Bariatric Surgery Center has a professional team to guide patients through the following steps:
Step 1: Information/Education
Patients familiarize themselves with the pre- and post-operation processes with an online webinar. They learn the weight loss operations Dr. Ben-Meir performs as well as information about the journey before and after surgery.
Step 2: Insurance Verification
Each patient’s insurance company is contacted by the practice about coverage for bariatric surgery. If bariatric surgery is a covered benefit, the insurance companies generally require up to a six month medically supervised pre-operative diet as well as psychological clearance. Individual insurance companies may require other clearances for approval. If bariatric surgery is not a covered benefit, Lake Health offers a self-pay option for weight loss surgery.
Step 3: Consultation
The patient has an office consultation with Dr. Ben-Meir. During this appointment, he conducts a thorough medical history and answers patient questions. Together, they determine which operation is most appropriate. The patient also meets with the patient coordinator to review pre-operative requirements.
Step 4: Monthly Appointments
Patients meet with the bariatric program dietitians on a monthly basis for education on eating for long-term success. With each meeting, they learn a new healthy eating concept to build a foundation of knowledge and improved eating habits to use after their surgery. Insurance companies require these visits to be in consecutive months. If a patient misses a month, they may have to begin step four again. Patients also complete a pre-operative psychological evaluation with the Lake Health program psychologist.
Step 5: Submission to Insurance
All information required by the insurance company is compiled and submitted for approval.
Step 6: Education Day
Once insurance approval is received, surgery is scheduled. Two to three weeks before their surgery, patients have an Education Day in the office. This consists of group education facilitated by one of the bariatric program nurses so patients know what to expect the day of surgery, during their hospital stay and after discharge home. The dietitian prepares patients for the first two weeks after surgery from a dietary perspective.
Step 7: Surgery
All operations are performed at Lake West Medical Center by Dr. Ben-Meir and his dedicated OR team. Patients are usually in the hospital for one to two nights following surgery. They return to the office for a two, four and six week follow-up visits where they see either Dr. Ben-Meir or his CNP and one of the dietitians. At two weeks, the dietitian explains the transition from liquid to pureed foods; at four weeks they will check in with the CNP and learn from the dietitian how to transition from pureed foods to soft solids; and then at six weeks they will see the CNP and talk with the dietitian about going from soft solids to regular food.
Step 8: Follow-up
We truly want our patients to succeed; it is our mission. Our two core principles as a practice are patient safety at the time of surgery and providing our patients with the opportunity for life long success. Consistent post-operative follow-up increases the likelihood of maintaining weight loss. We recommend follow-up appointments be scheduled at 3, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months and annually thereafter. At each of the appointments patients see Dr. Ben-Meir and/or the CNP and a dietitian. We also offer monthly support group meetings, a Back on Track program and host events such as our annual 5K Fun Walk/Run and Success Celebration.