Steps To Surgery

Surgery for weight loss is a serious undertaking and should be considered only as your last resort to losing weight. Bariatric surgery presents an opportunity for those who remain severely obese after trying non-surgical approaches and have an obesity-related disease. When considering bariatric surgery, it is imperative that you are well informed and understand how surgery will affect your life. Answers to the following questions may help you decide whether weight-loss surgery is right for you.

To see if you are ready to undergo weight loss surgery here at the U-M, see how you answer the following questions.

Are you:

  1. Unsuccessful at keeping weight off long-term through traditional or non-surgical methods?
  2. Well informed about the surgical procedures and the effects of the surgery and extremely weight loss?
  3. Determined to lose weight and improve your health?
  4. Willing to make permanent, major, life-long lifestyle changes including: what you eat, how much you can eat, food no longer being a major focus in your life, engaging in some type of activity / exercise most days of the week?
  5. Aware of the potential for serious complications, dietary restrictions, not losing the amount of weight you would like, and possibly failure?
  6. Committed to lifelong medical follow-up and dally vitamin/mineral supplementation?

If you answered YES to 4 or more of these questions, you may begin the following steps to your surgery:

  1. Before calling our program to schedule your free Information Session, contact your health insurance company to verify if bariatric surgery is a covered benefit under your policy and complete the patient insurance information form, located in the Medical/Nutritional Questionnaire. Some insurance companies exclude all types of weight loss surgery. Also, ask if your plan requires a referral to our program.
  2. If it has been longer than 12 months since your last visit to your primary care physician, make an appointment. You are required to have a comprehensive evaluation by your primary care provider within the past 12 months. This should include a complete physical exam, screening for treatable causes of obesity, documentation of all non-surgical attempts at weight loss over a minimum of 2 years and all studies, tests, and recent labs.
  3. Only after you have completed the above 2 steps, carefully review our program criteria. You must meet the criteria to be considered a candidate for the UMHS Adult Bariatric Surgery Program. If you meet all the requirements please call the program to schedule an Information Session.
  4. Attend a Weight Loss Surgery Information Session. Everyone interested in weight loss surgery must attend one of our Information Sessions. You will meet the bariatric surgery program team as well as post-weight loss surgery patients. There is a presentation on the gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and the laparoscopic gastric banding (Lap-Band), the benefits and risks, and the permanent life-modifying changes required after surgery will be reviewed. The meeting adjourns with a question and answer period.
  5. Once we receive your completed packet, available online or at the Information Session, including all of the requested documents, our program patient service associate will schedule you for the Medical, Nutritional, and Psychological evaluations with our team of bariatric experts.
  6. Once your evaluations and medical tests are completed, your case is presented to our Review Committee to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for weight loss surgery. The committee may make additional recommendations for further evaluations or therapies to ensure your success after the surgery.
  7. Once you have completed the recommendations made by our Review Committee, you will attend the pre-surgical Nutrition Education Class. This class will teach you how to change your eating habits before and after surgery, how to avoid nutritional deficiencies and encourage the lifetime commitment to dietary change.
  8. During this time you will also undergo Pre-operative Evaluations. You will meet with the Surgeon, Physician Assistant and Pre-Op Clinic for pre-op instructions, to review the risks and benefits of surgery, sign the surgery and program consents, and to answer any questions you may have regarding the surgery. Your surgery date is confirmed during this visit.
  9. Finally, the Day of Surgery. Follow the detailed instructions you will receive at your pre-operative evaluation.
  10. Our program offers lifetime follow-up. All patients are seen by the surgeon and dietitian at the 2 week and 2 month post-op visits. From there, patients are transitioned into the Post-Bariatric Surgery Clinic in the MEND (Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes) division for longitudinal follow-up. At the 6 month, 12 month, and subsequent annual appointments, patients are seen by the endocrinologist and dietitian. For more information, please visit the MEND website.