Bariatric Surgery Checklist

Choosing to have bariatric surgery is a big decision. It's a lifelong commitment to improving your health every day. To help you make the right choice, we require all patients who are interested in bariatric surgery to attend a free, small group educational seminar.

The seminar will cover:

  • Types of bariatric surgery we offer
  • Your role in the months prior to surgery
  • The recovery process
  • Long-term health maintenance
  • Benefits, risks and financial cost of surgery

After the seminar, you can take your time to decide whether bariatric surgery is right for you. When you're ready, ask your primary care provider for a referral to our weight loss surgery team. Ask your doctor to call us at 505-272-6191 for referral information.

A bariatrics nurse will call you to schedule a pre-approval conversation. Together, you'll discuss your general health and weight loss goals, and whether bariatric surgery might be a healthy option for you.

COVID-19 Approval Process

Due to the pandemic, we have moved all pre-approval visits to video calls. Please call 505-272-6191 for scheduling information.

What to Expect at Your Pre-Approval Visit

In your pre-approval visit, a specialized nurse will ask several questions to help determine whether bariatric surgery might be a safe, healthy option for you. Prepare to answer questions about your:

  • Eating habits, including how you feel when you eat too much
  • Exercise habits, such as activities you do now or can no longer do because of your health
  • Height, weight and BMI
  • Education and employment
  • Chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, heart burn, diabetes, high blood pressure, joint or back pain, sleep apnea or swelling (edema)
  • Alcohol, tobacco and drug use
  • Mental health, including anxiety, depression and eating disorders
  • Medical and surgical history: Certain conditions and procedures complicate weight loss surgery

The nurse will also ask about your insurance coverage. Bariatric surgery can be expensive, and not all carriers cover procedures and pre- or post-surgery care in full. The nurse will answer your questions about types of surgery, preparation and recovery. After your conversation, a bariatric surgeon will review your health information.

If we feel bariatric surgery might be a healthy option for you, we'll call you to schedule a visit with a UNM nutritionist or bariatric surgeon to start preparing for weight loss surgery.

3 Tips to Prepare for Your Pre-Approval Visit

  • Stop smoking: We require patients to quit all forms of tobacco for at least two months prior to seeking weight loss surgery. Tobacco use greatly increases the risk of complications before, during and after surgery.
  • Make lists: Of your medications, chronic conditions, dieting attempts and health care providers. It's easier to write this information down ahead of time than remember it on the phone!
  • Call your insurance: Ask whether bariatric surgery is covered, as well as the preparation and recovery care you'll need to succeed.