Preparing for Bariatric Surgery

Jill Welshans, nurse practitioner, meeting with a patient

Jill Welshans is one of our nurse practitioners for bariatric patients. Our team guides you through every step of bariatric treatment.

OHSU’s Bariatric Services gives you a team of specialists to guide you through every step of preparing for surgery. Important things to know:

  • Patient navigators will answer your questions and help you with appointments and forms. 
  • Your dietitian will develop a diet for weight loss before surgery, plus a plan for your new nutritional needs after surgery.
  • You will meet with a physical therapist and a psychologist.
  • The process typically takes five to seven months. It takes four to six months after your first meeting with a nurse practitioner.

Bariatric surgery timeline

The goal of these appointments is to prepare you for surgery physically and mentally. Your schedule may vary. You may need to meet with additional specialists, such as in sleep medicine or cardiology. 

Month 1

Nurse practitioner: You’ll have a complete exam with a nurse practitioner. You will get a checklist of consultations and tests to complete before surgery.

Dietitian: A registered dietitian will review your eating habits and recommend a diet plan and behavioral changes. You will receive detailed information, including a notebook with lists of healthy foods and drinks. The goals are to make the surgery safer and to prepare you for post-surgery nutritional requirements.

A meat and vegetable portion served on a plate that has markings on it to help guide serving sizes.

A registered dietitian will help you develop strategies for healthy eating before and after surgery.

Physical therapist: A physical therapist will evaluate your mobility, strength and endurance. The therapist will also help you develop exercise plans for before and after surgery. People who begin regular exercise before surgery are more likely to continue long term, research suggests.

Psychologist: A psychologist will help identify any emotional or psychological factors that could complicate your transition. The psychologist may recommend treatment, such as ways to cope with stress.

 

A dietitian and patient, both seated at a desk, review a binder together

Stefanie Collier is a registered nurse on our team.

Month 2

Weight-management class: In the first of two sessions, you will learn about:

  • Mindful eating
  • Meal planning
  • Your pre-surgery diet

Your dietitian will arrange these sessions, both at the Center for Health & Healing.

Test results: Schedule and complete required tests, such as a mammogram and colonoscopy. Fax results to us at 503-418-3683 or make sure your provider does.

Months 3-6

Weight-management class: You will review the first session and learn more about:

  • Recommended amounts of fluids and protein
  • The vitamin and mineral supplements you’ll need
  • Exercise
  • Your post-surgery diet

Finish requirements: Complete supervised diet requirements and achieve the required pre-surgery weight loss.

Appointments: After your insurance company approves your surgery, you’ll have three appointments in one day:

  • Surgeon: Your surgery date will be set, and you will sign the consent form. Your surgeon will answer your questions and go over risks and other factors.
  • Preoperative Medicine Clinic: You will be evaluated for anesthesia risk. If you haven’t registered for surgery yet, you’ll be directed to the Admitting desk to do so.
  • Bariatric Pre-op Class: We will review vitamin supplements and what to expect before, during and after surgery.

Pre-register: You will pre-register at least 72 hours before the day of your surgery. You can use one of three ways:

Be prepared to give:

  • Contact and emergency contact information
  • Insurance information 
  • Your primary care doctor’s name
  • Your surgery date

Admissions process: We will call you the day before your surgery to confirm your visit.

The day of your surgery, have someone bring you to the hospital, or take public or other transportation. Find more information about getting to OHSU and around campus, or call 503-494-8311.

Your check-in will be on the ninth-floor lobby of OHSU Hospital. Find out what to bring, what to leave at home and other information, or call 503-494-8927.

Where to stay

Portland has many options for patients and families coming from elsewhere.

For patients 21 or younger, options include the Ronald McDonald House.

Some businesses offer OHSU patients a discount, so ask for the most up-to-date rate when making your reservation.

The Portland Visitors Association offers more options and resources.