Weight loss surgery is a major medical procedure. In order to help ensure that a patient will have a successful surgery, physicians order several tests and evaluations. This evaluation process helps to make sure that patients are ready for the procedure and will be able to achieve their weight loss goals.
One of the first steps for determining if a patient is a candidate for weight loss surgery is a mental health evaluation. This is done in order to ensure that the patient is ready for the life-altering surgery and the recovery. The doctor must evaluate the patient’s heart and lungs to ensure that they can handle the surgical procedure. A registered dietician and the patient’s family physician must also provide clearance that the patient is ready for weight loss surgery.
Before weight loss surgery is performed, doctors also conduct several imaging tests to check the function of different internal organs. An abdominal ultrasound is performed in order to measure the size and determine the location of the stomach, intestines, pancreas, and other organs. An echocardiogram and electrocardiogram check heart functions. The lungs are examined with a chest X-ray. In some cases, a cardiac catheterization will be done to check for narrowing or hardening of the arteries. Patients who are able to exercise may take a treadmill stress test. The exact tests that are used during the evaluation process differ from one patient to the next.
Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests
Laboratory and diagnostic tests are used by doctors in order to find out if a patient has any undiagnosed conditions that could complicate the surgery or recovery. Some of the blood tests that doctors order for weight loss surgery patients include complete blood cell counts. These tests check for signs of infection and anemia. The patient’s thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is also checked because too much or too little thyroid activity can complicate weight loss after the surgery. Patients have their electrolyte levels measured because these chemicals affect the functioning of the heart. Other diagnostic tests include blood urea nitrogen, cortisol, creatinine, and prolactin levels. Women may also have a pregnancy test.