Timeline: Your Weight Loss Surgery Journey

Your path to weight loss through a surgical procedure will probably follow these general steps.

1. Ask Around

Do you know someone or have a friend or a relative who’s had weight loss surgery? That is usually a great place to start. Your surgeon may offer referrals to other patients as well. You may also want to attend seminars and educational events to hear advice, tips and personal testimonials.

2. Do Your Research

Armed with a bit of background info from your informal network, head to authoritative, informative sources of concrete info, such as the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons (ASMBS.org) or the websites of hospitals that offer bariatric programs. However, there is also a lot of unreliable information on the Internet so be mindful of the source and seek out credible sources like the ones mentioned above.

3. Talk to Your Doctor

Make an appointment with your primary care doctor to discuss your weight, your individual health risks and how or whether weight loss surgery will help you. He or she can refer you to a surgeon in your area to get more information about your candidacy.

4. Watch or Attend a Hospital Class or Meeting

Most hospitals with weight loss surgery departments offer seminars or classes about their programs. Register to attend these events so you can take notes and get answers to questions.

5. Choose a Surgeon or Hospital

Your insurance may limit your choice of surgeon or hospital, so start there and then find an accredited weight loss surgery program in your area. Investigate options based on your primary care doctor’s recommendations, online reviews, etc.

6. Investigate Insurance

Start the process by familiarizing yourself with your benefits. Once you have been referred to a weight loss surgery program, they can usually walk you through the process of getting pre-authorized for your procedure.

7. Pre-surgery Process

An important part of the weight loss surgery journey is the pre-surgery program, which usually consists of a supervised weight loss attempt that can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months depending on your program’s guidelines. After this process, you will then have a preoperative appointment to go over any last-minute details before surgery.

8. Have Your Surgery

It’s time to move forward and change your health and your life!

Weight loss surgery is generally designed for those with a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than 40, or equal to or greater than 35 with serious comorbidities. Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding with the Lap Band® is also FDA-approved for weight loss surgery in people with a BMI of 30 to 35 who have at least one obesity-related condition. Weight loss surgery is considered safe, but like many types of surgery, it does have risks. Consult with your physician about the risks and benefits of weight loss surgery.


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