The Office Visit

What to expect at your first visit in our office

During your initial consultation, you will have an opportunity to meet with Dr. Belsley and speak with the members of our team. Our team respects the magnitude of your operative decision and we strive to be personable, available and supportive throughout the process. We have developed a system that allows the members of our team to meet with you at your initial and most follow-up visits. While our practice has grown over the years, we have not lost sight of what is truly important, which is helping others reach their goal of achieving optimal health.

We understand that many are exploring their options and have questions about surgery and their process of recovery. Please view this initial consultation as not only a meet and greet with the team, but an opportunity to learn how to best address the many questions that you have been thinking about before you made the appointment to come to our office. Our initial visits vary for complex general surgical patients and typically last a few hours for our bariatric patients. We strive to help you accomplish a great deal during this first visit and ensure that it is both informative and productive. For our bariatric patients, this initial consultation will include a discussion about your bariatric surgical options, a review of your medical history and an introduction to our dietary and practice protocols.

On this first day, you will meet with the surgeon, Dr. Belsley, who will opine whether you have a problem that can be addressed appropriately by surgery and discuss medical issues surrounding your candidacy. He will be the one performing your future operation. Dr. Belsley will take the time to speak with you about your surgical and non-surgical options and provide some preliminary guidance. For many of you this may be the first time that you are talking about the nuances of your procedure with a healthcare professional.

Before meeting with Dr. Belsley, you will spend time with our Physician Assistant, Jennifer Matte, rPA-C. This visit will include a comprehensive review of your past medical history and a discussion of potential health concerns relating to pre-existing conditions. Jennifer will review your family history, medications and discuss lab results.

Sharing your medical history

Physician Assistant working with your medical history
It is important that you provide our Physician Assistant with as much information as possible so that she can provide further information to you, your primary care providers as well as Dr. Belsley. We strive to help you optimize your medical conditions when possible before the surgical process.

Our Practice Manager, Charity Spencer, will act as your point of contact during the surgical pre-operative and post-operative experience. She will meet with you and explain the steps involved in the surgical process as well as those needed for insurance approval. Steps are typically outlined in a to-do list; we suggest that you use this to organize your appointments and to prioritize what needs to be done within certain time frames. By the time you leave the practice on this first visit, we want you to feel comfortable with your next steps for surgery and goals with continued medical care with your primary care physician.

Create a To-Do List for Surgery

Office Discussion with practice manager
A to-do list can be instrumental in assisting patients obtain the necessary paperwork, medical tests and documentation required to schedule a surgery date.

Our bariatric patients will also meet with our Registered Dietitian, Shara Lazar, RD. She helps our patients understand dietary changes and sacrifices that must accompany bariatric surgery. During this first visit she will ask questions and try to help you uncover habits and self-defeating decisions that may have hampered your success with medical weight loss programs. Her first visit objective is to identify patterns and propose at least one concrete behavior that you can change as you begin the process for weight-loss surgery.

Diet goals require concrete steps

Laparoscopic weight-loss surgery involves some degree of risk. The procedures are performed under general anesthesia and usually last for between one and three hours.
Our nutritionist typically uses online tools to teach you how to read food labels, track calories and log your calories and activity. In addition, she will provide an overview of some of the changes you will need to adapt to after surgery.

Throughout the process you will be able to communicate with our nutritionist to discuss your progress and to make sure that you are working towards your long-term goals. It is not necessary to memorize any of the information provided to you during that first visit. Our bariatric packet and our website include the stages of the diet, appropriate food lists, menus and many of our guidelines.