During the pre-op stage of weight loss surgery, there are many appointments that you will have to go to. Once you receive the list from your surgeon, it can be quite overwhelming. However, all of these appointments are critical to ensure you are ready for surgery. Most of the appointments are requirements from your insurance company, while there are a few that your surgeon will want no matter what. Here are some of the appointments you will have as a weight loss surgery patient.
- Cardiologist. Before surgery, it is important to make sure your heart is healthy. Your surgeon will more than likely require you to have an EKG. This is one of the most important appointments. If you have never had an EKG or met with a cardiologist before, use this time to ask questions about ensuring you have a healthy heart after surgery.
- Pulmonologist. This is another important appointment because obesity is associated with respiratory issues, which could increase the risk of complications after bariatric surgery. It is critical that you make sure you do not have respiratory issues prior to surgery.
- Nutritionist. After surgery, your nutrition is going to drastically change. As obese individuals, we are used to eating a certain way, more than likely a very unhealthy way. Meeting with a nutritionist is an amazing way to get information on how your nutrition should be after surgery. I highly recommend that you continue this relationship even after surgery.
- Psychologist. Life is going to be completely different after weight loss surgery. So much of a weight loss surgery journey is a mental and emotional journey, not just a physical one. This appointment is to ensure you are mentally ready for the changes that will come after weight loss surgery. Many people stress about this appointment and feel like they can’t express their concerns in the appointment. Be honest during the evaluation and share what you plan on doing after bariatric surgery when you can’t use food as an escape any longer. As with the nutritionist, I highly recommend you continue this relationship after surgery or find a therapist you can work with.
- Other tests. In addition to the appointments above, you will probably have additional tests. Upper GI and chest x-rays will more than likely be another step for you prior to surgery. Sleep studies are also common for bariatric patients as they want to check you for sleep apnea. In addition to the requirements from your insurance company, there also some appointments specifically that your surgeon might require. For example, my surgeon recommends a pap smear prior to surgery even though the insurance company does not. He wants to make sure there are no signs of cervical cancer. Be prepared that your surgeon might have additional steps for you to take prior to surgery.
Many people wonder how you can speed up the process to get to the operating table as soon as possible. My advice would be to make sure you schedule your appointments right after meeting with your surgeon as it can usually take a couple of weeks to get into some doctors. Remember, these appointments are to ensure you are as healthy as possible prior to surgery so be patient during this stage and take it seriously. In the end, you will be glad that you took these steps to ensure you are ready for surgery.