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Conemaugh Health System's Weight Management team offers a comprehensive program for each weight loss surgery patient.
Conemaugh Health System offers a public seminar to educate individuals on necessary information regarding types of weight loss surgery, criteria for surgery, guidelines for pre-surgery and post-surgery, and lifestyle changes necessary for long-term success. Attendance at the seminar is a required first step in the preoperative process. Surgery candidates are welcome to bring a family member or support person to learn about the surgery process, ask questions, and learn the impact surgery will have on the patient's lifestyle.
Insurance providers and individual plans vary in coverage for weight loss surgery and related services. It is important for the patient to contact his / her provider to determine the weight loss surgery coverage and requirements specific to the patient's insurance plan. Conemaugh's office staff will assist patients in this process, but it is primarily the patient's responsibility to obtain this information. The phone number for the patient's insurance provider is listed on the back of his / her insurance card. Each patient is responsible for insurance co-pays and deductibles at the time service is rendered.
Patients of the Conemaugh Health System Weight Management program are expected to complete six consecutive, monthly physician supervised visits to learn more about weight loss and how surgery will impact the patient's lifestyle. The patient can complete visits at Conemaugh Physician Group - Surgery or through a visit with a primary care physician.
During the six months of physician visits, the patient completes required testing to ensure a safe surgery and fulfill requirements set by insurance providers.
Psychological services are available to help with stress reduction, negative thinking, and emotional eating during this time.
Extensive nutrition education is provided to prepare the patient for dietary changes that will occur before and after surgery.
Nutrition experts will help the patient learn new, healthier eating prior to and immediately after surgery, a patient's diet begins with liquids. The liquid phase of the diet is important after surgery to allow for the body to heal. A patient can expect to return to a regular diet a few months after surgery. A new modified diet will consist of smaller portions of nutrient dense foods including fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and meat. High fat foods and refined sugars are not well tolerated and should also be avoided due to the potential to cause weight gain.
Weight loss surgery patients and family members arrive on the sixth floor Ambulatory Surgery Unit at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center. The patient is assisted by nurses and other healthcare professionals to ensure safety and a streamlined surgery process. Patients are taken to the operating room holding area to meet with the physician and anesthesiologist before being taken into the operating room. While the family members and friends wait, they are givien information about the patient's status throughout the surgery process.
After surgery, the patient is temporarily taken to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) and then transferred to the nursing unit on the eighth floor of the Ashman-Rose Pavilion. Healthcare professionals in these nursing areas are educated in weight loss surgery care and are committed to provided the ideal patient experience for patients. The expected hospital stay for patients is about two days.
Post weight loss surgery, patients are seen daily as an inpatient at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center by the weight management coordinator to review expectations and discharge planning. After discharge from the hospital, the patient is frequently seen at the Conemaugh Physician Group - Surgery office for follow-up care to identify any surgical complications, dietary progression, and nutritional deficiencies.