Published on March 18, 2019

Preparing for bariatric surgery

Couple embracingIn the months and weeks before surgery, you will need to make some healthy lifestyle changes.

You will also need to plan for changes in diet, exercise and lifestyle after the surgery. This will lower your chance of post-surgical complications. It will also help ensure that you will lose the right amount of weight. You may need to meet with members of your healthcare team several times in the months leading up to your surgery.

Several months before your surgery, your surgeon or dietitian will put you on a diet. Losing some weight before surgery will reduce your risk of complications. It will also help keep you from losing too much muscle mass. The diet will be high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fat. It may be similar to the one that you will need to follow after your surgery. Or, you may be told to follow a low-calorie liquid diet for a couple of weeks before or after your surgery. 

Your healthcare team might also have you start an exercise program. This may also help you lose weight before your surgery. It can also help start positive habits you will need to keep up after your procedure. Your healthcare provider can tell you more about what types of exercise are safe for you.

If you smoke, you’ll need to stop smoking before your surgery. Smoking raises the risk of complications after surgery. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways to help you quit. Many bariatric surgeons will not do surgery on people who are still smoking.

Your healthcare provider may have more instructions about how to get ready for your surgery. Make sure to follow all of his or her advice.

Learn as much about the surgical procedure as you can. Make sure that your expectations are practical, regarding the amount of weight you can lose, and what your life will be like after surgery.

Preparing for the day of surgery

Your healthcare provider will tell you how you should prepare for your day of surgery. Talk to your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take. This includes all over-the-counter medicines. You may need to stop taking some medicines, like blood thinners, before your surgery. Do not stop any medicine without talking to your healthcare provider first. Also, tell him or her about any recent changes in your health, like a cough, a fever, or any new medications. In some cases, your healthcare provider might want to postpone your surgery.

Learn as much about the surgery as you can. Make sure you have practical expectations about life after your procedure.