As more and more people find out that I have had bariatric surgery I realize I am receiving a lot of similar questions and the first is usually, “Where or how do I start the process?” My answer is to go directly to your primary care physician. If you do not have one, get one. Call your insurance company or ask friends and relatives for references. It is essential that you find a doctor you trust and that you like because you will more than likely need to see them every month for the next 6 months. Most insurance companies recommend that you follow a 6 month supervised diet or a 6 month doctor supervised diet. Some allow the months to be split as long as it has been in the last two years.
Your primary care doctor will also be responsible for setting up the testing that you need beforehand. For me, this included blood work, a chest x-ray, a sleep study, an EKG and a stress test.
Once you find a good primary care physician THEN you need to find your surgeon. You can ask your PCP for a recommendation. I did and after attending a seminar at that hospital and having a not so good conversation with the surgeon, I decided to go to another hospital. A lot of the surgeons are booked months in advance so be prepared to wait a month or longer for your first visit. Also be prepared to fill out a TON of paperwork – mine was 20 pages – about your life – habits, health, family and more.
Most of the surgeons will also want you to attend and information seminar at their hospital before they will see you and I’ve found that they are normally held once or twice a month, at least here in my part of Maryland.
I hope that helps to answer some questions. I’ll be posting more answers in the next few weeks.