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Category: diet

Aetna and Blue Shield 6 month Diet Requirement Changes

May 15, 2015 3:16 pm

The following  is an update from a previous blog regarding some insurance coverage changes effective date January 2015.  We are required to comply with the insurance diet requirements. This is not an inclusive list of requirement.  Always reference your policies specific requirements. Aetna: Physician-supervised nutrition and exercise program: Member has participated in physician-supervised nutrition and exercise program (including dietician consultation, low calorie diet, increased physical activity, and behavioral modification), documented in the medical record at each visit. This physician-supervised nutrition and exercise program must meet all of the following criteria:
  1.  Member’s participation in a physician-supervised nutrition and exercise program must be documented in the medical record by an attending physician who supervised the member’s participation. The nutrition and exercise program may be administered as part of the surgical preparative regimen, and participation in the nutrition and exercise program may be supervised by the surgeon who will perform the surgery or by some other physician. Records must document compliance with the program; the member must not have a net gain in weight during the program. Note: A physician’s summary letter is not sufficient documentation. Documentation should include medical records of physician’s contemporaneous assessment of patient’s progress throughout the course of the nutrition and exercise program. For members who participate in a physician-administered nutrition and exercise program (e.g., MediFast, OptiFast), program records documenting the member’s participation and progress may substitute for physician medical records; and
  2. Nutrition and exercise program must be supervised and monitored by a physician working in cooperation with dieticians and/or nutritionists, with a substantial face-to-face component (must not be entirely remote); and
  3. Nutrition and exercise program(s) must be for a cumulative total of 6 months (180 days) or longer in duration and occur within 2 years prior to surgery, with participation in one program of at least 3 consecutive months. (Precertification may be made prior to completion of nutrition and exercise program as long as a cumulative of 6 months participation in nutrition and exercise program(s) will be completed prior to the date of surgery.)
Blue Shield · Documentation of active participation in a non-surgical weight reduction program supervised by a registered dietician, healthcare provider (e.g., physician, nurse practitioner), or an organized weight reduction program (e.g., Weight Watchers™, Jenny Craig™), for at least six consecutive months occurring within the last 18 months prior to the request for bariatric surgery · Monthly documentation of all of the following weight reduction program components: -Weight -Dietary regimen, which may include medical nutrition therapy (e.g., MediFast™ and OptiFast™) or a recognized commercial diet-based weight loss program (e.g., Weight Watchers™, Jenny Craig™, etc) -Physical exercise unless medically contraindicated -Behavior modification or behavioral health interventions

Weight Loss before Weight Loss Surgery?

October 19, 2014 2:54 pm

I am frequently confronted by the question “Are you going to make me lose weight before I have weight loss surgery”? My answer is no, for several reasons, it makes little or no sense and there is scant scientific data to support it.

1-Anatomical and 2-psychological-behavior related variables have been suggested as the reasoning for the recommendations for diet before weight loss surgery.

Let’s see what the scientific evidence says about this.

1-Liver can be divided into two anatomical lobes. The tail end of the left lobe may extend all the way to the upper left side of the abdomen covering the upper 1/3 of the stomach,  the gastro-esophageal junction (GEJ) and the esophageal hiatus. It was suggested that the access to the GEJ could be made easier, if the left lobe of the liver was smaller.

“A decrease in the size of the liver by 18% was shown in patients who were subjected to a very low-energy diet for 12- weeks.”  This was published by Colles et.al in a small study of 39 subjects.

Weight Loss before Weight Loss Surgery?

It is important to appreciate that this reduction in liver size meant that a patient would have to tolerate an ultra low caloric diet (less than 500/day) for 12 weeks. The interesting observation was that even with this reduction in the size of the liver there was “… no difference shown in morbidity, mortality, hospital stay, and decrease in morbidity- associated diseases whether there is preoperative weight loss or not.”

Weight Loss before Weight Loss Surgery?
Weight Loss before Weight Loss Surgery?

2-Behavior modifications have been entertained as a necessary element to the success of adjustable gastric banding. Numerous studies have shown that there is no predictive value of preoperative weight loss in relation to the weight loss after surgery.

Weight Loss before Weight Loss Surgery?
Weight Loss before Weight Loss Surgery?
Weight Loss before Weight Loss Surgery?
Weight Loss before Weight Loss Surgery?
Weight Loss before Weight Loss Surgery?
Weight Loss before Weight Loss Surgery?

The overwhelming scientific data suggest that there is no value to subjecting a weight loss surgical patient to a pre-surgical ultra low caloric diet.
“The California Department of Managed Health Care recently conducted a review of weight loss prior to bariatric surgery and concluded that “there is no literature presented by any authority that mandated weight loss, once a patient has been identified as a candidate for bariatric surgery, is indicated. This comprehensive review states that mandated weight loss prior to indicated bariatric surgery is without evidence-based support, is not medically necessary, and that the risks of delaying bariatric surgery are real and measurable.” Published by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery in March 2011.

Sunshine, Water, Rest, Air, Exercise and Diet

May 23, 2014 4:10 pm

Sunshine, Water, Rest, Air, Exercise and Diet

Of course this is over simplified, but we can’t forget the importance of the basics in our general well being. Weight loss surgery and especially Duodenal Switch have distinctive supplement requirements that need to be individualized based on your individual needs.

Sunshine is essential to life. It provides the light that wakes us and helps to regulate wake/sleep cycles and provides us with a feeling of well being. Sunlight is not only the basis of all living things but crucial in boosting the bodies Vitamin D supply. Most Vitamin D deficiencies in the general public are caused by lack of sun exposure. It is important to note that our bodies can not accomplish Vitamin D metabolism if we are wearing sunscreen. Without adequate Vitamin D stores bones will not form properly, muscle strength is impaired and osteoporosis.  Vitamin D 1,25(OH) accumulates in cell nuclei of the intestine, where it enhances calcium and phosphorus absorption, controlling the flow of calcium into and out of bones to regulate bone-calcium metabolism. However, after weight loss surgery this mechanism can be impaired.  Addition supplementation of Vitamin D is usually required based on laboratory studies following weight loss surgery.  Duodenal Switch patients should take a dry “water miscible” type of Vitamin D3 daily. 

Water comprises 50-60% of our adult bodies.  Water is essential in cell life.  It aids in transporting vitamins, nutrients and minerals to our cells. Chemical and Metabolic reactions rely on water to remove waste products including toxins that the organs’ cells reject and removes them through urine and feces. Our body temperature is regulated by sweating and the evaporation of water on the skin. Also, effectively Lubricating our joints and acting as a shock absorber for our brain, eyes, and spinal cord. Decreased stomach size, after weight loss surgery,  limits the amount of water a person can drink at one time.  It is imperative that patients ingest enough waters and fluids after surgery. We like to see our patients consume a minimum of 64 ounces of fluids a day, more on warmer days.

Rest is something we can all use more of.  Lack of sleep can cause a whole host of health issues ranging from altered levels of hormones involved in metabolism, appetite regulation, stress response to cardiovascular health, insulin resistance, immune function and most importantly post-operatively tissue repair, muscle growth and protein synthesis.  It’s easy to take rest for granted but  do not underestimate the power of sleep.

Air is an obvious essential of life.  It is important in about every function of our cells.  After surgery it is important to lung health and tissue repair. Be aware of the type of air you are breathing.  Pollution and contaminants in the air can impair lung function.  After surgery your breathing and breathing exercises will prevent complications such as pneumonia and atelectasis.  Long term air contaminants can cause asthma and long term lung health. In addition, post surgical patients will need to use their incentive spirometers to combat lung complications.

Exercise’s health benefits can not be denied. Exercise combat health conditions and disease such as stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It also improves emotional outlook and mood. Physical activity stimulates the brain to release chemicals that involve increasing memory function.  Exercise helps maintain healthy weight, improves energy, promotes better sleep, lowers stress and anxiety.  Needless, to say after surgery exercise is extremely important for all the above reasons but also to ward off complications such as pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis.

Diet is last but definitely not least. Balance along with moderation and eating whole unprocessed foods are best ways to ensure your health.  We derive most our building blocks for cell growth from the nutrients we consume. The quality of the food we put into our bodies is important in lowering health risks such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and weight control. Protein is crucial in muscle growth, hemoglobin, cell structure and enzymes formation.  It is extremely important after weight loss surgery to remain diligent about protein intake throughout your lifetime.

It is interesting to see how all these elements are so intertwined in their synergy to maintain health.  Most are easily found or done in nature. When engaging in one of these elements,  many of the others are needed or benefited by the doing the first. Exercise requires that you stay hydrated, deep breath, possibly out in the sunlight and therefore you will rest better. Always follow your surgeon’s orders and recommendations based on your individual health status and laboratory studies.