Where to Begin

Alabama Surgical Associates – Bariatric Surgery

Beginning the Process

The first step is making the commitment to follow a life changing process. The success of the program relies on this commitment. Short and long term complications can arise from a lack of commitment. To better understand the surgical weight loss program, preliminary information can be obtained through Alabama Surgical Associates (ASA) seminars and ASA affiliated support groups. Also, ASA works closely with Bariatric Wellness Institute (BWI) to provide a source for bariatric information and services. Next, obtain the necessary documents as applicable.

Documents Needed for Surgical Consideration

  1. Documentation of weight loss programs including diets, exercise, pills/medications, and lifestyle change for a minimum of the past six months and preferably the past five (5) years.
  2. Documentation from physician(s) and/or nutritionist indicating failure or success in weight management programs whether diet, exercise, medications or lifestyle change.
  3. Consultation letter from a registered and licensed nutritionist. The nutritionist must have experience in dealing with gastric bypass surgery patients.
  4. A record of attendance with a weight loss surgery support group and/or psychiatrist.
  5. Medical records from previous doctor visits, surgeries or hospitalizations.

The Process Begins

The bariatric surgical program begins with a preliminary private consultation with an experienced bariatric counselor. The bariatric counselor will discuss the medical qualifications for surgery, pre-operative testing requirements (unique to each individual), surgical options and techniques, potential complications of surgery, and post-operative instructions including adherence to support, diet, and exercise programs.

Next, a private consultation is scheduled with a registered, licensed dietitian. The dietitian will review previous weight loss programs and current dietary habits. Also, an evaluation for eating disorders will be performed. A medical and/or surgical weight loss program will be recommended based on patient specific daily caloric expenditures. The daily caloric expenditure will be determined by obtaining a metabolic cart. Post surgical dietary changes will be reviewed. You should begin adjusting your diet prior to surgery. Patients who are already making adjustments to their eating habits have more success adapting after surgery. Drinking sugar-free, decaffeinated and non-carbonated beverages and lowering sugar intake are excellent ways to get started. A low glycemic index diet is recommended. A pre-operative physician supervised weight loss program may be required prior to surgery. The nutritionist will help guide you with the appropriate foods and amount of intake prior to and after surgery. Long term monitoring of dietary compliance is a key role and often determines the success of the medical/surgical weight loss program. You will need to change the way you eat for the rest of your life. The surgery will reduce the amount your stomach will hold from approximately 1000 cc to about 20 to 30 cc (lap band and lap gastric bypass). Your surgeon requires each patient to have a consultation with the bariatric nutritionist prior to surgery being scheduled. You must understand completely, if you do not follow the nutritional guidelines, you can develop health problems and even gain the weight back. The information provided to you by the nutritionist can help you avoid overeating or suffering from lack of minerals and vitamins. The information provided will help you develop new eating patterns to ensure healthy weight loss.

A bariatric surgical consultation will be scheduled if all preliminary qualifications are met. A consultation with the surgeon does not imply that he will recommend and/or perform your surgery. Your surgeon will perform a complete and thorough history and physical examination focusing on medical problems commonly associated with morbid obesity. Medical problems are often identified for the first time during this evaluation. A pre-operative risk assessment will be obtained based on medical history. Collaboration with your primary care physician and various specialists is necessary for appropriate pre-operative and post-operative management. During this visit, risks and benefits of bariatric surgery will be discussed. Initial planning for bariatric surgery will begin.



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