Bariatric surgery, along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, is the best way for the obese or morbidly obese to lose huge amounts of weight and keep it off long-term. But it’s a major life decision: before and after the surgery, you will need to make some pretty big lifestyle changes. It’s important to understand what you’re getting yourself into, so here is a checklist for bariatric surgery you’ll want to consider.

The first thing you should realize is the surgery won’t take place overnight. By that, we mean that after that first consultation, you will need to take an assessment to see if you even qualify for surgery. Then there’s the time it takes to prepare for the surgery, setting up a time for the procedure that works for all parties, and the final pre-operative steps.

For some, this could take a handful of months. For others, the surgery could take place a year later. So the first thing you should do is prepare yourself for the journey ahead–it could take some time before the procedure takes place. This is for your safety and to ensure the best possible outcome.

The first step is realizing you need help managing your weight through surgery, usually after years of trying other methods to get rid of the unwanted weight. As we said, this is no small decision, and getting the courage to call, take an assessment, or schedule that first appointment can be scary. But every great journey begins with that first step.

Checklist for Bariatric Surgery

Many of our patients tell us the surgery was the easy part–preparing for the procedure and the life-long changes that need to be made afterward was where the real work took place. So here’s a checklist for bariatric surgery to give you an idea of what it takes.

  • Consultation
  • Choosing the Right Procedure
  • Financial Considerations
  • Pre-Op Changes
  • Support Systems
  • Hospital Preparations
  • Surgery
  • Post-Op Schedule


A doctor writing on a clipboard while talking to a patient to illustrate checklist for bariatric surgeryFirst things first: We need to figure out if you’re a viable candidate for bariatric surgery. This will include a consultation with a bariatric surgeon to discuss your options. The assessment will include a physical examination, medical history, lab tests, and discussions about your previous attempts to lose the unwanted weight.

Beyond the physical, we’ll also want to talk about any psychological roadblocks that prevented you from losing weight earlier or contributed to weight gain in the first place. We’ll also want to know if you’ll be able to stay the course: gastric sleeve, duodenal switch, gastric bypass, and other procedures aren’t something you just try on for size.

These are permanent changes to your body. If you are unable to follow dietary and physical guidelines, we will not be able to move forward. It’s very important you’re in the right mental state for the surgery and really ready to make a change. Otherwise, you could be setting yourself up for failure.

Choosing the Right Procedure

While there are certain similarities, no two patients are ever alike and there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to bariatric surgery. Our surgeons will work with you to determine the best procedure for you, and while laparoscopic surgery is relatively non-invasive, some procedures are more involved than others.

Financial Consideration

Obesity is a disease that leads to countless health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and even some cancers. Not to mention how it affects your quality of life. So when it comes to surgery that can add years to your life, money shouldn’t be the only consideration. But we understand that it does play a significant role for many people.

Luckily, many insurance companies are coming around to the fact that obesity is a real health concern and taking steps to cover many of the procedures. We will need to verify your insurance coverage and determine any out-of-pocket expenses and payment plans. Not only for the surgery, but pre- and post-op supplements, vitamins, and other medicines.

Pre-Op Changes

In many cases, some weight loss will be required before weight-loss surgery can be performed. There are a few reasons for this, but losing a few pounds before the procedure minimizes risk and gives the surgeons a better field of surgery. Follow the pre-op diet, discuss which medications you should discontinue or adjust, and begin taking recommended supplements, such as vitamins and minerals.

Support Systems are a Important Part Item on the Checklist for Bariatric Surgery

When we say the surgery itself may be the easiest part of the decision, informing friends and family about your surgery plans may be one of the hardest aspects of a procedure. It is important to seek the support of those who want you to be healthy and avoid those who think you’re taking the “easy way out.”

Ask anyone who has had bariatric surgery and they will tell you there’s nothing “easy” about it. Join support groups or counseling if available. WeightWise gives every patient an advocate to be a shoulder to cry on, be someone to high-five, and be a font of information throughout the process.

Hospital Preparations

Along with pre-surgery tests and following your surgeon’s instructions for eating and medication in the days leading up to the surgery, you’ll need to secure transportation to and from the medical center. While the surgery has a very high success rate, you may need to stay overnight for observation. Pack a bag with essentials for your hospital stay, including comfortable clothing and personal items.

Surgeons performing bariatric surgerySurgery

The day of the surgery is here! It’s all led to this, and after a few hours, you’ll be done. Depending on the time of day you had the surgery, you will be able to slowly get up and walk around, but take it easy. In a few days, you’ll be able to move around at a somewhat normal pace.

After such a long trip, your body is now equipped to lose the unwanted weight you’ve been trying to get rid of for years. Hormonal changes will make you feel fuller faster and you won’t feel the need to eat as often as you once did. You will begin to lose a lot of weight at the start, and then steadily lose weight over the next 18 months.

Post-Op Schedule

It’s been a few days, you’re at home, and you start to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. But the work isn’t done just yet. You need to stick to an all-liquid diet for the first two weeks and eventually move on to soft and then solid foods in the weeks and months after that. Stick to the postoperative diet, continue taking prescribed vitamins and supplements, and gradually resume physical activity.

Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your surgeon and healthcare team and engage in ongoing counseling or support groups as recommended. One of the most important things you can do is stay hydrated: you should be drinking at least 96 ounces of water a day, sipping instead of gulping.

Remember that bariatric surgery is a life-altering procedure, and your commitment to pre- and post-operative guidelines is crucial for your success and overall well-being. Always consult your healthcare team for personalized advice and guidance.

Checklist for Bariatric Surgery: Work With Experience

WeightWise has been helping patients throughout Oklahoma and beyond start their newer, healthier lives. And we’re ready to do the same for you. After reading through the bariatric surgery checklist, take our online assessment, watch our free online seminar, and then schedule that initial consultation.

It can take a long time before the surgery is actually performed. But once you’ve healed, you’ll have the rest of your life to feel healthier and be able to live the life you want to live. We look forward to hearing from you.

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