Many patients visiting this website have already decided to undergo bariatric surgery, and have now moved on to planning a safe and effective procedure. The decision to undergo surgery should not be made hastily. These procedures involve major surgery which means the risks and complications should be considered as well as the benefits. Choosing to have bariatric surgery should be a decision you make for yourself, not because someone else thinks it’s something you should do. Your goal should be to lose your excess weight and keep it off for a lifetime while living a healthier, longer life. This section will help patients plan their treatment and understand the steps required by our program which we feel are necessary to achieve the best possible results.
- Step 1 Contact Premier Surgical Services through our website or call us at 864-227-8932 or toll free 866-850-8932 and sign up for one of our free Bariatric Information Sessions
- Step 2 Attend our Information Session. If you decide to proceed with weight loss
surgery, go to Step 3.
- Step 3 If you will be relying on insurance to pay for this procedure, please contact your insurance company or human resources/benefits coordinator prior to scheduling an appointment with our Bariatric Program Coordinator in order to determine the following:
- Is weight loss surgery a covered benefit under my plan? If so, is it covered under medical necessity?
- What criteria must be met to be eligible for coverage?
- Is weight loss surgery listed as an exclusion? (An exclusion is where your policy specifically states that it will not pay for weight loss surgery under any circumstance.) If so, determine if you are going to proceed with the surgery and be a self-pay patient or explore financing options. Please note that any financing is between you as the patient and the financing company/bank.
If you already know that your insurance company covers weight loss surgery or if you will be a self-pay patient, the night of the information session you will be able to set up your initial appointment with our Bariatric Coordinator, or you may contact the Bariatric Coordinator later by calling 864-227-8932 or 1-866-850-8932. While you are waiting for your appointment, complete Steps 4 & 5.
- Step 4 Complete medical history form (which will be mailed to you once your appointment is scheduled).
- Step 5 Gather all documentation pertaining to any medical problems from your primary care physician or any other physician actively treating you at this time which are caused by your severe or morbid obesity (high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, arthritis, high cholesterol, heart disease, shortness of breath, stress incontinence, etc.) from your primary care physician or any other physician actively treating you at this time. Please have copies of this information for your meeting with the Bariatric Coordinator. Some insurance companies require documentation of previous attempts at weight loss (some require this to be physician-supervised). Gather any documentation from any weight loss program you have tried in the past (i.e., Weight Watchers, SLIC, Healthy Weigh, Carolina Medical Weight Management, The Bariatric Clinic, a physician, etc.) and bring this with you to your appointment with the Bariatric Coordinator.
- Step 6 Meet with our Bariatric Coordinator. This appointment usually takes about 1 hour.. Appointments for the Nutritional Consultation, Psychological Evaluation, the Exercise Fundamentals Program and History & Physical will be scheduled. Also during this appointment, your medical documentation will be reviewed, your current height, weight and BMI will be recorded and an overview of the surgeries will be discussed. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions or discuss your concerns.
- Step 7 Once all appointments are completed and paperwork is received, that information, along with your medical records are reviewed by our multidisciplinary team. If you are relying on insurance to pay for your surgery, this information is submitted to your insurance company with an accompanying letter of Medical Necessity generated by Dr. Rapp/Dr. Fiszer. If you are a self pay patient and your records are acceptable, you will be scheduled for your consultation appointment with your surgeon.
- Step 8 While you are awaiting approval from your insurance company or waiting for an appointment with Dr. Rapp or Dr. Fiszer, you should begin attending support classes to help prepare yourself for your new weight loss journey. You will be required to earn twelve credits from classes prior to having surgery. Classes are held at Tower Pointe Medical Center as well as our Greenville and Anderson offices. A schedule of upcoming classes can be obtained from the Bariatric Coordinator.
- Step 9 Once insurance approves you for surgery, you will be given an appointment to see your surgeon. If you are denied by insurance, you will have the opportunity to begin an appeal process or determine if you would like to proceed as a self pay patient.
- Step 10 At your appointment with your surgeon your surgery will be discussed in-depth along with risks and benefits of surgery. Your questions will be addressed as well. You will also meet with our surgical scheduler and she will be setting up the following appointments for you:
- Surgery Date
- Pre-op Date: this is required for all patients prior to any type of surgery. This is a pre-op interview with a nurse at the hospital. They will be doing necessary lab work, x-rays, EKG, etc. prior to surgery. They will also discuss anesthesia with you at this time.
- Gastric Band patients will be scheduled for an Upper Endoscopy prior to surgery.
- Gastric Bypass and Sleeve Gastrectomy patients will be scheduled for an Upper Endoscopy and Colonoscopy prior to surgery.
- Step 11 Thirty days prior to your surgery you will be required to begin an OptiFast diet to help prepare your body for surgery. The dietician will review this diet plan with you and set goals for presurgery weight loss for you. During this time, you will come in to the office weekly for classes and weigh-ins to assist you with meeting your goals.
- Step 12 All weight loss surgery is performed at Hillcrest Memorial Hospital in Simpsonville. After surgery, Gastric Band patients should expect to go home the evening of surgery or possibly will spend one night in the hospital. Sleeve Gastrectomy patients should expect to spend one to two nights in the hospital following surgery. Gastric Bypass patients normally spend two to three nights.
- Step 13 You will be required to keep all of your scheduled follow-up appointments after surgery. It is very important to be followed by a physician for the rest of your life after having bariatric surgery.
While your road to surgery may seem very long and frustrating at times, it is important for you to understand how vital each step is in your ultimate success after surgery. At Premier Surgical Services, your health and safety are our primary concerns. By being dedicated to completing all the steps in the process, before you know it, you will be on your way to a healthier, longer life.