Bariatric Surgery Process

Bariatric surgery is a surgical option for obese and morbidly obese individuals who have not had long-term success with other weight loss options such as diet, exercise or medications. It is important to remember that bariatric surgery is just a tool. It is not magic nor is it a cure for obesity. Your long-term success is dependent upon how you use your tool.

doctor and patient talking

Before bariatric surgery

Bariatric surgery is a life-changing decision. Review the criteria for becoming a bariatric patient to learn if surgery is right for you.

  1. You must have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or greater.
  2. If your BMI is between 35-40, then you must have at least one significant co-morbidity (serious medical problem). Individuals with a BMI of 30 - 35 with at least one significant co-morbidity qualify for the LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Banding System, BMI of 30-40 for Intragastric Balloon.
  3. Most patients are between the ages of 18 and 65 years old, but consideration for surgical treatment of morbid obesity is not based on age alone.
  4. You must not have any severe psycho-emotional or medical problems that would make surgery unnecessarily risky.
  5. You must not be drug or alcohol dependent, and if you have a history of such, you must be well into a qualified treatment program with at least one year of sobriety.
  6. You must be willing to abstain from using alcohol.
  7. If you smoke, you must stop at least three months before surgery, and quit smoking forever.
  8. You must have healthy teeth, in order to grind your food properly. If you are missing multiple molar teeth, we strongly encourage you to see your dentist to evaluate methods to address this problem.
  9. You must have an ongoing commitment to follow the nutrition, exercise, medication and laboratory protocols provided.
  10. You must have an ongoing commitment to attend face-to-face support group meetings on a regular basis and/or participate in our online support group via Facebook.
  11. You must make an ongoing commitment to return to the office for follow-up appointments.

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During your bariatric surgery procedure

Making an important decision to change your life can be difficult. Our program is designed to support you every step of the bariatric surgery process. Best of all, our program does not charge a program fee.

1. Research
We encourage you to learn as much as possible about your weight loss surgery process. The more informed you are, the better your outcome will be.

2. Information sessions for bariatric surgery
Our bariatric surgery patients are required to participate in a free information session before scheduling their initial consultation. These sessions are designed to introduce you to our program. You can participate online or attend an in-person session.

Online sessions
You may participate in the online session at any time. The online session lasts 35 minutes and you will be required to complete your health history.
Click here to start your online session.

In-person sessions
Our friendly, in-person sessions are held on most 1st and 3rd Thursdays, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital. To register or for more information, please call (843) 402-CARE or register online.

3. Complete patient intake packet (only applies to in-person sessions)
During the session, you will be given a patient intake packet. Completed packets should be mailed, faxed or emailed to:

Roper St. Francis Bariatric Surgery and Medical Weight Loss
2093 Henry Tecklenburg Drive, Suite 202 & 205 East
Charleston, SC 29414
Fax: (843) 606-7996
bariatricandmetabolic@rsfh.com

Once we have received your completed packet, we will verify insurance, review your medical records and call you to schedule an appointment for an initial consultation.

4. Initial consultation
During the initial consultation, you will visit with Dr. Mitchell / Dr. Thomas to go over your medical history, surgery options and answer any questions. Based on your medical history, the surgeon will determine the tests and clearances needed to proceed with surgery. During the initial consultation, you will also meet with our Program Specialist who will help prepare you for surgery by scheduling all of your pre-operative tests and clearances (to examine the esophagus, stomach and part of the small intestine).

5. Pre-admission testing and teaching
Pre-operative tests and clearances may include a sleep study, EKG, chest x-ray, lab work and consultation with an anesthesiologist. Each patient must have an evaluation by our clinical therapist and an EGD two weeks prior to surgery. In addition, each candidate is required to attend a mandatory patient education class.

6. Surgery
All surgeries are performed at Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital. Bariatric surgery patients will stay on 5 SPCU, a dedicated bariatric surgery unit with specially trained nurses. The nurses will assist with your post-operative nutrition and exercise recommendations. The length of time you spend in the hospital will depend on which procedure you have: gastric bypass, adjustable gastric banding or sleeve gastrectomy. The intragastric balloon is an out-patient procedure.

Life after bariatric surgery

Your surgery is only one step in your weight loss surgery process. We want you to have excellent results and are committed to helping you achieve your goal of better health for a lifetime.

The first year post surgery

The first year after your surgery you will have monthly follow up appointments where we will monitor your progress and offer assistance. Occasionally, if you're doing well, your visits could possibly be lessened to every six weeks.

Annual lifetime office visits

We need and want to see you every year after you have had a bariatric surgery. We are committed to your health and expect you to be dedicated to lifelong follow-up care. It is important that we help you keep track of your progress.

On-going support and support groups

We are here to assist you throughout your weight loss journey and encourage you to join our virtual support group. It is helpful to share with others who are experiencing many of your same thoughts and feelings in a caring environment. Prospective and current patients and supporters are invited and encouraged to attend. Learn more about our support group.

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