Getting Started : Before Bariatric Surgery

Before Bariatric Surgery

If you are thinking about bariatric surgery and have doubts about whether it is right for you, you’re not alone. It’s a life-changing decision, and serious contemplation—particularly overcoming concerns and learning how to effectively cope with them—is part of the decision-making process for everyone.

Paying for Surgery

For many people, bariatric surgery is affordable because it is covered by their health insurance plan. People who do not have insurance coverage for bariatric surgery must pay for it on their own. This is called self-pay or cash-pay. For more information, please visit our financing section.

How to Cope with Surgical Risks and Physical Changes

It’s normal and natural to fear surgery, anesthesia, or physical changes. But before you let these fears prevent you from having bariatric surgery, you may want to take a few moments to better understand the facts.

Fear and Risks of Surgery

This is a common fear. After all, bariatric surgery is major surgery performed while you’re under general anesthesia. Complications can occur. Keep in mind that you’ll have a team of healthcare professionals dedicated to your best possible care.

Keep in Mind

  • Advances in bariatric surgical technique have significantly lowered the risk of operative mortality—especially when surgery is performed by an experienced laparoscopic surgeon.
  • During the past decade, patient outcomes from general anesthesia have improved significantly, so that the mortality rate is down, from one in 10,000 to one in 250,000 patients.
  • Each patient’s anesthesiology risk during bariatric surgery is based on the patient’s overall health.

Compare the benefits of bariatric surgery to the risks, and then talk to your doctor about your options.

Fear of Physical Changes

For people who have spent years living with morbid obesity, bariatric surgery sounds like a lifesaver. But, some people are concerned about changing their body. It’s understandable. Your surgeon will reduce the size of your stomach so that you are able to be satisfied with less food and, depending on the procedure, absorb fewer calories and nutrients

Compare the benefits of bariatric surgery to the risks, and then talk to your doctor about your options.

Be sure to share your concerns with your bariatric surgeon and your bariatric program’s mental health professional. They will be able to provide you with information to help you deal with your concerns.

And Remember…

Bariatric surgery is a lifelong change. Even considering it is a healthy step, because it gives you an opportunity to examine your health and your life.


  • Research surgeons and bariatric programs: Research your surgeon and program online. Attend different bariatric programs’ support groups and talk to patients to find out their take on the surgeon and the program.
  • Talk to your surgeon: Be honest when speaking with your surgeon. Tell him or her about your fears. Ask about the bariatric program’s complication and mortality rates.