Obesity Surgery FAQs
When you become a candidate for obesity surgery, you'll get detailed instructions
from you're your doctors and case managers. The following are excerpts from our
Patient Guide to Obesity Surgery. This is to give you some idea of what
to expect and answer some common questions.
First of all, surgical patients must:
- stop smoking at least 1 month before surgery
- stop using certain medications 2 - 4 weeks prior to surgery -- including
aspirin, non-steroidal products such as ibuprofen, (Advil, Motrin, Aleve, and
Naproxen), Phentermine, vitamin E, ginseng, and birth control pills.
Your Surgery Date
Q:I feel both excited and nervous
about having surgery. Is this normal?
A: Yes, it is normal for you to experience conflicting emotions prior to
surgery. You have worked very hard to get to this point both individually and
with members of the OCC team. Initially, you may feel excitement that your surgery
will happen soon. However, as this date gets closer, you may experience anxiety.
Q: Is the date and time of my surgery
A: We try our best to keep the date and time you are given. These do not
change unless circumstances arise such as operating room conflicts, emergency
cases, pre-op tests results, or insurance denial.
Q: Once I have a date, how should
A: Once the surgical coordinator has notified you of your surgery date,
we suggest the following:
- Inform family members and friends of the date of your surgery and the need
for 4-6 week recovery time. It is best to plan as much in advance as possible
so you have assistance and support when you arrive home.
- Arrange to have someone drive you home from the hospital.
- Prepare your home by buying your food and drinks in advance. Discharge days
can be hectic, and you may be tired upon your arrival home.
- Minimize disruption by postponing any home improvements.
- Avoid scheduling extra events. Your stay in the hospital does not go beyond
what is considered medically necessary.
- Inform your employer and your human resource department regarding necessary
paperwork for your time out of work.
Q:Will my surgery be covered by insurance?
A: It is your responsibility to contact your insurance company and ensure
that the procedure is a covered benefit under your healthcare plan. The NEMC pre-certification
service, in conjunction with your insurance company, will work together to gain
If you have been initially denied coverage, your insurance provider will inform
both you and the hospital of this denial by mail. Occasionally, additional clinical
information may be necessary for final approval.
However, in some instances you may need to appeal the denied decision. This
process may take weeks, and we will need to either postpone or cancel your surgery.
You have the option to finance the surgery on your own as a self-pay patient.
Please contact the surgical coordinator for more information.
You'll receive specific dates, times, and locations for pre-op tests. If you
miss any of your pre-op tests, your surgery may need to be cancelled. Be sure
you use the map provided for hospital campus directions.
Q: What is pre-op testing?
A: All patients undergoing surgery are required to have pre-operative (pre-op)
tests performed. These tests provide vital information to the surgery and anesthesiology
The OCC surgical coordinator has scheduled these tests for you in advance.
Every attempt is made to coordinate various NEMC departments so that your tests
occur over 1 or 2 days.
Q: What pre-op tests will I be
A: Unless otherwise notified, you will have:
- History and Physical (H & P): Your medical history and physical
exam will be performed by an OCC physician assistant (PA) or surgical intern.
This exam is performed in the OCC Clinic located on the 4th floor of the South
Building. This takes about 30 minutes. Bring in any hospital records or test results
that you keep at home and a list of medications and supplements you are currently
taking, including medication name, amount taken, and frequency.
- Pulmonary Function Tests (PFT): These tests are performed in the Pulmonary
Function Lab in room 511 on the 5th floor of the Proger Building. They take about
45 minutes. You will use a breathing machine to test your lung capacity and breathing
status. This information is necessary for our anesthesiology team.
- Gallbladder Ultrasound: (Unless your gallbladder was previously removed)
This test is performed at the Ultrasound Clinic on the 3rd floor of the
Proger Building. It takes about 30 minutes. This test is performed to evaluate
if gallbladder disease is present. If this is the case, your surgeon will discuss
the removal of your gallbladder during your surgery. Do not eat or drink anything
after midnight the night before your gallbladder ultrasound. If needed with
medication, you may drink a small amount of water (2 ounces).
- Other Pre-op Tests: Additional tests are performed in the Pre-op Center
on the 5th floor of the South Building and last about 2 hours. These tests include:
- Meeting with a nurse for a nursing assessment
- Meeting with a member of the anesthesiology team to discuss your individual
case and the risks and benefits of general anesthesia
- EKG screening to evaluate cardiac status
- Chest x-ray to evaluate pulmonary status
- Blood work to check the status of your general health
- Pregnancy test for women of child-bearing age
Q: What if any results of my pre-op
tests come back abnormal?
A: Your surgeon will be notified if any test results are abnormal. If additional
diagnostic tests are required, a member of the OCC staff will contact you with
further testing requirements. If there is a significant problem, it may be necessary
to postpone or cancel your surgery to ensure you receive proper treatment. You
will not be notified of test results if they all indicate normal results.
The Day of Surgery
You must be on time for your surgery. Anticipate traffic and other delays.
Q: What should I wear to the hospital
on the day of surgery?
A: Wear comfortable clothing that can be folded and stored easily. The
hospital will provide you with a gown, slippers, and a robe.
- Do not wear contact lenses. Wear glasses and bring your eyeglass case.
- Do not wear make-up, hairspray, or fingernail polish.
- Leave valuables such as wallet, money, and jewelry at home.
Q: What should I bring with me?
A:Bring with you:
- your red hospital card and health insurance card for account verification.
- a list of current medications and dosages taken regularly. Do not bring any
medications with you.
Q: Where can I park my car on the day
of my surgery?
A: You may use the hospital's convenient valet parking service located
at the South Building entrance at 860 Washington Street.
Q: Where should I go on the day of
A: Go to Ambulatory Surgery located on the 5th floor of the South Building
across from the Pre-op Center.
Q: Where can my family and/or friends
wait, and how will they be notified of my surgical status if they are not present?
A: Family members or friends will be directed to the waiting room. Once
your procedure is complete, your surgeon will either go to the waiting room to
speak with your family or friends or call whomever you designate.
Post-surgery recovery will occur in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU),
and will last about 4 hours. For safety and privacy reasons, visitors are not
allowed in the PACU. Exceptions to this policy are family members of patients
remaining in the PACU overnight.
Q: How long will my surgery take?
A: Your surgery may take from 1 - 3 hours depending on the procedure you
are having done.
After Your Surgery
Q: How long will I be in the hospital
A: The typical hospital stay is 3 days. Your length of stay in the hospital
is determined by medical necessity.
Q: What happens if I have a wound
problem or complication after my surgery before my post-op visit?
A: If you have any concerns about your wound, pain, or other possible complications,
call the OCC Clinic at 617.636.0158. The administrative staff will contact a physician,
and a team member will contact you.
If you experience pain, persistent vomiting or other symptoms during weekdays
from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, call 617.636.0158 and choose the emergency menu option
or go directly to the emergency room. During non-business hours and weekends,
call 617.636.0158 and ask the page operator to contact the on-call surgical resident.
Q: When do I return to clinic for my
A: About 2 weeks after your surgery, you will come to the OCC Clinic on
the 4th floor of the South Building. The date and time of your first post-op visit
are on the insert in this pamphlet. A surgeon, physician assistant, or nurse will
remove any staples/sutures and discuss wound care. A nutritionist will also meet
with you to discuss diet and vitamin/mineral supplements.
The staff at Tufts-New England Medical Center is committed to providing excellent
medical care and delivering this care with respect for individuality and dignity.
In 1979, the Massachusetts legislature signed into law a Patients’ Bill
of Rights (Massachusetts General Laws chapter III, section 70E). Copies of the
Patients’ Bill of Rights are posted at entrances to the Medical Center and
are available in the Admitting Department on the 1st floor of the Proger Building.
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