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getting started

Do you think bariatric surgery might be right for you? Start by calling Alabama Bariatrics at 256-274-4523, or fill in your contact information using the form on the Contact page. We’ll get basic insurance policy information and screen your initial questions over the phone. You may want to consider going to a support group as well. See the support group listings here. You can also check out our upcoming seminars and webinars or informational blog posts for more information before your visit.

next steps

We always want to make it easy for our patients and let you know what to expect. Below is a guide to the process. Note that the Orbera Intragastric Balloon (Intragastric Balloon) is a non-surgical weight loss device and has its own process.

Initial Request By Patient Or PCP For Consultation

Phone calls are always returned within 24 hours. The staff of Alabama Bariatrics will establish that you have the appropriate BMI, age, and co-morbidities that would make you a candidate for bariatric surgery. You can download our new patient form here.

Initial Office/Surgeon Visit

Appointments can almost always be made within 1 week. We will do a thorough history and physical to determine if you will be a good candidate for bariatric surgery, and discuss with you which operation (laparoscopic gastric bypass, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, or laparoscopic adjustable gastric band) is best for you. You’ll be asked to fill out a number of forms and to watch a PowerPoint slideshow on bariatric surgery, so please arrive 45 minutes prior to your scheduled appoinment. We will then send a letter to your primary care physician letting them know you’re considering bariatric surgery.

Note: all office visits can be conducted at either our Decatur or Huntsville offices.

  • Attend a bariatric webinar or view the slideshow in the office. Support group attendance (optional but highly recommended).
  • Dietician Consultation and Assessment
  • Obesity treatment documentation (6 months, height and weight from PCP, 3 to 5 years of records, etc.), diet history form, analysis of current diet, education on the post-op bariatric diet and lifestyle changes
  • Possible psyche referral
  • Smoking cessation program referral, if needed.

Patients may need:

  • Blood work including vitamin levels, liver tests, anemia test; EKG; and Chest x-ray (if age 50 or older)
  • +/- EGD/colonoscopy
  • +/- sleep study
  • +/- Doppler lower extremities to look for blood clots, if high risk or history of blood clots
  • +/- ECHO Possible IVC filter placement if history of blood clots or pulmonary embolism
  • +/- medical clearance by your primary care physician or other physician
  • +/- clearance by a cardiologist
Insurance Approval

We do need to know which operation you will be having and which hospital you have chosen before submission. Your insurance can take up to 30 days to answer. If there is an initial rejection for surgery, don’t worry. We may just need to submit additional documentation.

No insurance coverage for bariatric surgery? Do you have coverage, but a ridiculously high insurance deductible? Bariatric surgery is still important for your health, so there are financing options available, and we offer some of the lowest out-of-pocket costs for bariatric surgery in the nation. See the Prices & Insurance page for more information.

Pre-Op Visit with Surgeon

At this time, your surgery date is given. Dr. Suggs or Dr. Harner will review your consent form and bariatric surgery quiz and will thoroughly answer any questions you may have. Your medical history and all labs/studies are carefully reviewed with you. Pre-op diet, pre-op medication, and other instructions given.

The hospital and anesthesia pre-op evaluation will be conducted and may simply be done over the phone. You will be called the night before surgery to go over instructions again.
You will go in for surgery and Dr. Suggs or Dr. Harner will see you at the hospital the following day. If feeling well and tolerating the Phase 1 bariatric clear liquid diet, you will be discharged home. The bariatric coordinator at the hospital will spend about 45 minutes with you that morning discussing your post-op diet and other instructions.
Post-Op Visits
  • 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months (with labs) with Dr. Suggs or Dr. Harner.
  • Annual visits with your surgeon for a lifetime (with labs and dietician consultation).
  • Regular support group attendance and periodic visits with the dietician to keep you on track are highly recommended.

get started now

discover your path to a healthier you

Start a healthier life free from obesity by taking our 60-second Quiz. Call us at 256-274-4523 or fill out the Contact Us form. We will get back to you within 24 hours to set up your consultation. It’s that simple.