Steps for Surgery

STEP 1: INFORM YOURSELF

Please read the contents of our web site and other related web sites. We also recommend attending support group meetings to meet individuals who have had obesity surgery. Talking with someone that has experienced these changes is a great way to determine if obesity surgery is appropriate for you. Our resources sheet includes lists of web sites, local support groups, and books that might be helpful to you.

STEP 2: CONTACT OUR PROGRAM COORDINATOR

Our Bariatric Surgery Coordinator is available by phone at (805) 981-5348 or  e-mail at: rachel.rebollo@ventura.org to answer questions regarding our program, the surgery that we offer for morbid obesity, and eligibility.

STEP 3: YOUR PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN

It is important that you make an appointment with your primary care physician, to discuss your interest in bariatric surgery and complete a History and Physical Exam prior to meeting with a Bariatric Surgeon. It is also preferable that you have a stable relationship with you primary care physician, having been under that doctor’s care for one year prior to consideration for surgery. Request a summary letter of your current medical problems with an emphasis on your weight related problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heartburn, joint problems, and any supervised weight loss attempts. Please mail or bring a copy to our office prior to your consultation appointment. Be sure to keep one for you records.

STEP 4: ON-LINE QUESTIONNAIRE

We need basic information regarding your medical conditions and insurance information. 

STEP 5: SURGICAL CONSULTATION

At this appointment, you will meet with your surgeon to discuss your health and bariatric surgery. It is recommended that you bring a family member or close friend with you.

You will need to bring the letter from your primary care physician, completed packet, and insurance card

STEP 6: ADDITIONAL CONSULTATIONS

Your surgeon needs you to complete other consultations to evaluate your eligibility for surgery. You may complete these before or after your initial consultation. However all evaluations need to be completed prior to surgery. Once each evaluation is completed, be sure to mail or bring our office a copy of the report. Remember to keep a copy for yourself.

Psychological Consultation

 A mental health evaluation is necessary to ensure that if any psychiatric disorders are present, they are being optimally managed. This may include treatment with medications and/or counseling. Furthermore, this consultation establishes contact with a member of the mental health community should further support be needed in the post-operative period. We have a panel of psychiatrists and psychologists that help us in this task, listed on our referral sheet. If you would prefer to have your own mental health professional perform the evaluation, please bring the Psychological Evaluation letter included in your packet as a guideline for their assessment.

Dietary Consultation

A dietary consultation is an important step to success in this program. Many patients find it helpful to indentify current dietary patterns, and begin to develop a new plan to meet dietary guidelines following surgery. You may see any registered dietician. Our outpatient bariatric coordinator is also available to perform dietary consultations. Please bring the Nutritional Evaluation letter included in your packet as a guideline for their assessment. Other potential consultations as determined by your surgeon may include Cardiology, Pulmonary, Endocrinology or other specialists.

All our patients are required to undergo a psychological and nutritional evaluation as part of our programs.

STEP 7: PRE-OPERATIVE PREPARATION PROGRAM

Pre-operative weight loss through behavior modification is a very important step to the success of your operation. This not only shows understanding and dedication to the behaviors necessary to succeed with your weight loss program, it also reduces the amount of intra-abdominal fat and the size of the liver, which aids the surgeon when performing your operation.

STEP 8: INSURANCE APPROVAL

We suggest that you call your insurance company to determine if bariatric surgery is a covered benefit in your plan, and if so, which procedures are covered benefits.

Your surgeon determines if you are a surgical candidate after we receive the completed forms from this packet, the referral from your primary physician, the psychologist and dietary evaluations from your psychiatrist and dietician, and any other tests deemed necessary. Once accepted by your surgeon for surgery, a letter will be sent to your insurance company requesting approval.

You may contact your insurance company directly for updates. The office will notify you at once when we receive approval notification.  If you are approved, you may schedule a surgery date. If you are denied, you may file an appeal with the assistance of our office. You may also choose to self-pay. More information on appeals and self-pay is available by contacting our office.

STEP 9: SURGERY PREPARATION

About two weeks prior to your surgery, you and the bariatric coordinator will schedule your pre-operative appointment. You will be meeting with the bariatric nurse coordinator and the dietician at the Ventura County Medical Center. For your convenience, we will try to schedule these appointments on the same day. The appointments proceed as follows:

Pre-admission testing with the anesthesia department

Bariatric nurse consultation (what to expect in the hospital and during recovery)

Pre-operative Dietary check-up with the impatient dietician

Pre-operative appointment with your surgeon

STEP 10: AFTER SURGERY

 The following description of our after-care program is meant only to be a guideline; your surgeon may request to see you more depending on your particular circumstances.

The first post-operative visit occurs 7-10 days after discharge from the hospital. The second post-operative visit occurs 6 weeks after your operation. After that, we will check routine blood work at 3-months, at 6-months, and every 6 months thereafter for 2 years, then annually.

Some patients elect to undergo reconstructive surgery about one year after their weight loss surgery to remove excess skin. About half of our patients decide that plastic surgery is necessary and can be discussed during post-operative appointments with your surgeon.

Support groups, both at our hospital and online, are important to many people who under going weight loss surgery. Ventura Bariatrics' expectation is that you will continue to work with your primary care provider in the long-term, to help manage your general health.