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How Quickly Can You Have Bariatric Surgery?

How Quickly Can You Have Bariatric Surgery?

Getting started

Plus size woman working at office space looking at laptop and writing in notebook When we discuss the path toward bariatric surgery, the question of “how fast I can get it” almost invariably pops up. This is usually because the decision to have bariatric in the first place is so significant that when patients have made up their minds, they can’t wait to get moving and see their eventual results. This is perfectly understandable, but the reality of a significant surgical procedure like this means there will always be some time between the decision and the surgery date. Let’s talk about what influences the surgical timeframe:

Insurance Requirements

If you plan on using your insurance benefits to pay for part or most of your bariatric procedure, you must meet a laundry list of criteria to be pre-approved. These include standard testing to ensure your safety, documentation of prior weight loss efforts, and up to six months of medical weight loss. All said, assuming that the insurance documentation is submitted correctly, you could be looking at anywhere from 3 to 9 months before you can have surgery.

Self-pay (paying cash or out-of-pocket) for your bariatric procedure avoids many insurance requirements. Depending on your insurance plan, deductibles, coinsurance, and co-pays may be more than our cash-pay gastric sleeve price. If this is the case, and you’re ready to move ahead immediately, you can often be in surgery within a few weeks after your decision. This can put you several months ahead in your weight loss journey. Of course, the decision on how to pay for your surgery should not be taken lightly, so whatever path you choose, don’t rush it.

One of the most critical parts of ensuring a safe bariatric procedure is verifying that your body and health can withstand the trauma that is any surgical intervention. As such, some preop testing applies no matter how you pay. Between a visit to the cardiologist and, in some cases, to the pulmonologist and other specialists, we want to ensure that you are up for the anesthesia and can recover well in case of any potential medical concerns. Poor health may require additional testing and a little more time before your procedure.

Lastly, is your timing. Of course, you will need to schedule your surgery around when you have the appropriate help necessary to make your recovery comfortable and rapid. You shouldn’t necessarily schedule your surgery during times when you know lots of stressful events will happen. This can be a diet buster and a motivation killer. Remember that you are doing this for yourself and your long-term health. Make sure you can devote everything you need to it.

What to Do While You Wait

While waiting for your bariatric procedure, you can do plenty to prepare, reduce risk, and increase the likelihood of a successful and rapid recovery and weight loss phase. For one, ensure you follow all your preop instructions, including your liver-shrink diet, which is critical for safety. Yes, following some of these recommendations will be challenging, but they will pay off tremendously.

Before surgery, it is also a great time to join online and in-person support groups to understand more about the typical bariatric patient’s life. You can get the tips and tricks needed to ensure your recovery is smooth and have regular chats with those who’ve been there before to understand what to expect and look out for.

This is also an excellent time to start your exercise and diet program. Exercising does not necessarily mean running a half marathon. Instead, getting out and walking every day is a significant first step. It strengthens your cardiovascular system, making it more resilient during surgery. This is also useful because, after surgery, you’ll be expected to walk very shortly after your procedure and regularly after that.

Changing your diet before surgery has similar benefits. The sooner you do it, the more likely you are to stick to your diet after surgery. Getting creative with your cooking is always a good idea and easier before surgery than afterward when you are still recovering.

This is also a great time to get your ducks in a row. Pack your bag for the hospital well in advance of your surgery date. Speak to family and friends to understand who will be with you during every post-op phase. You may even be able to recruit a loved one to follow the diet with you and help them change their lives, too.

Whether you have a short or long wait period before surgery is secondary to the fact that you’ve taken a giant step toward improving your health and life. We congratulate you on this decision, and we look forward to helping you prepare for your surgery and a life free from excess weight and obesity.

Related Topics:

Discussing Your Decision to Have Bariatric Surgery With Family and Friends
Bariatric Surgery FAQs with Dr. Abbas
Why Dieting Alone Simply Doesn’t Work

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