A lot of our patients have done research on what happens after weight-loss surgery, including changes to their diet, increased physical activity, and the overall life changes that need to be made. But many potential clients are a little surprised by how much work takes place before a procedure. If this is something you’re considering, here’s how to prepare for bariatric surgery.

Preparing for bariatric surgery can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re unsure about which surgery is best for you or if you’re even a candidate for gastric sleeve, duodenal switch, or other weight-loss procedures. In reality, these kinds of decisions can’t be made until you’ve had an assessment by bariatric professionals.

The Best Way to Prepare for Bariatric Surgery

Although hundreds of thousands of successful bariatric surgeries are performed each year, we like to say no two procedures are ever the same. This is because no two patients are ever the same: we need to assess each client on a case-by-case basis. The first way we do this is by educating everyone that reaches out to us.

If you’re considering bariatric surgery, take the time to learn about the different types of procedures available. The lap band operation is the least invasive procedure and is reversible, but you won;t lose as much excess weight. A duodenal switch has the potential to lose the most amount of weight, but also involves major changes to the digestive system.

You need to understand the potential risks, benefits, and long-term outcomes associated with each procedure. Speak with your healthcare provider or reach out to WeightWise surgeons to get detailed information tailored to your specific health needs and concerns. The best way to do this is to attend an in person or online seminar.

WeightWise offers a free online seminar where you can learn more about the surgeries, the preoperative process, and what to expect post-surgery. Attending these sessions can provide valuable insights and give you the opportunity to come up with questions you can ask your surgeon during the assessment period.

Are You a Candidate?

Bariatric surgery isn’t something you should take lightly–you can’t just call up and schedule a gastric sleeve. You’ll first need to take an assessment or have consultations with a bariatric surgeon. We can assess your overall health, discuss your weight loss goals, and help you understand the lifestyle changes required before and after surgery.

This assessment covers both physical and mental factors to help determine if bariatric surgery is a good fit for a potential candidate. For starters, we’ll check your body mass index (BMI) to make sure you fall into the acceptable range. A BMI of 30-35 with health issues or 35 and higher with no issues is required for almost every patient.

An assessment will also go over your medical history to see if there is anything in your past that may interfere with a successful operation. This could be pre-existing health conditions that may impact the surgery or increase the risk of complications, including past surgeries, chronic diseases, medications, and allergies.

We’ll also want to look at your past efforts to lose the excess weight. Have you tried diets or physical activity routines to help you lose weight? How long did you stick with it, did you have any success, and was there any guidance? Honest answers help us determine if you’re in the right mental state to see the necessary life changes through.

Your mental health, emotional well-being, and readiness for the procedure will also play a part in the assessment. This helps identify any underlying psychological issues that may impact the individual’s ability to stick with a postoperative lifestyle changes or contribute to potential complications.

You’ll also want to have some kind of support system in place–this will help keep you on track during those difficult times. This could be friends and family, support groups, or someone you can lean on. WeightWise pairs every client with a patient advocate they can talk with, ask questions, or just to listen.

Closeup of a scale as someone steps onto it to help illustrate how to prepare for bariatric surgery.Preparing for Weight Loss Surgery

Even if you are a viable candidate, there may still be work to do. Before bariatric surgery, many programs ask patients to follow a special diet. This helps lower the risk of problems during surgery–losing a certain amount of weight before the surgery gives the surgeons a little more room to work.

You’ll be focusing on eating foods that are low in calories but high in protein. Think lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, and plenty of non-starchy vegetables. You’ll want to steer clear of sugary snacks, fatty foods, and fizzy drinks. You may be limited to an all-liquid diet in the days leading up to the surgery.

This pre-op diet actually serves two purposes. In addition to losing weight, it also prepares you and your body for the life changes ahead. As you take in fewer calories, your body will start adapting and start making hormonal changes that will help you feel fuller faster and dull hunger pangs.

A WeightWise dietitian will guide you through your dietary choices both before and after the surgery. They’re here to help you make smart decisions about what you eat, build healthy eating habits, figure out portion sizes, and figure out the ins and outs of your pre-op and post-op journey.

Your WeightWise Team will help Prepare You For Bariatric Surgery

Your WeightWise team–surgeon, dietitian, exercise physiologist, and patient advocate–will provide you with specific preoperative guidelines to follow in the weeks/months leading up to surgery. This may include dietary changes, exercise routine recommendations, smoking/alcohol cessation, and discontinuation of certain medications.

Following these guidelines is essential to optimize your health and reduce the risk of complications during surgery. In some cases, it could be up to a year before you actually enter the operating room. But we feel like the wait is worth it: we’re setting you up for the best possible outcome.

Bariatric surgery, along with a proper diet and exercise, is the best way to lose a lot of excess weight–it’s a scientific fact! But it’s also a major decision, and it’s normal to feel apprehensive or have questions. Take the time to gather as much information as possible, ask questions, and discuss your concerns with your healthcare team before making a decision that is right for you.

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