If you are like most people who are overweight, you will explore many options before talking to your doctor about bariatric surgery. Attempts are usually made to lose weight through diet, exercise, and medication before bariatric surgery is seriously considered. This is good because a history of weight loss attempts is required before getting approval for bariatric surgery. Once you make the decision to explore bariatric surgery then a consultation with your doctor should follow.
Before talking to your doctor about bariatric surgery make a list of topics and questions you want to talk about. You also should have an idea about what you want to accomplish through consultation: Do you want a referral to a bariatric surgeon? Do you want to attend a bariatric support group? Do you just want more information at this time? Planning for what you want to accomplish will increase your chances of getting what you want.
Now That I’m Here, What Do I Say? How to Talk to Your Doctor About Bariatric Surgery
Prepare for your appointment ahead of time. This will ensure that you get all of your questions answered as well as lessen your fear of talking to your doctor about bariatric surgery.
Consider your needs and any treatment goals that you have.
List the questions you want answered when talking to your doctor about bariatric surgery. Some questions might be should I consider weight loss surgery at this time? Should I see a behavioral counselor who specializes in weight management? Should I see a dietician or nutritionist? What are my options other than bariatric surgery?
Your doctor will have questions in return. Be sure to anticipate these questions so that your responses are thought through and accurate.
Your doctor might ask: How much do you eat in a typical day? What do you eat in a typical day? How active are you in a typical day? What factors contribute to your weight gain? How does your weight affect daily living?
What changes are you prepared to make in order to lose weight and keep it off?
If You Decide on Bariatric Surgery
If you decide that weight loss surgery is for you, here are some other questions you might want to ask when talking to your doctor about bariatric surgery.
How will weight loss surgery specifically help me? Who performs weight loss surgery? Where do I go to have weight loss surgery? What type of weight loss surgery should I have? What can go wrong before and after weight loss surgery? How much does weight loss surgery cost? Is it covered by my insurance?
Other Considerations When Talking to Your Doctor About Bariatric Surgery
Talking to your doctor about bariatric surgery is a good first step. Deciding that you want bariatric surgery is an even bigger step. You must be prepared to commit to the process and make the necessary lifestyle changes. Many people regain the weight they had lost because they retain old bad habits after bariatric surgery.
You should be aware that surgery is not an end-all. Additional procedures such as plastic surgery after weight loss might be needed to address the problem of excess hanging skin.
Be prepared for a bariatric psych evaluation prior to surgery in order to determine your emotional health. Many people seeking weight-loss surgery have pre-existing issues. This does not mean that bariatric surgery will be denied.
Finally, check to see that your health plan covers bariatric surgery. It is an expensive procedure, and you will have to meet specific conditions for bariatric surgery to be approved.
In good health,
Photo: Utah Bariatric Surgery