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5 Tips to Help You Prepare for Bariatric Surgery

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5 Tips to Help You Prepare for Bariatric Surgery

Weight-loss surgery requires preparation far in advance and care long after the procedure. Bariatric surgery is the procedure performed on a patient’s stomach or intestines to induce weight loss. It is the collective term for weight-loss surgeries — sleeve gastrectomy, adjustable gastric banding, lap banding, and gastric bypass. These surgeries reduce the amount of food you can eat by making your stomach smaller.  

Many people seek bariatric surgery for obesity and related health conditions, while others seek it for cosmetic reasons. Whatever your reasons, here are five tips to help you prepare for bariatric surgery. Keep in mind that you may want to start preparing for your surgery six weeks ahead of time. 

1. Do your research 

Preparing for bariatric surgery requires time. Your health care provider will be the one to recommend which surgery is best for you. Do your research to understand how each one works, the result, and which one is best for your needs. Do not be afraid to get a second opinion. Many find comfort in consulting various doctors, seminars, or books when making such a major surgical decision. 

Know that to be eligible for weight-loss surgery, you must qualify. Body mass index or BMI for bariatric surgery is recommended to be at 40 or higher, or between the 35 and 40 range, with an obesity-related condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease. 

Next, it will be important to understand the risks and side effects. Of course, all medical procedures involve some risks, which vary based on your health, age, genetics, weight, and more. But surgery is recommended when the benefits outweigh the risks. Knowing these risks beforehand will help you make the best choice for you.  

Bariatric surgery can have the following various risks: 

  • Infection 

  • Intestinal blockage 

  • Need for follow-up surgeries 

  • Nutritional deficiencies 

  • Internal bleeding 

  • Acid reflux 

Again, research is crucial. Knowing these risks can help you prepare for what may come.  

2. Alter your diet and daily caloric intake 

Aside from your health care provider, it would help if you also met with your dietitian or nutritionist. Discuss your goals and plan for your post-surgery diet. After all, it will change. Pre-diet for bariatric surgery requires lowering your daily caloric intake before your operation. This will help your body and brain understand your food and drink intake pre-surgery and post-surgery. 

It is also recommended that you avoid caffeine about one month before your surgery. 

You also may have to be on a liquid diet for a few weeks after surgery. Thus, it is crucial you prepare yourself—and your fridge—for this. Broths such as vegetables, chicken, or beef are a good choice, as are low-calorie protein shakes or yogurts. And with diet also comes exercise. 

3. Start and maintain a workout routine 

Exercise is key. Start and maintain a workout routine — twice a week or every day — before your surgery. Routine is necessary when it comes to developing a habit. Start before your surgery so your body is used to it, and be sure to maintain the routine post-surgery. 

4. Pack smartly 

Bariatric surgery must-haves include your usual hospital essentials: chapstick (dry mouth is common because you can’t eat or drink when you have surgery), socks, cozy clothes, chargers, headphones, any medical devices you use such as a CPAP machine, your ID card, insurance card, and so on. 

5. Set up aftercare 

Finally, make sure your logistics are in order. Be sure to set up your follow-up appointments on time. Have a family member or friend take care of you those first few days. 

Research and preparation are crucial to bariatric surgery. Choose a provider like the ones at Flagler Health, that you trust.