Surgery Process

Deciding whether to have bariatric surgery is an important decision — one that will affect the rest of your life. Find out what you can expect during each stage of the surgery process.


Here, we outline the steps involved — from exploring your options to learning about post-surgical support.

  1. Learn as much as you can. El Camino Health provides information sessions to learn about bariatric surgery. We offer individual consultations to determine which option may be right for you, along with tours of our bariatric surgery facilities. Call our bariatric nurse coordinator at 650-988-8415 for more information.
  2. Think about where you want to have your surgery. Mountain View (El Camino Hospital) is a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence — a distinction given for our surgical and medical team’s quality and care, and our advanced facility. The care team’s experience and the quality of the facility are important considerations. 
  3. Get evaluated. When you’ve decided to move ahead, you’ll have tests to make sure you’re in the right condition for surgery. This includes meeting with our dietitian and psychologist, and losing a small percentage of your body weight.
  4. Secure insurance coverage and scheduling. Our team members work with you to submit the paperwork necessary to be considered for insurance coverage. Once coverage is secured, we’ll schedule the surgery at your convenience.
  5. Prepare for surgery. Meet with our bariatric nurse coordinator, your surgeon and other care team members to learn what to expect from surgery. During this meeting, you can get answers to all your questions. 
  6. Have surgery. Your surgery will take from 45 minutes to two hours, and you’ll be attended to by a bariatric surgeon, a scrub nurse, a circulatory nurse, an anesthesiologist and a technician — a team that specializes in bariatric surgery. After surgery in our bariatric-specific operating room, you’ll be in the recovery room for 90 minutes for observation. 
  7. Stay with us. While you’re in recovery, your surgeon will meet with your loved ones to tell them how your surgery went. You’ll go from the recovery area to a private room for your hospital stay — usually one to three days. Our bariatric nurses will have you up and walking within two hours after surgery. Your room includes a TV, Wi-Fi Internet connection, visitor seating and a chair that converts to a small bed for an overnight visitor. 
  8. Prepare to go home. Our bariatric nurses will help you prepare to go home. They’re your valuable resource both during your stay and once you’re home, adapting to your new lifestyle. Specifically, they’ll help you care for your incisions and manage your pain, as well as teach you how to eat in ways that support your health after weight-loss surgery. You can expect to return to normal activities within two to three weeks.
  9. Get ongoing support. The Weight Loss Surgery Program at El Camino Health offers free support groups to keep you informed and provide encouragement. With curriculum from Bariatric Support Centers International, we provide ongoing education about nutrition, lifestyle, psychological issues and long-term follow-up care. Your bariatric surgeon may recommend individualized follow-up care including an exercise program, nutrition education, physical therapy and mental health services. 

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