Patient Guide to Bariatric Surgery

Weight loss surgery requires a commitment to lifestyle changes, including what you eat and how often you exercise. We help you set the groundwork, so you're mentally and physically prepared for life after bariatric surgery. The entire process, from consultation to surgery, generally takes about six months to complete. It often depends on you and your insurance requirements. If you are interested in bariatric surgery but aren't sure where to start, our step-by-step guide can help.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Seeking Bariatric Surgery

Education and preparation are important first steps if you're seeking bariatric surgery. We help ensure your safety and long-term success in meeting your health and weight loss goals.

Schedule your seminar and consultation for the same day, if possible.

First, you will attend our Patient Education Seminar where you meet some of our providers and learn about our program. Our dietitian explains the supervised diet process before surgery and the dietary changes you should expect after surgery.

Our Patient Education Seminar provides an overview of the different bariatric surgery options. You can also watch online videos about bariatric surgery and making informed decisions.

At your consultation, you discuss the surgical options with your surgeon, who also answers any questions. At the end of the visit, a patient navigator gives you your personal patient education binder (PDF) and a checklist of preoperative tests. Completing these tests is a requirement that helps the surgery go smoothly.

Before your first visit, we recommend that you get in touch with your insurance carrier to understand your benefits and coverage. Your insurance company may require that you meet specific guidelines.

Our expert dietitian and behavior specialists teach you how to build healthy food habits to aid your weight loss. You may be required to begin a supervised diet program. During this program, you meet with the dietitian at least once per month for three to six months.

You meet with a psychologist or social worker to make sure you are mentally ready to move forward with the surgery and have a support system in place.

Based on your history, we may conduct several preoperative tests to make sure that we meet your needs before, during and after surgery:

  • Cardiology testing
  • Clearance from your physician and psychiatrist
  • Gastrointestinal evaluation
  • Sleep apnea evaluation

Our multidisciplinary committee will review your case to ensure your safety and readiness for surgery.

After the committee approves you for surgery, we begin the authorization process with your insurance company. Once authorized, we schedule your surgery.

After your insurance company authorizes your procedure, you will:

  • Get clearance: Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider for preoperative clearance two to four weeks before your surgery date. 
  • Attend a class: Our nurses run preoperative classes, which explain what you can expect during and after surgery.
  • Meet with surgeon: Two weeks before your surgery date, you have an appointment with your surgeon to finalize surgery details.
  • Preoperative workup: You may complete one more round of tests just before surgery based on your health status.

Depending on the type of procedure you and your surgeon have selected, your surgery will take between one and three hours. We help you through the first days of recovery, encouraging you to get up and walk as soon as possible.

You can expect to follow a liquid diet. Most patients stay in the hospital for one to two days, depending on their procedure and recovery.

Following up with our team is essential to your safety and long-term success. You will have several follow-up appointments in the first year. After that, we recommend you have one follow-up appointment every year.

Patient Education Seminars

Introduction to Bariatric Surgery

Learn about the types of bariatric surgery we offer, including minimally invasive weight loss procedures. You'll also learn about how to prepare for your procedure, what to expect following surgery and how our clinical team supports you throughout your weight loss journey.

For detailed information on the comprehensive patient journey, please see our patient education binder (PDF).

Register for a Seminar

We encourage anyone wanting to know more about bariatric surgery to register for one of our free seminars. During the seminar, a qualified member of the Center for Weight Management and Metabolic Health team can answer any questions you have about bariatric surgery, nonsurgical weight loss options, insurance issues and more.

Support Groups

We offer an array of support groups and patient events to help you through your weight loss journey.

Have Questions or Need Help?

To make an appointment or refer a patient, call us or send a message to the Weight Loss Program. You can also have us call you back at your convenience.

Monday through Friday, 8 am - 5 pm PT

Available 7 days a week, 6 am - 9 pm PT