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Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answers to frequently asked questions about billing, nutrition and more!

General FAQs

Are your surgeons board certified?
Our surgeons (Tom Umbach, MD, Matthew Apel, MD, and Andrew Rogers, MD) are American medical school graduates and board certified by the American Board of Surgery and have each completed a bariatric fellowship program.
Do your surgeons perform the majority of cases open or laparoscopically?
Given our surgeons extensive training and experience with operating laparoscopically on clients, nearly all operations are safely started and completed laparoscopically. Laparoscopic surgery benefits clients because of less wound infections, less pain, quicker recovery, and faster discharge.*
What types of bariatric procedures have your surgeons performed?
Our surgeons have vast experience in bariatric surgery, performing an average of 1,000 cases per year, with the two most popular bariatric procedures: the gastric bypass and the gastric sleeve (Safe Sleeve) as well as a variety of complex cases, including revision bariatric surgery.
What is the mortality rate?
There is a risk associated with any surgery and anesthesia, including possible death and other complications, but we are proud to say our rates are much lower than the national average. Our mortality rate for the fast track program is 0.0003% which is far below the national average. The national average for the gastric sleeve procedure is 0.08%. Also important to note that the national mortality and complication rates are lower than those typically associated with gallbladder or hip replacement surgery!
What complications of weight loss surgery do you come across most often? Is your rate of complications greater or less than the national average?
The types of complications vary based on the weight loss operation performed. Most commonly, gastric bypass clients can suffer from nausea, particularly early after surgery. This always resolves with time. Fortunately, major surgical complications, such as blood clots or intestinal leakage, are rare and much less than the national average. Our doctors feel very strongly that proper preparation for surgery, both mentally and physically, greatly helps limit surgical complications.*
Which bariatric procedure is best for me? Why? What are the risks involved?
After learning more about weight loss surgery by reading websites such as this one, you and your surgeon will decide the best procedure for you. Any and every operation entails some risks, including the risk of death. Remarkably, the risks of poor health and medical problems stemming from morbid obesity outweighs the surgical risks from weight loss surgery itself.*
If I want to have bariatric surgery, how long do I have to wait?
With our Fast Track program, we’ve streamlined the process to complete consult to surgery in as little as 4 days. Depending on our surgery schedule, we may be able to get you in in as little as 2 weeks! To start the process fill out the Fast Track Inquiry form here: Get started with Fast Track.
How long will I be in surgery?
The actual operating time for both the gastric bypass and the gastric sleeve are about an hour or less. However, because of all the preparation and processes that occur on the day of surgery you can expect to spend several hours in the operating room area, including pre-op area, operating room, and the post op recovery area.
What is the length of my anticipated stay?
If you’re traveling to Blossom from out of town, you can expect to stay 4-6 nights to complete your initial appointment, EGD, surgery and IV therapy.
With advances in anesthesia and laparoscopic surgery, clients are typically discharged from our surgery center a few hours after their procedure!
How long will it be before I can return to pre-surgery levels of activity?
Our surgeons encourage clients to return to normal activity quickly after surgery. There is no danger to you by performing normal light everyday activities, such as walking, cooking, and shopping – actually, we suggest you walk every hour after surgery to help expel the air inserted into the abdomen and to keep the blood circulating. Most clients find it enjoyable to begin light exercise program soon after their procedure. In fact, an early return to activity is important for a safe and speedy recovery. One important point is that while taking narcotic pain medication, clients should not drive or operate machinery. Return to work is based upon your own personal recovery and the demands of your job. Clients often return to work in as little as a few days post-surgery!
How will my eating habits change?
Weight loss operations enable clients to develop a new and healthy relationship with food. After surgery, clients have all the knowledge they need to eat a healthy protein-based diet. Importantly, clients can and should eat a wide variety of foods. At a restaurant, people will not know that you have had weight loss surgery, but in your post-op literature, we will provide a card that will note you have had a procedure that you should keep on you at all times.
Do you have information about bariatric surgery costs and payment options?
The price depends on a few factors including insurance coverage and medical history. We work with insurance a bit differently than other programs in the country. We utilize your general surgery, out of network benefits instead of the bariatric benefit so you may be surprised at how affordable surgery can be! The best thing to do is submit your insurance here so we can determine the best way to proceed.
What is the typical excess weight loss and improvement of associated health conditions for your other clients?
Though individual results may vary, through the results of many scientific studies and years of experience, it has shown that the majority of clients will lose about 2/3 of their excess body weight. For example, if a client who is 120 pounds overweight, she can expect to lose 80 pounds and keep it off. Weight loss surgery generally cures or improves about three quarters of a client’s medical problems. For a client with diabetes, sleep apnea, and high cholesterol, there is 75% chance that the diabetes, sleep apnea, and/ or high cholesterol will resolve.* Post-surgical success is dependent on the clients ability to adhere to the criteria and suggestions set forth by our team.
Do you have clients who are willing to share their experiences, both positive and negative?
It is very important that clients research thoroughly all the pros and cons of surgical weight loss. This should include talking with other clients, reviewing our testimonials on our website, Facebook, Google and Yelp, and meeting with your surgeon. Ask around and you will be surprised how many people you already know that have had weight loss surgery. Another fabulous resource for all weight loss clients is a website called ObesityHelp.com. Many of our staff members have undergone the surgery they’re always willing to share their knowledge!
What information can you give me to help family and friends better understand this weight loss surgery?
Unfortunately, it can be hard for family and friends to understand weight loss surgery. It’s up to you whether or not you share your entire journey through the weight loss surgery process with your family to help educate them. We encourage clients to bring a support person to their consultation and appointments to help them understand the process and procedures. Friends will quickly learn that this is not the easy way out, it requires hard work and dedication.
What do you expect from me if I decide to choose a surgical solution?
Just as clients have many expectations of their weight loss operation, we have similar expectations of our clients. Successful clients follow the program guidelines, change their lifestyle, lose weight before surgery, and seek helpful resources. Perhaps the most important expectation is that clients understand this is a tool and a lifelong change.
Does the program have established guidelines in client selection?
Our guidelines for bariatric client selection match those developed by the National Institutes of Health back in 1991. Clients can qualify for weight loss surgery when they are 50 pounds or more overweight. Additional criteria for selecting clients for surgery are similar to those needed for any major elective operation. In general, client should be between the ages of 18 and 68, able to walk a block, have stable controlled medical problems, non-smoking, and be knowledgeable of the surgical risks.*
Is there a dedicated facility and staff for my care?
We are dedicated to providing an exceptional client experience at our clinics and our surgical centers. This commitment includes extensive in-house testing, board certified bariatric surgeons, a Registered Dietitian, in-house therapist, pre- and post-operative support, and our own dedicated surgical center and staff.
Does the program offer registered dieticians?
Preparation for weight loss surgery involves multiple steps. During the initial consultation, clients meet directly with one of our doctors. Clients will then meet with our registered dietitian for their personalized evaluation.
Will you work with my primary care physicians to ensure total wellness?
A successful surgical weight loss program involves the client’s primary care physician during all phases of their journey. You will be provided with a primary care physician folder with all testing that was completed during your time with us. It’s important that you follow up with your PCP at 2 weeks, 6 months and 12 months post-surgery.
Will you work with me to get insurance approval?
Our coordinators work with you to obtain insurance approval and maximize your benefits. Once we are able to verify that you have general surgery benefits, we are able to provide a custom quote for you. Simply submit your insurance information here and we will contact you with details and options!
If I am denied by my insurance company, do you offer any financing options?
We work with multiple third-party lenders who are able to offer various financing options and terms. In order to determine how much your total out of pocket cost will be so you know how much you need to apply for, start HERE.
Does your program offer support groups following weight loss surgery?
One the most important habits for a successful client is seeking support through various methods! Once you have completed surgery, you will be invited to our private Facebook Support group with other past Blossom clients. We encourage you to use the tools we’ve provided such as the Blossom Binder and YouTube channel. We also offer access to our bariatric coach, learn more about BariBoss HERE.
Can I have reconstructive surgery here after my weight loss? If not, can you recommend a surgeon?
Prospective clients frequently have many questions about the need for plastic surgery after major weight loss. However, the actual number of clients who eventually pursue plastic surgery is quite small. Most clients after becoming healthier and happier are satisfied with their new bodies. For those clients who still wish to have plastic surgery, we may refer you to a specialist for a consultation.
Do you offer accommodations and travel assistance for out-of-town clients?
Yes, we do! Our program caters to traveling clients and includes hotel accommodations and VIP ground transportation to and from all appointments, the only thing you have to do is get here and we will take care of the rest! Visit our Fast Track page to learn more.
Does the program offer translation services for non-English speaking clients?
Blossom Bariatrics is proud to offer their services in both English and Spanish. In addition, a full range of translation services is offered at Blossom Bariatrics.

Strees Echo FAQs

How long will I have to be on the treadmill?

  • Patients have to achieve a target heart rate (HR) based off their age. You will have to stay at or above your HR for 15 seconds, and your Technician will tell you when it is time to get off the treadmill.

  • Most patients hit their target within 4 to 7 minutes.

  • The treadmill increases in speed and incline every 3 minutes. If you have any mobility issues, notify your Tech and they will be happy to make adjustments to suit your situation.

Will I have to run?

  • Again, most patients hit their target HR within 4 to 7 minutes; which is a fast-paced walk. So, USUALLY, patients do not get to a running pace.

  • If you exercise regularly, your heart is conditioned. Patients who exercise regularly typically exercise past the 7 minutes, and often get to a running pace before hitting their target.

  • Certain blood pressure medications also have beta blockers, which sustain your heart rate. Some patients on BP medications will also last past 7 minutes.

What should I wear for my stress test?

  • Come to your initial appointment in clothes that are comfortable to exercise in.

  • Please be sure to wear your sneakers to your appointment. Patient safety is #1 at Blossom, and you need to have sufficient tread on the soles of your shoes to walk on the treadmill.

  • Stress Technicians only have 90 seconds from when a patient hits their target HR, to obtain ultra sound images for the Cardiologist. For this reason, female patients will be bare-chested for their stress test. This is due to bras making imaging often impossible. If the images needed are not obtained, the patient will have to do the treadmill portion over.

What if I’ve had a stress test within the last twelve (12) months?
If you have had a stress test within the last twelve months, please notify your Client Care Coordinator, or Medical Assistant. If you can obtain a copy of your stress test results, and have them sent to us, you often will not have to complete our stress test.
What if I have a heart condition?

  • Please contact your Client Care Coordinator in regard to what your health condition is, to see if you qualify for our outpatient surgery.

  • If you have a known heart condition currently, or in the past, please contact your Cardiologist to obtain outside cardiac clearance via a stress test and provide to Blossom.

Nutritional FAQs

The goal is 64 ounces of fluids a day. Does my protein shake(s) count toward that goal?
Yes, there is “free water” in protein shakes, so a shake will contribute to both goals of 64 ounces of water and 60 grams of protein per day. During the two weeks of the no-chew diet, we want the main focus and goal to be at least 64 ounces of fluids daily.
When you say fluids, does that mean plain water only?
No, this does not mean plain water only, this is not a clear liquid diet but it is a liquid diet. You can change up the plain water with Gatorade Zero, Powerade Zero, Bai, Crystal Light, etc. Just no caffeine, carbonation or added sugar/sweetened beverages.
Can you have “too much” protein?
Yes you can consume too much protein, but it will be difficult to go overboard after your sleeve. There are other factors to consider beyond the protein intake. If you are maintaining the recommended caloric range, hydration, vegetables (fiber), vitamins, you are at less risk of consuming too much protein.
Will I have to drink protein shakes my whole life?
Keep in mind that you are not required to drink shakes daily, but they do maintain a great level of control with calories and protein intake. By leaning on 1-2 shakes a day, you won’t be vulnerable to “making the right food choice.” You will be most vulnerable in the first 6 months.

If you find yourself confused about what you can or cannot have, or you are easily tempted with certain foods, we recommend sticking to the shakes for at least the first 6 months to maximize the potential of your new tool in the time period that’s most valuable.
Is hair loss inevitable?
Hair loss or total prevention of hair loss is not guaranteed, but you can take some steps to minimize your chances. Protein is the number 1 priority. Yes, B vitamins (Biotin) can help, but no matter how much you take, it won’t do anything unless you are getting adequate protein intake. Check out the Blossom Podcast episode about hair loss.
Will I have to take supplements my whole life?
Short answer, Yes. At the very least, you will be taking a bariatric brand multi-vitamin and calcium citrate supplement daily. Normally, nutrients are found in the foods we eat but due to the size of your new stomach, it is no longer possible to consume enough food to meet our daily vitamin/mineral needs.
Can I eat fruit?
We want to maximize the potential of the sleeve in the time period that’s most valuable. The first 6 months is that window. You are now physically restricted; prioritizing protein and non-starchy veggies establishes a foundation for long term success because you can’t consume much. Build good habits and we can introduce and balance fruits and whole rains after the 6 month period.
Why are you so strict about not cheating for the first 6 months?
If you don't lose the majority of your weight in the first 6 months, statistically you won't. It’s not that you physically can’t, its that if you don’t make a lifestyle change in the first 6 months when it’s difficult, it’s not likely you will when it gets easier. These first 6 months are a foundation building period. We are building a foundation for long term success, and maximizing the potential of the sleeve in the time period that’s most valuable.
I’ve heard that stalls are normal and I should expect them. When are the common stalls and what should I do if/when I am experiencing a stall?
First stalls are common 2-6 weeks after surgery. BUT, you are not stalling... you are healing! Recognize that you just had a major surgical procedure and the very nature of this tool is to limit resources. When your resources are limited, your body will hoard resources (that may not affect your body composition negatively, but could affect the NUMBER ON THE SCALE) which is why you can lose INCHES AND NOT POUNDS on the scale! This does not mean you are not progressing.

Compliance is the science; give your body water, protein, vitamins/minerals, stay calorically controlled and your body will move!
How many calories should I be having? How many carbs? How much fat?
The suggested criteria is 600-1000 calories, minimum 60g protein, and less than 50g total carbohydrates per day. We highly encourage you to log your food in Baritastic so you can confirm you are not exceeding these goals.
After 2 weeks of the no chew diet and I have transitioned to ‘regular food’, how often should I be eating?
There is no specific plan for anyone, since everyone heals differently; if you and I were to cut our finger today... we wouldn't be healed on the same day. Some people can immediately tolerate steaks, and some need a couple of extra weeks on the no chew diet. There is not one thing I can tell you that you can tolerate at any given time, at any rate, or volume.

On day X one person can tolerate 2 bites whereas another 10 bites. Based on what you can tolerate; you may be able to accomplish this with 3 meals. If the volume you can tolerate is less, then you will have to eat 5-6 smaller meals.
When can I exercise?
You are encouraged to walk right after surgery to help alleviate gas/bloating and to help prevent blood clots from surgery. If you wish to increase intensity or add weight bearing exercises, we want you to wait 3-4 weeks for surgical sites to heal in order to prevent any
issues with wound healing.
Do I count total or net carbs?
It is recommended to count total carbs to get a better idea of how many carbs that food provides and how many carbs your body will be absorbing if you were to eat that food. You can check out the Blossom Podcast or our YouTube channel where we discuss this topic in detail.
It’s been 2 months since my procedure and I’m never hungry, is that normal?
You are physically restricted and you no longer have the hunger hormone. What you are experiencing is the literal expectation...
IT WORKED. YOU DO NEED NUTRIENTS TO SURVIVE THOUGH! The expectation now is to schedule your meals. Set alarms, and create a routine because you are now eating to live... not living to eat. Remember; minimum 600 calories, at least 60g protein, and less than 50g total carbohydrates per day!
It’s been 2 months since my procedure and I’m always hungry, is that normal?
You are physically restricted and you no longer have the hunger hormone. A small amount of protein shake should satiate you. However, the lack of the hunger hormone cannot replace a lifetime of experiences with food. Celebrations, holidays, birthdays, certain times of the year and people, can induce a very realistic but fake hunger. It's not real. When you recognize this, it is easier to turn off. Recognize that you are having a nostalgic moment, you are bored, or this is a routine. If for 20 years you didn’t sit on the couch without a snack, it's very likely that routine has manifested a fake hunger.

If you cannot manage this and experiencing extreme hunger, we recommend connecting BariBoss, our bariatric coaching partner to help you understand the mental aspect of things!
I am extremely constipated, is this normal?
This is a possibility and it is normal for a certain amount of time. Remember that when you have surgery, your bowels are emptied. Also, you will be consuming protein in the form of liquids and added powder for the first few weeks, so that may not add enough bulk for your body to produce stool; therefore it is possible to confuse not having a bowel movement as constipation, however, if you physically feel the discomfort of constipation, then maybe a stool softener is recommended. Also, be sure to hit your daily hydration count because constipation can also be a symptom of dehydration.
I have diarrhea, is that normal?
It is normal to experience diarrhea but only for a certain amount of time. You just had a surgical procedure, and your body is healing, adapting and adjusting to the changes. You have been consuming only liquids and shakes for a few weeks so that may be enough to make stool extremely soft and pass as diarrhea. However, if diarrhea persists, then contact your primary care physician because this can definitely lead to dehydration.
Do you have a cookbook?
We do not have a cookbook, but we do have a partnership with GastricSleeveRecipes.com, they will offer our patients a one week free trial and then a deeply discounted annual fee for their subscription platform!
Do you offer support for the mental aspect of weight loss surgery?
We've partnered with Certified Bariatric Coach, Tabitha Johnson and her company Bari-Boss!
Visit BlossomBariatrics.com/Bariboss to learn more.
When will the dietitian follow up with me?
The dietitian will follow up with you about 2-3 weeks after the date of your surgery. This will be in the form of an email with the results of your metabolic test. Remember that you can always email or call before then if you have any serious questions or concerns!
In your opinion, what are the traits that the most successful patients have?
1. Adherence to the exact diet style our dietitians provided.
2. Exercise and staying active.

Billing FAQs

Will my insurance be billed?
Yes. The services that you receive during your stay with Blossom will typically generate several claims that will be billed at industry standard rates to your insurance.
What if my insurance company sends me forms to complete?
Some forms are necessary for the processing of your claim’s others are just routine and may not need to be completed. Please reach out to the billing team and we will be happy to help you know what is necessary and what is not. 888-221-2297 or [email protected]
Will I receive a billing statement?
Yes! You will actually receive billing statements for each of the entities involved in your care during your surgery week until the claims are processed in full (Blossom Bariatrics, Blossom Medical Group and Warm Springs Surgical Center). Once your payment plan is in place, these will be for informational purposes only
I have Blue Cross Blue Shield why am I receiving insurance checks?
Unfortunately, some insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield choose to put their patients in the middle of the billing process by sending physician and facility insurance checks to the patient. These checks will need to be endorsed and forwarded to Blossom as quickly as possible. Our billing office is here to help with any questions that you may have, and in turn, may need your help with your insurance company from time to time.
Will the billing department be contacting me?
Possibly! It is our goal to make this process as seamless as possible but occasionally we may need the patient/or insured to help with some insurance information. This might include a simple signature giving us permission to appeal a claim or a letter from the patient regarding their procedure.
Will this procedure be applied to my deductible and out of pocket maximum?
Yes! We are not providers for most insurance companies so the majority of the claims will be processed out of network and will be applied to your out of network insurance benefits.
Who do I call if I have questions regarding a letter or something I received from my insurance?
Please direct all billing related questions directly to the billing department. The Blossom staff does a fantastic job on preparing the medical side and the billing department specializes in all your billing needs! You may contact the billing department by calling 888-221-2297 or you are welcome to email [email protected]. Hours are Monday-Thursday 7a-5p MST.

Our Surgeons

Meet our carefully chosen bariatric surgeons, chosen by CEO and chief surgeon Dr. Tom Umbach.

Meet Our Surgeons

Video Library

Blossom For Life - Features essential videos that progress with you throughout your bariatric journey with Blossom.

Blossom For Life - Video Library

Contact Us

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at the number below.

855-BLOSSOM (256-7766)
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