Ways to Reach Your Goals

You’ve made the choice to be happier and healthier. Find out if bariatric surgery is the right path for you today!

Patient Journey

Part 1: Life Before the Surgery

Weight loss surgery is not a quick fix. Follow Chloe as she begins her journey toward gastric sleeve surgery, from her first clinic appointment to follow-ups with her dietitian.

Part 2: The Surgery

After months of preparation, surgery day is finally here! Follow Chloe through the hours leading up to surgery and into the operating room as Dr. Michalsky performs a robot-assisted gastric sleeve procedure.

Part 3: Life After Surgery

No one said this was going to be easy. Go through the initial struggles with Chloe as she wrestles with old cravings and new rules. Celebrate with her as she sees improvement in how she feels, both physically and mentally.

Update: One year later

Catch up with Chloe as she returns to Nationwide Children's for her one-year checkup after surgery. Maintaining the healthy eating habits she learned before her gastric sleeve surgery hasn't always been easy, but it has helped her lose more than 100 pounds and live a happier, healthier life.

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The bariatric surgery process has many steps both before and after surgery. We understand that coming to a hospital can be stressful. Our patient and visitor guide has everything you need to know whether you are coming to stay or you are visiting a patient. 

Here is a short guide to help you understand what to expect: 

Leading to surgery

Online information session. The information session will outline what bariatric surgery is and help you decide if you are interested.

One-on-one with a surgeon. This is your chance to ask any questions and get answers from one of the bariatric surgeons.

Examination and evaluations. There will be a series of physical and psychological evaluations to help us get a complete picture of your health.

Meeting with the team. You will meet monthly with the bariatric team as you prepare for surgery. After meeting with a dietitian and physical therapist, it’s important to start developing healthy eating and physical activity that will continue after surgery.

Insurance approval. The process and requirements may vary depending on your insurance. Our team will work with you and your insurance company to help you understand your coverage and submit the necessary paperwork for surgery approval.

Your surgery

Pre-admission testing. Two weeks before surgery, you will be scheduled for pre-admission testing and anesthesia evaluation.

Admission. For gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgery, you will be admitted to the hospital the day before surgery. For adjustable gastric band, you will be admitted the day of surgery.

Surgery. On the day of surgery, you will be taken to the Surgery Unit. Family and close friends are welcome to wait in the family waiting room while your operation is taking place. You will spend about one hour in the recovery room after surgery before going to your room. One or two immediate family members are welcome to stay with you overnight. 

After surgery

Recovery. It will be important to get out of bed and walk every two to four hours after surgery. You will also be using a small breathing device that helps you breathe deeply (this helps keep your lungs clear and prevents fever).

Discharge. For adjustable band surgery, you may be discharged the day after surgery depending on your condition. For gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgery, your discharge will likely take longer and varies from patient to patient. Expect to be in the hospital for two to three days. Those who live a far distance from Nationwide Children’s Hospital (greater than 100 miles) are strongly encouraged to stay at the Ronald McDonald House located across the street from the hospital for the first week after discharge. 

Returning home

Incision care. You will need to keep the incision dry and follow instructions from your surgeon after returning home.

Nutrition. You will likely be on a full liquid diet when you return home. Follow your dietitian’s instructions regarding when and how to move to the next phase of your nutrition plan.

Physical activity. It will be important to continue to walk every few hours when you return home. You will leave the hospital with instructions to continue the physical activity you began before surgery.

Follow-up appointments. Returning for follow-up appointments is a necessary part of care. Visits will be scheduled based on how you are doing at your first visit. You will meet with a doctor or nurse practitioner, dietitian, physical therapist, social worker and psychologist.

Have a question? Just ask!

The bariatric surgery process can seem daunting, but you aren’t in this alone. Your team will be happy to answer any questions you have about any step of the process.

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Preparing for bariatric surgery takes a number of steps over the course of six to 12 months. It’s important that you give your full participation to each step. These components will need to be completed for you to be ready for bariatric surgery.

Online information session
The information session will give you an overview of the entire bariatric surgery process. You’ll learn about bariatric surgery options, benefits and risks.

One-on-one with your surgeon
After learning about bariatric surgery in the online session, you will have a one-on-one appointment with a surgeon. During this visit, you can ask any questions you may have and talk more about whether surgery is right for you.

Insurance coverage
You or your parent will need to contact your health insurance carrier to determine coverage. Not all insurance covers weight-loss surgery. Your insurance company may need detailed information from your doctor to approve surgery.

Letter of medical necessity
As part of the process, you will need to request your pediatrician or family doctor to write a letter of medical necessity for bariatric surgery. The letter should be mailed to:

Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition
Nationwide Children’s
700 Children’s Drive
Columbus, OH 43205
Or, can be faxed to (614) 722-3099.

Psychological evaluation
During the psychological evaluation, our psychologist will ask questions to help determine whether you have a good understanding of the surgery and proper support for the steps before and after surgery. We want to be sure that you are ready for surgery and have support both before and after.

Laboratory work
It’s important that we know about any obesity-related medical problems early in the process. If you have problems, we can help you find a specialist to treat them. Testing will include blood tests, a stool sample and vitamin and mineral level tracking.

Sleep study
The sleep study is designed to find out if you have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is common among those with extra weight. This test requires an overnight stay in the Nationwide Children’s Sleep Lab.

Cardiology evaluation
A cardiologist with evaluate you to check for heart problems. It’s important that we know the health of your heart. Based on the cardiology evaluation, we can determine if you need any special treatment during surgery.

Bariatric support group
You’ll also be required to attend at least two bariatric support group sessions before surgery. These sessions are a great way to learn more about the surgery from others who have already undergone bariatric surgery. You can also talk to others like yourself who are currently in the process of having surgery.

Other tests, evaluations and requirements
Other tests will include a DEXA scan, which looks at your bone mineral density. Bariatric surgery can affect your bone mineral density, so it’s important to have this test both before and after surgery. You’ll also have an upper gastrointestinal (UGI) X-ray to look for any problems with your esophagus or stomach that may affect surgery. Along with these tests, your insurance carrier may require others for approval as well.

Approval for surgery
After all these steps have been completed, the evaluations and paperwork must be submitted to your insurance carrier. They will then decide whether surgery is approved. Our office will contact you when we receive a decision from your insurance carrier. If surgery is denied, we can appeal for a second review.

Before you are fully approved for surgery, our team must also feel that you are prepared. Some people require more time to prepare or may need additional steps to be ready. Once both the insurance company and our team give their approval, it is time to schedule your surgery.

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Interested in learning more about bariatric surgery? Scheduling your first appointment is easy. You can schedule your appointment online or by calling 1-800-844-0451. Your doctor can also refer you to the clinic.

You will want to bring a few important items to your first appointment:
• Insurance card
• Driver’s license (if you have one)
• Questions for the team
• Any important medical information from your primary care doctor or pediatrician

Our campus
Nationwide Children’s Hospital
700 Children’s Drive
Columbus Ohio, 43205
Phone: (614) 722-2000

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Request more information

Interested in learning more? Simply fill out the form below to receive emails with information about the bariatric surgery program at Nationwide Children’s and a call from our bariatric surgery coordinator who can help answer any questions you may have.

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