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Where to Begin

Along your journey to a healthier and more active lifestyle, there are changes that need to be made. Our program is designed to identify some of those changes and help you make them! This web site is a good place to start. It has been created to give you a thorough understanding of the risks and benefits of this procedure. Talking to your primary care physician, physician specialist or family physician is a good next step.

Call the Memorial Hospital of Tampa Weight Loss Center to register for a free seminar with our surgeon. Remember, there is much misinformation about weight loss surgery that you may encounter from unqualified sources. Talking to others who have taken the path you are now considering may help you understand what you need to know to make a decision you can be comfortable with. In the end, your best source of information is an experienced Bariatric surgeon who knows how to handle your special needs before, during and after weight loss surgery.

Choosing Surgery

Weight loss surgery is major surgery. Although most patients enjoy an improvement in obesity-related health conditions after the successful results of weight loss surgery, these results should not be the overriding motivation for having the procedure.

The goal is to live better, healthier and longer.

That is why you should make the decision to have weight loss surgery only after careful consideration and consultation with an experienced Bariatric surgeon or a knowledgeable family physician. Our experienced Bariatric surgeon will answer your questions clearly and explain the exact details of the procedure, the extent of the recovery period and the reality of the follow-up care that will be required. An important part of the Memorial Hospital of Tampa Weight Loss Center process is a psychological evaluation. This is to help establish a clear understanding of the post-operative changes in behavior that are essential for long-term success.

It is important to remember that there are no ironclad guarantees in any kind of medicine or surgery. There can be unexpected outcomes in even the simplest procedures. What can be said, however, is that weight loss surgery will only succeed when the patient makes a lifelong commitment. Some of the challenges facing a person after weight loss surgery can be unexpected. Lifestyle changes can strain relationships within families and between married couples. To help patients achieve their goals and deal with the changes surgery and weight loss can bring, the Florida Surgical Weight Loss Center offers follow-up care that includes support groups, dieticians and other forms of continuing education.

The decision to have Bariatric surgery is entirely up to you and your surgeon. After having heard all the information, you must decide if the benefits outweigh the side effects and potential complications. This surgery is only a tool. Your ultimate success depends on strict adherence to the recommended dietary, exercise and lifestyle changes.

Checklist for Insurance Approval

The following is a checklist you can use to ensure you have the information needed to get your surgery approved. Every insurance company sets up a list of criteria for approval of Bariatric surgery. This checklist was created with this in mind.

Benefits

Check your benefits. Call the customer service number at your insurance company, and ask for the benefits department. Ask if you have benefits for Bariatric surgery. This information can also be found written in your policy on the exclusions page.

Supporting Doctor Statement

We ask for a letter from your primary care physician or specialist who supports your need for Bariatric surgery. Your doctor should list the various co-morbid conditions for which he/she is treating you. The letter should also state that significant weight loss might halt the progression of these conditions, as well as make them easier to manage. It should also reflect your medications.

Diet Records

You will be asked to provide documentation of all recent medically supervised weight loss attempts. The insurance company can, and often will, deny you if you don't provide them with proof that you have tried physician-supervised weight loss attempts. Be sure to have several visits with your primary care physician over a six-month period documenting your progress. The weight loss attempts do not have to involve medication, they can be exercise, low calorie diets, etc.

Medical Records

Medical records are essential to establishing medical necessity. Any doctor visits, surgeries, lab results, diagnostic procedures and ER visits should be included. Request records pertaining to your weight and any conditions worsened by your weight (i.e. Hypertension, Diabetes, Degenerative Joint Disease, etc.) We only need records from the past two years, unless insurance indicates a need for more.

Psychological Evaluation

A preoperative psychological evaluation is an essential component of preparing for weight loss surgery. The importance of obtaining a thorough psychological assessment cannot be overstated. What makes a thorough exam? A detailed clinical interview in addition to objectively scored psychological tests are the basics of a comprehensive psychological evaluation. Many insurance companies require an evaluation. The surgeon requires an evaluation for all patients.

Preparation for Surgery

The best preparation for your surgery is to understand everything you can about your surgery. Our team is committed to helping you achieve your weight loss goals. The path you have chosen can give you a healthier lifestyle. Take advantage of the time you have between your application and approval for the surgery! At the Memorial Hospital of Tampa Weight Loss Center, we realize that this is an important and often emotional decision but we also realize that there are many changes coming and many new skills to be learned. Start now with your preparations! Here are some suggestions that can be started right away:

  1. Gradually decrease the amount of caffeine you are consuming. Patients who stop caffeine suddenly at the time of surgery may experience symptoms of withdrawal such as intense headaches. Remember that there is a significant amount of caffeine in coffee, tea and many soft drinks.
  2. If you drink carbonated beverages, now is the time to stop! Why? When a cold compressed gas (carbonation) hits a 99.5 degree closed system (your stomach) it expands.
  3. Start a program of aerobic activity such as walking or swimming for 20 minutes, 4 times a week. Always get your physician's approval before starting any program involving physical exertion!
  4. Stop smoking! Cigarettes interfere with your lungs' ability to exchange oxygen. Also, nicotine impairs circulation and consequently may impede healing after any surgery and predispose you to infection.
  5. Reduce the amount of refined carbohydrates you consume. Refined carbohydrates include foods such as white bread, rice pasta and cookies.