We’ve all had a similar thought as we cruise down the snack aisle in the grocery store: If I buy low-fat cookies, chips and crackers, I can eat more of them. But that mentality may not serve you in the end.
Committing to bariatric surgery may seem daunting but committing to your operation comes after months of education, preparation, and planning. Your interest in bariatric surgery is an important and courageous first step toward an improved quality of life—and the last step that you’ll have to take alone. Here’s what you should expect before your bariatric surgery.
Phase 1: Assessing your weight loss surgery eligibility
Weight loss surgery aims to help patients lose weight to improve their quality of life. Bariatric surgery should be considered only after all non-surgical options have been exhausted—if you’ve tried losing weight with diet and exercise and are still struggling to manage your weight, the first step is to talk with your health care provider.
“Bariatric surgery can be an excellent option for patients if they meet the weight loss surgery criteria,” said Bradee Rojas, M.S., R.D., C.D.C.E.S., Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Program Coordinator at Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill. “The ideal bariatric surgery candidate is someone who has a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher or has a BMI above 35 and has additional underlying conditions like diabetes or heart disease.”
Phase 2: Getting introduced to the process
Bariatric surgery is a physical, psychological, and emotional transformation, but support, resources and health care providers are always available along the way to guide you. At Inspira, bariatric surgery patients can begin by viewing a free, on-demand virtual informational bariatric surgery session focused on general information about our surgeons and the weight loss options available.
“A common misconception about bariatric weight loss surgery is that patients meet with a surgeon and have the operation, but bariatric surgery is a lifelong commitment. That is why we spend at least three to six months leading up to surgery educating our patients,” said Keith Kreitz, M.D., F.A.C.S., medical director of bariatric surgery at Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill. “We are here for more than the procedural aspect of bariatric surgery. We are here to be an informational resource to help people make the best decisions for their lifestyle.”
Phase 3: Attending your required classes
Following the informational session, and deciding to continue with the surgical route, patients are required to attend a pre-surgical education class and the “New Beginnings” bariatric support group. While the pre-surgical education class aims to inform prospective patients about the changes they will endure, the support groups cover a variety of topics, including but not limited to:
- Healthy eating
- Changing lifestyle habits
- Exercise routines
- Emotional preparation
“Through all this preparation, the most important thing for patients to know is that this process isn’t a walk in the park, but it has extreme rewards. The hardest things in life are worth fighting for and know that if you get stuck along the way, there is a team right here waiting for you,” said Rojas.