Is Bariatric Surgery Right for You?

Weight loss surgery is the only effective and lasting form of treatment for morbidly obese patients. But is surgery right for you?

From our experiences, being the right patient starts with understanding that losing weight and keeping it off requires a life-long commitment. If you have that commitment, we then need to make sure that you’re a good candidate for bariatric surgery. We’ve established a fairly long list of requirements you have to meet in order to be considered. We do this in part to make sure you do have that commitment, but also to make sure that surgery is the last resort. We can’t emphasize enough that this is a serous medical procedure, but also just the start of some pretty big lifestyle changes.

The first step is to download and complete our questionnaire in English, or in Spanish, questionnaire. You can also receive a copy from our New Patient Coordinator at (650) 736-7102.

Bariatric Surgery Requirements

  • Six months of supervised (physician or Weight-Watchers) attempts at weight loss with documented weights (insurance requirement)
  • Nutritional Evaluation and Completion of Food Diary: Meeting with a nutritionist before and after surgery is critical. You will have no more important change in your life than the change in your eating habits after surgery. It’s critical to educate yourself regarding how to best meet this challenge.
  • Psychological Evaluation: We prefer if you meet with one of our psychologists from Stanford’s Department of Psychiatry at (650) 498-9111. Please keep in mind that Bariatric Surgery is a tremendous change in your life, and we want to make sure you’re able to meet challenges. We also require that you be clean and sober from any addictive drugs for three years.
  • Primary Care Physician Referral
  • Upper Endoscopy

Diagnostic Tests

To fully optimize patients pre-operatively, we require the following diagnostic tests. These should be completed within six months prior to surgery. These diagnostic tests will allow us to provide you with the best care possible, and are always meant to assist care, not deny it. You can work with your primary care physician to complete many of these tests.

  • CXR
  • EKG
  • Blood Work
    • CBC
    • Complete metabolic panel including calcium and liver function tests
    • Thyroid function tests
    • Lipid panel
    • Fe Panel
    • B12
    • Folate, Thiamine
    • Homocysteine, C-Reactive Protein, Lipoprotein a – to assess cardiac risk factors
    • HgbA1C (if known diabetic)
  • Cardiac Echo – hx of phen-fen or long-standing sleep apnea or cardiac risk screen
  • Stress Test/Cardiac Catherization – abnormal cardiac echo, family hx, IDDM, HTN, >20-pack year history, age >50, other cardiac risk factors – elevated lipids, crp, lipoprotein a, homocysteine
  • Greenfield Filter – Your surgeon will make this decision and is usually indicated if history of blood clots in your lungs or legs, severe sleep apnea, weight >400 lbs. The filter helps prevent blood clots from traveling from your legs to your lungs where they can be fatal. Stanford  physicians are able to place temporary filters that are removed 2-4 weeks after surgery.
  • Cessation of smoking, steroid use and immune suppressant medication. Use of any of these drugs will jeopardize your recovery.


We receive hundreds of faxes daily. Your best means of sending us information is via overnight mail services. By sending your information overnight you will have a tracking number and will allow us to securely receive your paperwork, labs and consultations.


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