The Bariatric Optimization Program is physical therapy (PT) for patients diagnosed with obesity and metabolic disorders who are preparing to undergo surgical intervention with a bariatric surgeon. The PT will perform an initial evaluation that will record baseline measurements, vital signs, cardiovascular endurance capacity and musculoskeletal deficits. The plan of care will focus on optimizing patient outcomes before and after surgery, guided through medically supervised exercise training.
This training can include, but is not limited to: improving functional mobility, cardiovascular endurance conditioning, spinal stabilization, flexibility and restoration of range of motion, and strength training of the upper and/or lower body, all with a focus on proper biomechanics (alignment of the joints) and prevention of injury.
This medically supervised exercise training is different from personal training, because it will include the monitoring and assessment of the patient's vital signs, rate of perceived exertion, musculoskeletal pain or symptoms that can only be addressed by a licensed medical professional. Safety is key with bariatric physical therapy, to ensure prevention of worsening of pre-existing musculoskeletal conditions.
Physical therapy is usually covered by insurance. Depending on your individual insurance plan, the percentage or co-pay or co-insurance will vary. The average co-pay for physical therapy in the state of Maryland is $15 to 30 per visit. There will be special cases where PT will be denied for this diagnosis, and you will be notified before deciding whether or not to continue care.
Your first visit, or initial e evaluation, will be 45 minutes. Each follow up visit will be between 30 to 45 minutes. Once your PT performs the evaluation, he/she will recommend the frequency and number of follow ups. This typically ranges between 2 and 12 visits, once or twice per week. The PT will also take into consideration your schedule availability and co-pay, to ensure that you are not stressed out about time or finances.
It is highly recommended that you resume PT two weeks post-op. You will have a new initial evaluation done with updated baseline measurements. You will learn how to safely transition through the healing phase of surgery into exercise, wellness, and prevention of a weight gain and/or injury. Your PT may recommend follow ups visits one to two times per week for 6-12 weeks, again with being mindful of availability and finances.
For your first PT and follow up visits, you should wear comfortable exercise clothing and supportive walking or running shoes. Do not feel obligated to purchase new shoes; your PT may recommend a specific type of shoe or orthotic insert based on your physical evaluation.