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Preparing for Bariatric Surgery

Considering weight loss surgery but don’t know where to start? Ian from the UT Health Tyler Bariatric Center gives an overview of the preparation process.

Bariatric surgery can help you regain your freedom and live a longer, healthier life. These procedures also can improve and in some cases resolve health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, joint pain and more.

Ian Graeter, LVN, is a nurse at the UT Health Tyler Bariatric Center. He helps patients with scheduling appointments, when they arrive for their appointments and working with insurance companies. He is very involved in preparing patients for bariatric surgery and said he enjoys seeing “the transformation in the patients that come through after surgery and how happy it has made them.”

If you’re considering bariatric surgery, you first need to find out if you’re a candidate. To do this, you’ll need to know your BMI. The formula used to calculate BMI is weight divided by height squared, and it is usually calculated in kg/meter2. You can calculate your BMI with our BMI calculator or call our office at 903-593-0230 and we’ll calculate it for you. Knowing your BMI is important because it affects what insurance will cover. According to most insurance companies, your BMI needs to be 40 or greater, or 35 or greater with at least one weight-related health issue, to be covered.

If your BMI is 35 or greater, we’ll ask you to call your insurance provider. Bariatric surgery is insurance-driven and the coverage and requirements vary from provider to provider, so it’s important to know what will be covered going into the process. If your insurance does not cover bariatric surgery, our office has a private pay option available.

The next step is to attend a New Bariatrics Seminar at our clinic. In this seminar, you’ll meet with a nurse to go over the steps required by your insurance company, such as pre-operative weight management classes, psychiatric evaluation, nutrition consult, exercise consult or anything else insurance may require. Next, you will watch a video and hear from one of our bariatric surgeons, either Dr. Hugh Babineau or Dr. Charles Keith, about the different types of surgeries and the reason bariatric surgery is a great choice in assisting with weight loss. After the group discussion, the doctors will meet with each patient to discuss which procedure best meets his or her needs. This will give you the opportunity to get to know the doctor and go over any questions or concerns you may have.

Upon completion of all insurance requirements and insurance approval, the surgery can be scheduled.

After surgery, you’ll receive post-op guidelines to help you through the recovery process. You’ll also receive information about support groups, nutrition and exercise post-surgery. It’s important to remember that this is not a quick fix, but our team is here to support you every step of the way. Ian said, “This is a lifelong journey to a better life.”

If you’re considering bariatric surgery or want to learn more, call our office at 903-593-0230.

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