Patient Experience & Education
Our 4 Stage Surgical Weight Loss Program
Many surgical procedures are simple “in-and-out” procedures. Appendicitis? Have an appendectomy, and be on your way. Ganglion cyst? A 45-minute procedure and a physical therapy session could be all it takes.
Surgical weight loss, on the other hand, is different. The team at the Weight Loss Solutions Center considers bariatric surgery different because it can extend the length of a patient’s life – by addressing health issues related to obesity – while also improving a patient’s quality of life. Additionally, bariatric surgery requires a lifetime of commitment from the patient in order to be effective.
Learn about the four stages of our surgical weight loss program…
Stage 1: Preoperative Education
During this stage, you will attend a small group seminar and a one-on-one consultation with your surgeon. You’ll learn about the various types of weight loss surgeries available, as well as the pros and cons of each procedure. This first stage of our surgical weight loss program serves as a great introduction to the personal, custom-tailored advice you will receive throughout all of your interactions with the medical staff.
Stage 2: Surgery Preparation
Once you and your surgeon have decided on the appropriate bariatric surgery, your team will help you with everything from insurance authorizations to lab tests and other procedures. A nutritionist will give you the tools you need to make smart post-op dietary decisions. We want the transition to be as easy as possible for you!
Stage 3: Surgical Weight Loss Procedure
Once the insurance company has approved your bariatric surgery, your surgeon will perform the procedure in one of the state-of-the-art operating rooms at Southwest General Hospital in San Antonio. See a list of surgical weight loss procedures offered at the Weight Loss Solutions Center.
Stage 4: Postoperative Support… For Life!
There is no need for immediate rehab following your surgery. After three weeks, you’ll return to your surgeon’s office for a post-op class that reinforces the information you learned prior to your surgery. Additional lifelong support is available for patients of the Weight Loss Solutions Center through online and on-site support groups. Learn more about our follow-up care philosophy.
We invite you to join us at our next free weight loss seminar. Learn about various surgical weight loss options, risks and benefits, and more from South Texas’s leaders in bariatric surgery. Call 1-877-215-WELL today!
Bariatric Surgery Benefits
Do you find fad diets exhausting? Do you lack the health or energy to try new exercise programs? Well, you may be more or less relieved to hear that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has declared bariatric surgery to be the only proven weight loss method for individuals suffering from morbid obesity (BMI of 40+).
Surgical weight loss doesn’t just help you get rid of extra body mass. Many other conditions such as type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea also disappear. Here are a few of the health benefits you may experience after bariatric surgery:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower cholesterol levels
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Improved blood glucose (blood sugar) levels, potentially preventing type 2 diabetes
- Fewer or no asthma attacks
- Improved sleep, lessened potential for sleep apnea and snoring
- Relief from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and heartburn
- Improved bladder control
- Comfort and relief from lower back pain, inflammation, and degenerative diseases
- Improved metabolic health
- For women, lessened menstrual dysfunction and improved fertility health
- Relief from migraine headaches and depression
- Enhanced quality of life and longevity
- Resolved depression
Bariatric Surgery Risks
Bariatric surgery – like any surgery – comes with its own set of risks, including the risk of mortality. Certain procedures have higher success rates than others, which the staff at the Weight Loss Solutions Center will be happy to discuss with you. Before you consider surgical weight loss, you should be aware of the following risks:
- Wound infections
- Abdominal bleeding
- Staple/suture leakage
- Respiratory failure
- Pulmonary problems
Certain side effects, such as leakage, occur in 2% to 5% of cases on a national level. Patients at the Weight Loss Solutions Center, on the other hand, experience leakage in less than 0.5% of cases. For another example, consider the fact that only 5% to 7% of our patients experience stricture (narrowing of the esophagus), compared to the national average of 7% to 25%.
Furthermore, many patients prefer the services of a BLIS-approved surgeon at Southwest General Hospital. Patients that choose BLIS-approved surgeons have financial security that no other company can provide. Should you have any post-surgical complications for up to 90 days after surgery, your medical bills will be completely covered.
6 Steps for Starting Your Weight Loss Journey
Deciding to pursue serious weight loss through bariatric surgery is one of the most exciting – yet challenging – decisions you’ll ever make. That’s why we do everything we can at the Weight Loss Solutions Center to make your journey a comfortable and safe experience.
Getting started on the journey to a new you can present a few hurdles. However, if you follow these six steps in our program checklist, you’ll find that your experience will be an enjoyable one…
Step 1: Verify Your Benefits
Everyone’s insurance plan is different. Before beginning, verify that your insurance provider offers bariatric surgery coverage. You can do this by calling the member services number on the back of the card.
The primary diagnosis code for morbid obesity is 278.01. Other important weight loss surgery codes:
- 43644 – Gastric Bypass
- 43770 – Adjustable Gastric Banding
- 43775 – Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG)
- 43845 – Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch
- 43860 – Revision
Step 2: Bring a Referral
Some insurance companies will require you to have a referral or authorization in order to see a specialist. If this is the case with your insurance company, make the appropriate arrangements with your primary care physician. Please call our offices ahead of time to ensure that the referral has been received.
Step 3: Attend One of Our Weight Loss Group Seminars
Next, sign up for a free weight loss group seminar at the Weight Loss Solutions Center. You can do this by calling 1-877-215-WELL. Once you have attended a weight loss seminar, you will receive a Confirmation of Attendance certificate, which allows you to schedule a one-on-one consultation with your surgeon. Learn more about our weight loss seminars.
Step 4: Attend a One-On-One Meeting With Your Surgeon
During your one-on-one meeting with your surgeon, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss specific strategies for addressing your weight loss. Surgical weight loss and medical weight loss strategies may both be topics of discussion, depending on your condition.
Prior to attending this consultation, we require that you provide health history information. Most patients with obesity have other health conditions that should be addressed at this point.
During your consultation, your surgeon may recommend a surgical procedure. Afterwards, this weight loss surgery may be submitted to your insurance company. Approval may take four to six weeks, at which point we will contact you.
Step 5: Provide Medical Records & Supporting Information
Depending on your insurance, health conditions, and type of surgery requested, you will have to provide certain medical records and supporting information. Standard patient requirements include:
- Letter of medical necessity from primary care physician
- Psychological evaluation (including MMPI)
- Documentation of previous weight loss attempts
- Cardiac clearance (patients over 50 and as determined by insurance company or surgeon)
- Pulmonary clearance (patients over 50 with a BMI over 50, and as determined by insurance company or surgeon)
Your insurance company may require the following information:
- Medical records documenting weight history for a period of one to five years, depending on your health plan.
- Dietary consult
- Medically supervised diet and exercise program:
- 3-, 6- or 12-month diet requirement
- Must be consecutive and completed within the last two years.
- Miscellaneous labs (i.e. – TSH, H. Pylori, drug and alcohol screening, A1C, tobacco use, etc.)
Step 6: Attend One of Our Educational Bariatric Classes
Once your consultation with your surgeon is complete, you will be required to attend an introductory class on the surgery procedure you have applied for. This class will cover your new diet, risks, benefits, and other related information. This is a great time to ask questions about your surgery!
Once the surgery has been authorized by the insurance company, you will take a final preoperative class approximately two weeks prior to the date of your surgery. At this point, you are almost ready to make one of the biggest changes of your life!
Have more questions about surgical weight loss? Give us a call at 1-877-215-WELL.