Particularly if you have a number of medical problems, your primary care doctor and your bariatric surgeon will need to communicate openly throughout your pre-operative and post-operative phases of weight loss surgery. In addition, some insurance carriers require a letter from your primary care physician indicating that you are an appropriate candidate for weight loss surgery and/or “cleared” for surgery. If this is the case, the staff at your bariatric surgeon’s office will be able to help you facilitate receiving such information prior to authorization for surgery.
Amazingly a number of people do not have a primary care provider. If this is the case for you, your surgeon will likely recommend that you find one. He/she will want to communicate your progress and have someone to refer you to in the event you have a medical problem unrelated to surgery and/or necessary medication changes as you lose weight following surgery.
Some questions you will want to discuss with your primary care provider include:
- Are there any medical reasons that would prevent me from being an appropriate candidate for weight loss surgery?
- Do you recommend any particular weight loss surgeon and the reason(s) why?
- Are you able to provide my surgeon with any necessary documentation or clearance that might be required?
Most primary care practitioners are comfortable answering these questions and used to working closely with an experienced local bariatric surgeon. Some may be limited in terms of who they are able to recommend due to required referral patterns within health systems. However, this is not generally the norm and the final decision is yours.