1. Are Dr. Umbach and Dr. Apel board certified?
  2. What other certifications or professional memberships does Dr. Umbach have?
  3. Does Dr. Umbach and Dr. Apel perform the majority of cases open or laparoscopically?
  4. What types of bariatric procedures have Dr. Umbach and Dr. Apel performed?
  5. What is the mortality rate?
  6. What complications of weight loss surgery do you come across most often? 
    Is your rate of complications greater or less than the national average?
  7. Which bariatric procedure is best for me?  Why?
    What are the risks involved?
  8. If I want to have bariatric surgery, how long do I have to wait?
  9. What can I do before the appointment to speed up the process?
  10. How long will I be in surgery?
  11. What is the length of my anticipated stay?
  12. How long will it be before I can return to presurgery levels of activity?
  13. How will my eating habits change?
  14. Do you have information about bariatric surgery costs and payment options?
  15. Can you provide me with the name of an insurance expert who can assist me in qualifying for surgery?
  16. What is the typical excess weight loss and improvement of associated health conditions for your other clients?
  17. Do you have clients who are willing to share their experiences, both positive and negative?
  18. What information can you give me to help family and friends better understand this surgery?
  19. What do you expect from me if I decide to choose a surgical solution?
  20. Does the program have established guidelines in client selection?
  21. Does your program offer evaluation and treatment for co-morbid conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea?
  22. Is there a dedicated facility and staff for my care?
  23. Does the program offer registered dieticians?
  24. Are the radiologists and anesthesiologists in the program board certified?
  25. Will you work with my primary care physicians to ensure total wellness?
  26. Will you work with me to get insurance approval?
  27. If I am denied by my insurance company, do you offer any financing options?
  28. Does your program offer support groups following surgery?
  29. Can I have reconstructive surgery here after my weight loss?  if not, can you recommend a surgeon?
  30. Do you offer accommodations and travel assistance for out-of-town clients?
  31. Does the program offer translation services for non-English speaking clients?

Client Financing For Bariatric Surgery Click Here For More Info

Are Dr. Umbach and Dr. Apel board certified?

Tom Umbach, MD, is an American medical school graduate, board certified by the American Board of Surgery, and a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons. Matthew Apel. MD is an American medical school graduate, board certified by the American Board of Surgery.

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What other certifications or professional memberships does Dr. Umbach have?

In 2002, Dr. Umbach completed a prestigious fellowship in Advanced Minimally Invasive Surgery at the University of Southern California. Since then he has dedicated himself to helping Las Vegas weight loss surgery clients and is an active member of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. He has over 15 years of experience in the bariatric field.

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Does Dr. Umbach and Dr. Apel perform the majority of cases open or laparoscopically?

Given Dr. Umbach and Dr. Apel’s 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, and quicker recovery, and faster hospital discharge.*

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What types of bariatric procedures have Dr. Umbach and Dr. Apel performed?

Dr. Umbach has a vast experience, performing an average of 1,000 cases per year, with the two most popular bariatric procedures: the gastric bypass and the gastric sleeve. As a result, he has successfully dealt with a wide variety of complex cases, including revision bariatric surgery of gastric bypass performed elsewhere. Dr. Apel has performed hundreds of cases and is specially trained in leaks and revision cases from other practices, including Mexico practices.

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What is the mortality rate?

Dr. Umbach’s mortality rate of 0.2% is significantly less than the national average for the gastric bypass which is 0.5%.  In addition, his mortality rate is 0 for gastric sleeve, which has a national mortality rate of 0.1%.*

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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.  While gastric sleeve clients have more problems with the port or sleeve itself.  These are typically easily correctable.  Fortunately, major surgical complications, such as blood clots or intestinal leakage, are rarer 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.*

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Which bariatric procedure is best for me?  Why?  What are the risks involved?

Pick the bariatric procedure that you understand and feel the most comfortable with.  After learning more about weight loss surgery by reading websites such as this one, attending informational seminars and meeting with our doctors, it will become obvious which procedure is best.  Any and every operation entails some risks, including the risk of death.  For a detailed list of those risks please refer to the procedures section of this website. Remarkably, the risks of poor health and medical problems stemming from morbid obesity outweighs the surgical risks from weight loss surgery itself.*

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If I want to have bariatric surgery, how long do I have to wait?

Initial consultations and appointments for tests can be scheduled fairly quickly. Although the amount of time between the first consultation and the date of surgery depends on several factors, some clients wait a few months. These factors depend on completing certain steps, which include insurance approval, any pre-operative education (including seminars), medical evaluation, and pre-operation work-up. Every individual is different, to start the process Schedule a Consultation

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What can I do before the appointment to speed up the process?

Choose a primary care physician if you don’t have one already, and establish a relationship with him or her. Work with your physician to ensure that your routine health maintenance testing is current. For example, women may have a Pap smear, and if older than 40 years of age, a mammogram. For men, this may include a Prostate Specific Antigen test (PSA). Results of diagnostic and routine screening for co-morbid conditions such as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol can be necessary for documentation of medical necessity.

  1. Make a list of all the diets you have tried (a diet history) and take it to your doctor.
  2. Keep track of every visit you make to a healthcare professional for obesity-related issues or visits to supervised weight loss programs. Make note of other weight loss attempts made through diet centers and fitness club memberships. Keep good records, including receipts.
  3. Take any relevant medical data to your appointment with the bariatric surgeon, including reports of special tests (echocardiogram, sleep study, etc.), or a hospital discharge summary if you have been in the hospital for weight-related health problems.
  4. Take a list of your medications, including dosage and schedule.
  5. Quit smoking. Surgical clients who use tobacco products are at a greater surgical risk. Talk to a doctor for help with this.
  6. Gather all of the information (diet records, medical records, medical tests) your insurance company may require. This reduces the chance of being turned down because you failed to provide necessary information. Letters from your personal physician and professionals supporting the medical necessity of treatment are particularly valuable. When several physicians report the same findings, it may confirm a medical necessity for surgery.
  7. When you send your letter, call your insurance carrier regularly to ask about the status of your request. Your employer or human relations office also may be able to help you work through any issues. Be sure to write down dates and the names of people you speak with and keep notes about the conversations. When possible, get them to fax you copies of the policies they are quoting.
  8. Make sure your primary care physician is documenting your weight loss efforts and your weight in your medical records at every visit.

What is the process for application for insurance coverage?

Since every insurance policy is unique, it’s important that you thoroughly understand your certificate of coverage to know exactly what is and isn’t covered through your plan.

To qualify for insurance coverage, many insurers require clients to have a history of medically supervised weight loss efforts.

Our doctors will prepare a letter to obtain preauthorization from your insurance company. The goal of this letter is to establish the medical necessity of bariatric surgery and gain approval for the procedure. The following information is generally included in the preauthorization letter:

  • Your height, weight, and Body Mass Index, and any documentation you might have as to how long you have been overweight.
  • Simply describing your condition as morbid obesity is not enough. A full description of all your obesity-related health conditions, including records of treatment, a history of medications taken, and documentation of how these conditions affect your everyday life, is necessary.
  • A detailed report of how your excess weight affects daily activities, such as walking, tying your shoes, or maintaining personal hygiene.
  • A detailed history of the results of your dieting efforts, including medically and non-medically supervised programs, medical records, and records you may have kept of payments to and meetings you’ve attended with commercial weight loss programs.
  • A history of exercise programs, including receipts for gym memberships.
  • Ask your doctor to include clinical information about how effective bariatric surgery can be, particularly the control or loss of obesity-related health conditions.

Normally, your insurance provider will respond to your request within 30 days. You should schedule a follow-up if you have not heard from your insurance company in that amount of time.

At the end of this stage, with the help of Blossom Bariatrics, you will know if you qualify for surgery.

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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.

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What is the length of my anticipated stay?

With advances in anesthesia and laparoscopic surgery, clients typically leave the hospital the next day after a gastric bypass.  Gastric sleeve clients can leave the hospital on the day of the operation.  Close contact with the surgeon is critical earlier on after surgery.  Blossom Bariatrics will call clients after surgery and clients will return for their first post operative visit 2 weeks after surgery.*

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How long will it be before I can return to pre-surgery levels of activity?

Dr. Umbach and Dr. Apel 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.  Most clients find it enjoyable to begin light exercise program soon after discharge from the hospital.  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 begin light office work Monday the week after surgery.*

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How will my eating habits change?

Weight loss operations enable clients to develop a new and healthy relationship with food.  As part of the preparation, you will attend classes and meet with a dietician.  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.

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Do you have information about bariatric surgery costs and payment options?

Costs for weight loss surgery are impossible to quote exactly ahead of time, as they depend on each individual’s weight, BMI, and form of payment. Rough estimates include the costs for the hospitalization, anesthesiologist and surgeon. For those with insurance, it’s important to start the insurance verification process with our specialists so you understand what is covered. It is also important to take into consideration other fees and co-pays associated with your insurance. For those clients without any insurance coverage, we understand this is a large investment in your health and has finance plans available in our office. For information about self investment, click here.

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Can you provide me with the name of an insurance expert who can assist me in qualifying for weight loss surgery?

Obtaining insurance coverage for weight loss surgery can be very difficult and frustrating.  For example, some clients actually change jobs and or careers to gain proper coverage.  Basically, either you have the insurance benefit or do not.  Clients are no longer able to obtain coverage based on “medical necessity”.  For those clients with proper insurance coverage, Blossom Bariatrics will help guide you through the entire authorization process.

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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 2/3rds of their excess body weight.  So for 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 3/4s 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.*

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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 weight loss operations.  This should include talking with other clients, reviewing our testimonials on our website, Facebook, Google and Yelp, attending seminars, 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.  Finally, many of our staff members have undergone the surgery they’re always willing to share their knowledge!

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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 to 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 all meetings including the informational seminar, the evaluation with the surgeon and dietician, educational classes, and support groups.  Friends will quickly learn that this is not the easy way out, it requires hard work and dedication.

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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 attend classes, follow the program guidelines, change their lifestyle, loss weight before surgery, and attend support groups.  Perhaps the most important expectation is that clients understand this is a lifelong change and they must follow up with their surgeon.*

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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 75 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.*

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Does your program offer evaluation and treatment for co-morbid conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea?

Morbid obesity is associated with many other medical conditions. At Blossom Bariatrics, we offer sophisticated and comprehensive care for these co-morbidities, such as sleep apnea and diabetes mellitus. In addition, our doctors work closely with the referring primary care physician to optimize the associated medical conditions of his clients. The purpose of a thorough client preparation is to make their weight loss surgery as safe as possible.*

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Is there a dedicated facility and staff for my care?

Blossom Bariatrics is dedicated at all levels to care for the bariatric client. This commitment includes an exclusive Center of Excellence physician Medical Director, a Certified Bariatric Nurse Coordinator, specialized operating room facilities, exclusive bariatric client rooms, and a dedicated nursing staff. In addition, Blossom Bariatrics has a sleep center and diabetic care center available for clients.

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Does the program offer registered dieticians?

Preparation for weight loss surgery involves multiple steps. After the initial informational seminar, clients meet directly with one of our doctors.  At this comprehensive evaluation, each client will receive an individualized list of tasks to complete.  Clients will then meet with our registered dieticians for an hour evaluation.  These same dieticians are available for additional visits as required by the client’s insurance company.   Additional dietary education will include a 3 hour class covering the basics of nutrition and successful eating habits.

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Are the radiologists and anesthesiologists in the program board certified?

Because Blossom Bariatrics has a long history of performing weight loss surgery, all associated physician specialists are board certified and very experienced in the needs of bariatric clients. In addition, we use a small number of anesthesiologists to further improve the quality of client care.

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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. In most cases, Blossom Bariatrics requires a referral from the client’s physician to start the process.  Additional records from your doctor may be needed to complete the surgical evaluation.  In return, our office will keep the primary care physician informed by sending copies of visits and reports.

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Will you work with me to get insurance approval?

Our insurance specialists will work hard with each client to obtain insurance approval and maximize your benefits.  The insurance approval process culminates with submission for pre-authorization for the operation.  Blossom Bariatrics sends a detailed and comprehensive packet tailored to the specific requirements of the client’s insurance company for pre-authorization.  This results a very high chance of approval the first time around with the insurance company.*

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If I am denied by my insurance company, do you offer any financing options?

Because of a thorough preparation for insurance authorization, denials are rare.  However, as a service to our clients, either Dr. Umbach or Dr. Apel personally calls the medical director of the insurance company for each denial. This approach can typically result in reversal of the denial.  If your insurance company denies your appeal you can consider hiring an insurance lawyer or insurance advocate, both of whom can be very helpful. The insurance lawyer or advocate should have an in-depth understanding of the appeals process, as well as any laws that apply, and how to go about responding to the insurance company. With some insurance carriers, the number of appeals that you can make is limited. So be sure to learn as much as possible about the appeals process ahead of time. As a last resort, clients can finance their operation through outside loan programs available at Blossom Bariatrics.

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Does your program offer support groups following weight loss surgery?

One the most important habits for a successful client is regular attendance at support groups. Though it is difficult to find the time to attend, clients always learn something at each support group meeting. Blossom Bariatrics will have regularly scheduled support groups for clients. Please refer to our support groups signup portal to get started!

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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, either Dr. Umbach or Dr. Apel can recommend a plastic surgeon.

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Do you offer accommodations and travel assistance for out-of-town clients?

One of the many reasons Dr. Umbach came to Las Vegas was to establish a concierge practice for clients from out of the area.  As a major tourist destination, affordable flights and hotels are readily available.  Visit our Health and Wellness Travel page to learn more.

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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.

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*Individual results may vary.

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