Help, please! So confused about Libre. Thinking of buying one for surgery

I need help figuring out the Libre. So, the Eversense would be ideal for me, but I can’t get them to call, email, or give me anything about who in my area can actually put one in. My doctor is trying to speed up the timeline for my admission and probable surgery, so their dilly dallying isn’t something I can just wait out. My insurance only allows one CGM per 5 years, so I am thinking I’ll just get a Libre out of pocket. That has turned out to be much more confusing and complicated than I expected. Help, please!

First off, I am in the US, so I don’t have the opportunity to use the Libre 3 or any of that nice tech you guys seem to get everywhere else. I don’t have time to get it from Mexico either. Also, the devices I can use for this are my iPhone or an Android tablet.

  1. As I understand it, I can just buy the sensor without the reader and get the numbers on my iPhone or tablet, yes? Has anyone done this and avoided paying for the reader? How’d it go? How did your MD write the prescription?

  2. Which Libre should I get? I can’t figure out what the actual relevant differences are. Honestly, how sick I am isn’t helping (hence the potential hospital admission and/or surgery, ugh, which I hoped to avoid). I really like the idea of more data, alarms, and quick setup, so maybe the Libre 2? Being alerted to changes would be very important. But, if there are easy workarounds to get those things with the other Libre, can someone explain them? I’ve heard it’s more accurate and you can restart the sensor if you need to, but you have to use third party apps, right? And it’s less data? I am very confused.

  3. Can I share data with others without the reader and even if I use third party apps? I’d be sharing with up to 2 people who have iPhones.

  4. Where do people actually put them and get decent data overnight? I’m going to be in bed a lot. Compression lows are bad. I’m thinking thigh? But I have lots of muscle and little fat there, enough that I usually avoid the area unless I am really high and I don’t mind if my Novolog goes IM. So, maybe not?

  5. Should I use my iPhone for this, or are there better apps on Android that make it worth lugging around a tablet?

Thanks, all.

For $299 CDN you can get 3 Dexcom sensors and a transmitter. Your phone app is the “reader”. That gives you 24 hr CGM for a month. It’s probably less expensive in the US for this.

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Thank you for the tip. Had no idea you could just buy Dexcom sensors and use a phone. Learn something new every day! I have heard that it’s much, much more accurate.

I think the new Libre 2 is supposed to have 24 hour coverage now, right? I am in the US, and it’s about $137 at Walmart for two Libre 2 sensors lasting 28 days total and about $380 for three Dexcom sensors lasting 30 days total. So, around 2.8 times the cost.

It’s a difficult decision. I have heard that the Dexcom insertion needle and filament are longer than the ones on the Libre, which is a complicating factor for me because my injections hit muscle a lot. I’m not able to eat properly, so I’m lacking in places to stick.

I’ve heard some people insert through a bandage, which would give additional height between my muscle and the device, so perhaps it wouldn’t be as deep?

The G6 is tempting because that accuracy would be outstanding. The 5 year rule is very limiting.

If you are having to go out of pocket because of time constraints then the Libre or Libre 2 are the best choice. They are the same as far as accuracy, size and cost except that the Libre 2 has alarms. The LibreLink app works with your phone without having to buy a reader as long as you have a compatible phone. The app has a connected apps link in it for being able to share your reading with someone. Same thing for dexcom.

The third party apps for Libre are great but require an add on device that will take weeks to come in the mail so probably isn’t an option for you. You can restart the Sensors with them but you will at most get another day or two before the battery in the Libre dies.

Dexcom is by far the best easily accessible CGM on the market but it can be inaccurate for very thin people. The filament is slanted and runs almost parallel to the skin so hitting a muscle shouldn’t be a problem whereas the Libre goes straight down and I imagine would be more likely to hit muscle than the Dexcom.

Place the sensor on whatever part of your body has the “most” fat that you are not going to be laying on. Abdomen, side of your arm, if you are female then on your chest may work although I would hesitate to put it there since that is a pretty sensitive area. A Youtuber I watch tried the Libre on every place on his body he could think of and it more or less worked everywhere he put it including his chest.

Now I have an idea of how this could work. Thanks! Do you have to swipe t to get any data at all from the Libre 2? Does it automatically upload anything without an add-on device?

Depending on surgery, they may require that sensors be removed, to prevent interference with surgical equipment. Pumps usually are not allowed, with IV insulin administered instead, with frequent fingersticks.

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Excellent points. I hope not. I was allowed my pump for previous surgeries, but that was long ago. They have always been rather remiss regarding blood sugars in hospitals I’ve been to.

I think the Libre 2 just alerts you to being high or low but you still have to scan it to get your exact BG. @Marie20 has used it and may be able to clarify.

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You would need to buy a dexcom transmitter, in addition to sensors. It will last 99 days once started.
If you have android phone you can use xDrip to get cgm readings.

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Yes, The Libre2 has one high alert and one low alert. You have to scan to get the actual number. You can set the amount you want to be alerted at. The lowest low setting is at 60 I think? The Libre reads lower than I am at, so it was going off when I was at 90 sometimes and sometimes when I was at 75. I have a Dexcom too, so I shut off the Libre alerts. But if you don’t have any other alert system, it can be invaluable.

You have the reader that when you scan it, your BG level shows up in nice large numbers and a graph under it for the last few hours. You can go into the reader info with the push of a button and get more detailed info. You can also download the free ap on your phone and the phone gives more information than the reader or at least in a format I found easier to read. You can also scan with your phone. As soon as you scan with either device it will record the last 8 hours of info onto that device.

My hospital experience amazed me. The first short surgery I don’t think they even checked as I came out of surgery and awake at around 75. At a second surgery a week later I asked and the anesthesiologist says they usually just check before surgery, so I asked them to check at least halfway in between as I had dropped during the first surgery and this was going to be a fairly long surgery. This was at a large teaching hospital. It turns out they checked 5 times during a 3 hour surgery. I went in high, started dropping and then shot up, I have a sneaky suspicion they gave me a little glucose because then I came out high. I got sent a readout of my BG levels (tests) but no other info. I did not have a CGM or pump at the time and this was in 2016.

I did have an outpatient awake simple surgical procedure with a laser at a doctors surgery center a couple of years ago and they were using a laser. I still wore my pump and cgm and set my reader about 6 feet from me with gummy bears and said if it alerts with beeps it means I am dropping and I will need my gummy bears. They were completely open to it. But it was more of a casual circumstance.

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When I got my first set, that I paid out of pocket, they sent 3 sensors and one transmitter.
$299 CDN.
I managed to screw up my second sensor so they sent another one with no cost.
The accuracy and convenience for me were amazing.
I signed on and my “subscription” cost remains $299/ month. They mail my supplies to me every couple of months and when I’ve peeled off a sensor early, they replace those no questions asked.
Fortunately I get the first $3,000.00 reimbursed by insurance so am out of pocket “only” $600 a year.

Lucky for you. Many in US pay much higher cost, some about the same, depending on insurance.

Check out this website. You can get sensors from them. I participated during the pilot stage. Not sure what it costs now.

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I pay only $78.58 at Walgreens out of pocket for my two 14 Day Libre sensors per month.
Did not want alarms, since I never go low. I use both the reader which I originally had, and the LibreLink app on my iPhone, but you can use just your iPhone or Android if you want.
The Libre 3 (which provides constant readout of BG levels on smartphones without scanning) is supposed to be available in the US sometime later this year.

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in my experience, the dexcom is more accurate and more expensive, however, the blucon waterproof NightRider from ambrosia with a libre us 14 day or us libre2 might be your best bet…the problem with the Dexcom is the transmitter which now seems to be locked at 90 days…i recently had a transmitter fail at 90.1 days, where a few months ago, you could start a new sensor at 99 days and go until 109…at any rate, its an added cost, and the transmitter battery shenanigans tend to work a little better with xdrip which for the most part is an Android app…the blucon supposedly works directly with the apple watch, although i can confirm that it does not work successfully with xdrip…i have two in my basement, even though the website faqs say it works, but isnt really guaranteed, ar any rate, download the ambrosia app, see if you think itll work for you, then go frim there…shipping is usually 2 or 3 weeks, and you’ll be sick of nfc scanning by then…id also triple check with your insurance company… in 40+ years of squeezing the most out of insurance companies, i have yet to run into a 5 year restriction…prior authorization, sure, 5 year no…i was also on Eversense for about 6 months…as long as your dr ageees to do the implant, Eversense will send 1 or 3 reps to help your dr with the insertion/ removal, so it might still be an option…

I thought you could get CGMs for like a week usage from some doctors offices. I thought they were called a Pro sensor. Not sure if you had access to the info or if it was just info that was pulled up at the end of the week. Some hospitals are also using CGM for hospital admissions for people with diabetes. Might be something to look into, to see if your hospital has this program.


After I had a (Medtronic) pump failure that took 4 days to get a replacement, I bought a Libre 2 reader and sensors to have a backup CGM. Being able to purchase them from local pharmacies was a major advantage.

I have since switched from Medtronics to a t:slim X2 with a Dexcom G6. I paid cash for the pump because I wasn’t eligible for a new pump from Medicare. The cost for Medtronic CGM supplies until I was eligible was almost the same as the cash cost for the pump. Now Medicare pays for both pump and CGM supplies.

I still keep a Libre 2 sensor on hand as a backup.