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Bariatric Surgery: Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Here are some questions to ask your bariatric surgeon and primary care doctor.


Today, it’s possible for individuals to take a more active role in their health care. Think of you and your doctor as a team, working together to achieve your best possible level of health. Keep in mind that good communication is an essential part of this relationship.

Most conditions, including clinically severe obesity, have several treatment options. It’s important to be aware of all the risks and benefits of each option. This way, you can be an informed partner when choosing what’s right for you. Be sure to check your benefit plan to find out what coverage you have for clinically severe obesity. Following are recommended questions to ask your bariatric surgeon and primary care doctor.

I’m thinking about surgery:

  • Do you work with a dietitian or trained counselor who can help me achieve my goals?
  • What are the conservative treatment (nonsurgical) options? Have I tried them long enough?
  • Will support from a trained counselor or evaluation for more serious eating disorders help me?
  • What are the options for weight control — diet and exercise, taking medication, or having surgery?
  • Will I see a dietitian as part of my treatment plan before and after surgery, if I select surgery?

I’ve decided to have surgery:

  • What types of bariatric surgery procedures are available and what would you recommend?
  • Will I need to have any tests prior to surgery?
  • Depending on the procedure, how much weight am I likely to lose?
  • What are the risks of this surgery?
  • How do I prepare for surgery?
  • Can I check with your office manager to find out how much the procedure will cost and what insurance covers to determine my out of pocket costs?

I had my surgery:

  • Can I go home right after surgery, as long as I have support?
  • What are the restrictions post-surgery?
  • What type of diet will I need to follow after I’ve had surgery?
  • Will I need to take extra vitamins or minerals?
  • How long is it before I can return to work?
  • How long does it take to fully recover from surgery?
  • Do I qualify for excess skin removal surgery post bariatric surgery?
  • Do you have any support groups you can connect me to?

Considerations before your doctor’s visits:

  • Write down other questions you'd like to ask  your doctor.
  • Bring a family or friend for extra set of ears.
  • Come prepared with a medication list and be ready to discuss medications you are taking.
  • Be prepared to complete a release of information before meeting with your primary care provider to get medical records sent to your surgeon.
  • Validate that any other providers such as nutritionists, psychologists, etc. are in network with your benefit plan

By Kristin Nelson, Contributing Writer

American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Bariatric surgery FAQs. Accessed August 31, 2017.
MedlinePlus. Weight-loss surgery — before — what to ask your doctor. Accessed August 31, 2017.
MedlinePlus. Weight-loss surgery — after — what to ask your doctor. Accessed August 31, 2017.

Last Updated: August 31, 2017