UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS


Planning your weight loss journey

To help assure the success of our patients, Ellis Medicine Bariatric Care Center has specific requirements for people seeking bariatric care. Please review these required steps for weight loss surgery candidates.

Qualifying for bariatric care

A candidate for bariatric surgery at Ellis Hospital is required to meet one of the Body Mass Index (BMI) criteria outlined below and have a letter of medical necessity from his/her primary care physician.

To qualify for bariatric care, candidates must have:

  • BMI of 40 or more (at least 100 pounds over ideal weight).
  • BMI between 35 and 40, accompanied by a high-risk comorbid condition such as life-threatening cardiopulmonary problems (i.e., severe sleep apnea, Pickwickian syndrome, or obesity-related cardiomyopathy) or severe diabetes mellitus.
  • BMI of 35-40, with obesity-induced physical problems that interfere with lifestyle (i.e., obesity prohibits a person from being treated for a joint disease, or body size problems preclude or severely interfere with one’s employment, family function and/or ability to walk).

Preparing for your surgery

Once you have obtained your letter of medical necessity from your primary care physician, you will go through the following steps for education and physical assessments prior to surgical care. (Please note: The steps listed below require approval from your individual insurance plan. For managed care and HMO patients, please remember to get referrals when necessary from your primary care physician.)

  1. Register and attend a mandatory Bariatric Orientation Seminar (Seminars are offered approximately once a month at a public location or available as an online video).
  2. Attend a one-on-one consultation with a surgeon to discuss benefits, risks and expectations/considerations of surgery, and review provided educational materials.
  3. If the surgeon decides that you are a qualified candidate and you choose to pursue the surgery option, within five days of your consultation with the surgeon, you will undergo laboratory tests, including a series of X-rays and an electrocardiogram (EKG).
    • [NOTE: If you do NOT qualify for surgery, you will be referred to a nutritionist at the Ellis Medicine Bariatric Care Center and back to your primary care physician to develop and pursue alternative weight loss options.]
  4. Undergo consultation/screening by a psychologist, nutritionist, and endocrinologist. Other clearances might also be necessary (i.e., for pulmonary and other conditions that might increase risks of surgery).
  5. You must adhere to a medically-supervised diet program for at least two weeks prior to surgery. If you do not follow the diet program, then surgery may be delayed and/or canceled.
  6. Once your surgeon gives you final clearance, about two weeks before surgery, you will complete a pre-admission visit at Ellis Hospital (visit includes examination by the surgical physicians' assistant, a meeting with an anesthesiologist and additional lab tests). The day of your surgery
  7. Report to Ellis Hospital at your scheduled time, where you will undergo a predetermined bariatric surgery procedure (either open or laparoscopic).
  8. Following surgery, you will be visited by your surgeon and begin physical activity and walking as soon as you are able.

Follow up care after surgery

  1. Your post-operative care will begin with visits from a nutritionist the day after your surgery and prior to your discharge. Hospital stays average two to five days.
  2. Follow-up appointments with your surgeon will be scheduled at regular intervals to monitor your progress and weight loss. Additional visits with the Ellis team may be recommended to provide support as needed.
  3. In addition to regular appointments, your doctor may recommend participation in support groups or counseling for continued success.