Pre-Surgery Resources | Surgical Associates of Grinnell

What To Expect Preparing For Surgery

Photo of the Grinnell Surgeon's Bariatric Consultation Room

Surgical Consultation

You or your primary healthcare provider may call us to make an appointment to see a Grinnell Bariatrics’ surgeon. Your provider may call, fax, or send our office a letter requesting an appointment. In addition, your provider will need to fax or send all of your pertinent medical records including dietary history and any treatments for obesity.

On the day of your consultation, you will meet with our staff and one of our providers. You will find our staff and physicians to be especially considerate and thoughtful. We are very aware of the special difficulties of our bariatric patients. The physical and psychological problems that are associated with morbid obesity affect life expectancy and quality of life.

Like other diseases, morbid obesity limits opportunities. Unfortunately, unlike many diseases, morbid obesity also carries a social stigma. This social stigma is prevalent in our society, and like any prejudice, causes tremendous emotional pain. It is an integral part of our mission to treat all of our patients with respect. Throughout our healthcare system, we have specially trained nursing and administrative staff and thoughtfully selected equipment to meet your needs.

Once you have been welcomed and checked-in, the surgeon and P.A. will go through a patient evaluation with you reviewing your medical history, diet history, and current health status. The surgical options will be explained to you. If surgery is indicated, the surgeon will discuss which type of surgery best fits your health needs. You will learn about the potential risks and benefits of surgery, the bariatric program, the hospital stay, recovery, future diet, and long-term follow-up. You will have the opportunity to view our Bariatric Patient Education video, or you may watch it prior to your visit here. Other educational materials will also be provided that explain the surgery and the life changes that are necessary when you have this surgery.

Mental Health Consultation

A mental health evaluation is required for all patients considering bariatric surgery. If you are currently under the care of a mental health professional, you may request an evaluation by that individual. If you are interested, we will be happy to provide an appropriate referral for consultation. For your convenience, Bridget Baecthel, LISW provides mental health evaluations at our Grinnell office.


If surgery appears to be the best treatment option, we may ask you to have additional tests to make sure the surgery will be safe and successful. These make include a cardiac work-up, sleep and breathing studies, nutritional studies, blood work or a physical therapy patient evaluation.

Photo of Dr. Coster with a Grinell Surgeon's nurse.Bariatric Review Committee

Once your patient evaluation and file are complete, our multi-specialty Bariatric Committee will review all the information one final time before submitting a request for approval from your insurance carrier. This final review step makes sure nothing has been overlooked that might affect the outcome of your surgery. Once submitted to your insurance company, the approval process can take six or more weeks, depending on your insurance carrier.

Pre-Surgery Education Session

The education session is mandatory. We want to make sure you get to know the people who will be helping you, the details of the surgery and recovery, and the facility in which you will have surgery. On the education day, you will meet with the dietician, wellness staff, social worker, nursing staff and care coordinator. The education sessions will be a half day.

Pre-operative Interview

This interview allows the hospital staff to evaluate your medical needs during your stay at the hospital and during the surgical procedure. The pre-operative interview is mandatory. You will meet one of our outstanding anesthesiologists who will tailor the anesthesia medical care to your specific health needs. The pre-operative interview may take one to two hours.

Pre-operative Clinic Visit

On the day of your pre-operative interview, you will again meet with your surgeon or P.A. This is a time when you can discuss any remaining questions or concerns with your bariatric expert.

Pre-Operative Physical Examination

The last step before you have surgery is a full physical examination by your family healthcare provider. By state law, anyone undergoing major surgery must have a full history and physical within seven days of the planned surgery. This last step makes sure that nothing has come up between your consultation and the surgery that may negatively affect the outcome of your surgery, such as a fever or respiratory infection. We cannot perform your surgery without this physical.


The day prior to your surgery (Friday if you are having surgery on Monday), please call the Surgery Scheduling Department at Grinnell Regional Medical Center at (641) 236-2328 and you will be advised regarding what time you should arrive at the hospital on the day of your procedure.

Checklist for Bariatric Surgery

Download a printable version or view on your monitor

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