Are You Ready for Bariatric Surgery?
Before undergoing weight loss surgery, it’s important that you understand how the procedure works, what the risks and benefits are, and what you’ll be required to do to make sure it’s successful. It also helps to know what to expect from your insurance company and what you’ll need to provide them with before they’ll cover your procedure.
As with any surgical procedure, weight loss surgery does come with inherent risks. Your level of risk will depend partly on your health going into surgery, where you choose to have the surgery performed, and your adherence to post-surgery instructions. While most of the complications associated with weight loss surgery are minor, it’s important that you understand and accept them. Your doctor can help you determine whether or not the benefits outweigh the risks in your unique situation.
Bariatric surgery usually results in significant weight loss and subsequent improvement of any obesity-related illnesses; however, the amount of weight you lose will depend on your willingness to commit to a lifelong, healthy diet and exercise plan. Before you make the decision to have weight loss surgery, make sure you’re willing to make and stick with these changes. They include:
- Diet: After weight loss surgery, it’s important to eat lower-calorie, nutritious foods. Because the size of your stomach will be restricted, you’ll need to eat smaller portions several times a day. This restriction also means that you’ll need to refrain from drinking beverages while eating and wait at least 30 minutes after a meal to drink; otherwise, you could fill up on liquid and miss out on the nutrients your body needs. It’s also very important to chew food slowly and thoroughly to make sure that it digests properly and to make sure to get enough protein in order to help build muscle mass.
- Exercise: Exercise is important not only for overall health, but it also helps counteract the muscle loss that can come as a result of rapid weight loss. It can also help improve your metabolism.
Before they’ll cover a bariatric procedure, most insurance companies require letters from your primary care physician and your weight loss surgeon stating that the surgery is a medical necessity for you. Other companies might also require you to undergo a nutritional consultation and a psychological evaluation, while others may require you to participate in a doctor-supervised weight loss program for a period of time before they’ll agree to cover the procedure. Make sure you understand what your insurance company requires to grant coverage, and keep in mind that many patients whose procedures are initially declined by their insurance company have been able to get coverage following an appeal.