Bariatric Surgery Preparation

If you're considering surgical weight loss, you're probably learning that there are many steps you need to take to prepare for bariatric surgery. Because we're a bariatric center of excellence, we have the experience to help you through these steps as you make this positive investment in your health.  

Our UnityPoint Health – Grinnell care team supports you throughout your weight loss journey. Our doctors and specially trained staff guide you through the health preparation and insurance coverage requirements for bariatric surgery.

Preparing for Bariatric Surgery at UnityPoint Health – Grinnell

We aim to help you take care of as much preparation as possible in our office. Sometimes you might need to see a doctor for a surgical clearance or a sleep study. We can make recommendations and help you organize these appointments.

Our program helps you move as quickly as possible through the steps to prepare for a successful bariatric surgery with:

A care team focused on your success

You'll find a dedicated and welcoming team from the moment you come in for a consultation. Your appointments take place at our UnityPoint Health - Grinnell General Surgery and Weight Loss Surgery Clinic, conveniently located next to the hospital.

We offer telehealth visits as well. If you live further away, we'll help coordinate visits closer to you or via video visits.

You'll meet with your surgeon and physician assistant at the first appointment. A licensed social worker is available to assist you with psychological or emotional needs as you prepare. Meet your bariatric center of excellence care team.

You'll have monthly visits with our team to help you prepare for bariatric surgery. These visits may include:

  • Surgical consultation
  • Mental health consultation
  • Diagnostic testing
  • Presurgery education class
  • Preoperative interview
  • Preoperative physical exam

Guidelines for bariatric surgery

Our experienced doctors are focused on your safety. One way we support safe and successful procedures is by using established, evidence-based guidelines. We review your situation with our bariatric review committee before we approve a surgery.

Surgeons, nurses and internal medicine doctors review your case. Together, they ensure that you are ready for a safe and successful procedure.

To prepare for the committee meeting, our doctors will assess:

  • Body mass index (BMI): To qualify for bariatric surgery, BMI usually needs to be higher than 40 or between 35 and 40 with major medical problems. Calculate your BMI.
  • Medical history: Conditions like diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea and digestive disorders influence surgery approval. These conditions also make surgery more complicated. Your physician will use your medical history to plan your procedure.
  • Previous weight loss programs: To be approved, you need to have first tried other ways to lose weight in a medically supervised program. Surgery is a serious choice. We make your safety our top priority.

Bariatric surgery approval

Our experienced staff can help you complete the steps to obtain approval for insurance coverage for bariatric surgery. Many insurance requirements exist to reduce your surgical risks and set you up for success.

Our care team works with you to do assessments, make lifestyle changes and submit documentation to your insurance company. You can expect to:

  • Lose weight: Your insurance may require you to complete a 6- to 12-month physician-supervised program.
  • Quit smoking: Stopping smoking reduces surgery risks and improves your health after surgery.
  • Treat drug and alcohol issues: You'll generally need to have a year of sobriety before your procedure.
  • Manage psychological conditions: Conditions like depression and anxiety can impact your success. We'll do the needed assessments and help you find treatment.
  • Increase physical activity: Exercise builds strength for surgery and habits you'll need after surgery. Our care team works with you to make a plan that fits your lifestyle.
  • Participate in a psych evaluation: You'll be more successful if you're mentally and emotionally prepared for surgery. Our licensed independent social worker evaluates your mental health in our office.
  • Participate in a sleep study: A sleep study tests for sleep apnea. If you have this condition, your doctor will take safety precautions during and after surgery.
  • Show ongoing commitment: You can demonstrate commitment by making lifestyle changes, going to doctor's appointments and participating in community support groups. We'll support you as you work through these activities.

Weight loss for bariatric surgery

Our care team will help you put together a presurgery diet that fits your lifestyle, reduces surgery risk and sets you up for success. Your diet before bariatric surgery reduces the amount of fat in and around your liver, which lowers the risk of surgical complications.

Presurgery weight loss may mean you can have a minimally invasive surgery, which often reduces discomfort and recovery time. Starting a healthy diet before your surgery also helps set you up for success.

Options if Your Surgery Is Not Approved

We do everything we can to help you reach your goals. Ultimately, your safety is the most important consideration. That means some patients may not receive approval for surgery because of health issues.

If we can address the problem together, we may ask you to continue coming in for monthly appointments. When we resolve the health concern, we can ask the committee to review your case again.

Support as Long as You Need It

We understand that your need for support doesn't end a few weeks or months after surgery. That's why we have a bariatric surgery patient support group that's available as long as it's helpful to you.

Our support group is a once-a-month meeting filled with people who want you to succeed. Support group members come up with ways to deal with life and work stresses. If you have a setback, they'll be there with encouragement and ideas to help you get back on track.

Take the First Step

Take the first step. Fill out our contact form or schedule an appointment or consultation by calling (641) 236-4323.

You can learn more about our bariatric surgery support group by viewing the class details or calling (641) 236-2598.