Preparing for Bariatric Surgery

After attending an in-person seminar or a webinar, we will work with you in completing a full medical history including your family history, weight history, previous weight loss attempts, current body mass index and health status. As a bariatric team, we help patients determine the best obesity treatment option for their personal situation. Some patients may choose to attend the metabolic clinic for medical weight loss, others may wish to delay treatment and some individuals want to move forward with pre-surgery requirements.

  • Attend Scheduled Appointments:

    Each missed or rescheduled appointment is a missed opportunity. It delays treatment, which delays the timeline to schedule surgery.
  • Stop Smoking:

    Many insurance companies require patients to stop using all tobacco products at least six weeks prior to their scheduled surgery date. As medical providers, we must to document smoking and tobacco cessation in the patient’s medical record for insurance purposes. Continued smoking and other tobacco products release toxins into the blood stream, which it can decrease blood circulation and inhibit the healing process.
  • Metabolic Testing:

    Unique to our bariatric program, we recommend that all of our patients have metabolic testing completed as an outpatient in our clinic. It is a simple breathing test that measures resting metabolic rate. Combined with measures of total fat tissue (body scan of fat patterns and percentage of fat deposits) and lean mass, our registered dietitian can accurately determine the patient’s calorie needs for a weight loss plan.
  • Blood Sugar Control:

    Prior to any elective surgery, it is extremely important to have good blood sugar control to prevent infection and promote healing. Our internal medicine physician works with our patients to review their medications for obesity-related diseases. Some medication adjustment may be necessary, so patients can be in their healthiest state prior to bariatric surgery.
  • Exercise:

    Most, if not all of our successful weight loss patients who have maintained a significantly lower weight by exercising regularly. Bariatric surgery is only a “tool” to help patients begin to lose a significant amount of weight, but it is behavior change and a long-term commitment to a healthy lifestyle that will prevent weight regain. Our pre-surgery patients begin by just “moving.” Set an exercise goal in number of minutes to “move” daily. Simply move to get in the mindset of exercising daily.
  • Psychology Evaluation:

    Some insurance companies, along with Medicare and Medicaid coverage require a psychology evaluation prior to surgery. The purpose of the evaluation is to make sure patients are emotionally ready for a major surgery and lifestyle change. Our bariatric coordinator will help locate psychology providers in our geographical area.
  • Other Pre-Surgery Testing:

    Some patients require a few more tests due to their medical history and other obesity-related diseases. Additional tests will be based on health status and determined by our surgeon and internal medicine physician. Our patients need to be in their healthiest state possible prior to bariatric surgery.
  • MEdical Leave:

    Depending on the type of bariatric procedure and the patient’s occupation, we usually recommend one to four weeks of sick leave. Some patients recover more quickly than others. However, it is best to arrange for plenty of sick leave days just in case extra healing time is needed. A full recovery takes about six weeks, so patients should take it easy during the healing process.
  • Lifting Requirements:

    We recommend lifting no more than 25 pounds for at least four weeks post-surgery. Then, gradually increase physical activity as tolerated. Please arrange for physical care of small children, elderly family members or livestock for at least a couple of weeks to prevent physical strain or a surgical complication from lifting too much weight too soon.
  • Driving:

    No driving while taking strong pain medication such as narcotics. Our patients can resume driving when they feel well enough to concentrate and react in an emergency situation.
  • Plan Ahead:

    Our registered dietitian will provide written instructions for a post-surgery diet that outlines the different types, quantities and textures of foods allowed following surgery. Two weeks of post-surgery groceries should be purchased before having surgery. The post-surgery diet progression from liquids to pureed foods and soft textures will be explained both before and after surgery. This allows time for the patient to ask questions and to feel comfortable with learning new eating behaviors.
Remember, being emotionally and physically prepared before surgery creates less stress during recovery.