Frequently Asked Questions

Questions Before Surgery

Q: Will my insurance cover my surgery?

A: Call the number on the back of your insurance card and ask the customer service rep if bariatric surgery is a covered benefit for you. You are just trying to verify benefits, not authorize your surgery (our office will do that).

Q: How do I know if my insurance requires a diet and exercise program?

A: Contact your insurance company and ask for your Medical Policy for Morbid Obesity. You can find this online or the customer service agent can direct you how to locate it. You must meet all of the requirements based on your individual insurance company before they will pay for your surgery.

Q: Is a diet and exercise program just a weigh in?

A: No, depending on your insurance company’s stipulations, you must see your primary care physician, licensed professional or Julie Johannes, PA at Southern Surgical once a month for the time period specified. During these visits he/she must place you on a diet plan and exercise regimen and document your progress.

Q: I already have a nutritionist or psychologist, can I just see them:

A: No, you must see one of our nutritionist or psychologist. They are aware of our bariatric program and what insurance companies are looking for in your evaluation.

Q: I already have a cardiologist or pulmonologist, can I just see them:

A: Yes, if you are currently being treated by a cardiologist or pulmonologist you may see them for your evaluation if required. Be sure that you actually see the doctor; we are looking for a formal clearance from your doctor as well as any testing they deem necessary. If our office has scheduled you please cancel your appointment if you are going to see your own doctor. Please note it must be a cardiologist and pulmonologist, you cannot see your primary care physician for this visit.

Q: When can I schedule an appointment to meet with my surgeon?

A: You must complete ALL appointments/testing required, including any follow up visits PRIOR to seeing your surgeon. Once you have completed all appointments, including any diet and exercise program that may have been required for you, call our office and we will review your chart and schedule you an appointment.

Q: Have I been approved by my insurance yet?

A: Our office will not submit for approval for your surgery until after you have completed all of your testing and have seen your surgeon. We must wait for the documentation from your surgeon about your visit with him. (This takes at least 7-14 days) Once we have received the documentation needed we will submit to your insurance by phone, fax or mail. Our office will contact you once we have written approval to schedule you for surgery.

Q: I received my approval letter in the mail, but have not heard from your office.

A: Please call to notify our office, and then fax the authorization to our office so we may schedule your surgery.

Q: How much will I have to pay for my surgery?

A: This is hard to answer because it varies based on your particular insurance plan. You can call to get your benefits (deductible and co-insurance amounts) from your customer service rep at your insurance company to get a general idea. Once you have been approved for surgery, our office will check your benefits as well and will be able to tell you at that time what you will need to pay to Southern Surgical.

 

Questions After Surgery

Q: What medications do I take after my Bariatric surgery?

A: Post-op medications will be determined by your surgeon. All medications need to be chewable, crushable, or liquid for the first 6 months after surgery and then must be smaller than an adult aspirin after the 6 month period.

Q: When can I take a shower after surgery?

A: Immediately unless otherwise notified by your surgeon.

Q: What should I do if my incisions start to drain?

A: First, call our office. Drainage does not mean infection. Keep incisions dry. Do not apply ointments, creams, or lotions to incisions.

Q: When can I drive after surgery?

A: You may drive when you are no longer taking pain medications.

Q: When can I have sex?

A: You may have sex anytime after surgery as long as pain allows.

Q: Are there any restrictions to activities after surgery?

A: It is recommended that you not lift more than 10lbs after surgery for 4:6 weeks.

Q: Is it normal for my Gastric Band to feel tight in the morning?

A: Yes it is normal for the band to feel tight in the mornings and for patients to have difficulties with solid foods for a few hours after awaking in the morning.

Q: How do I know if my Gastric Band is too tight?

A: The band is too if you are unable to eat soft foods, have reflux, regurgitation, or cough at night. Please call for an appointment to adjust the band as it is vital for your overall health that you be able to eat solid foods.

Q: What do I take if I have constipation after surgery?

A: Constipation is a common complaint after Bariatric surgery. We recommend over the counter medications like Milk of Magnesia or Miralax, increase fluid intake, and increase physical activity (ie walking).

Q: Why do I have pain which radiates to my left shoulder?

A: After laparoscopic surgery it is common to have gas pains which are referred to the left shoulder. We recommend GasX strips and increasing activity (ie-walking).

Q: I had Gastric Bypass surgery and have a sharp, stabbing pain in my left side. Is this normal?

A: Yes this is a stitch in the muscle fascia of the abdomen which helps prevent incisional hernias. This pain is intermittent and goes away in 4-6 weeks after surgery.

Q: What foods should be avoided after Bariatric surgery and why?

A: Any fibrous foods such as asparagus, broccoli, celery, fresh pineapple, etc. are examples of foods that may cause a blockage at the opening of the pouch and may require further surgery to re-open.