How do I prepare my body for bariatric surgery?
There are several lifestyle changes you should make to prepare for weight loss surgery. To achieve and maintain your weight loss goals, you should start to develop and maintain an exercise routine. It is also recommended that you reduce your intake of sugars, sweet beverages, and highly processed food. You will also be advised to exercise, including both cardiovascular exercises like walking, swimming, or biking, and resistance exercises like resistance band training or weight lifting. Finally, if you smoke, you must quit before surgery as smoking dramatically increases pulmonary complications around the time of surgery and can cause ulcers after surgery.
How long does it take to prepare for bariatric surgery?
Approximately four weeks before surgery, your preparation will begin. If you smoke or use tobacco products of any kind, you must stop four weeks before your weight loss surgery. One week before your surgery, you will be put on a high-protein, low-calorie pre-op diet. The diet lowers the amount of fat in and around your liver, making surgery safer. For one week prior to surgery, you should not use aspirin or NSAIDs (such as Aleve, Advil, or Motrin). At your pre-operative visit, you will be instructed about when to take or stop taking important medications in the lead-up to surgery. The day before your surgery, you will begin a clear liquid diet.
What do you have to do before gastric sleeve surgery?
To maximize weight loss from gastric sleeve surgery, it can be helpful to make healthy changes to your diet pre-operatively. You will reduce your intake of sugar, artificial sweeteners, carbohydrates, and processed foods. Carbohydrate foods account for a significant portion of calories in typical American diets, so it is important to focus on increasing your protein and healthy fat intake. Patients undergoing Gastric Sleeve Surgery should consume 60 grams or more of protein each day prior to surgery. We recommend concentrating on healthy fats that are good for you and not being deceived that all fats are unhealthy. It is also very important to stay hydrated while following the Gastric Sleeve pre-op diet.
Do I have to lose weight before bariatric surgery?
At Bay Bariatrics, we understand that if you could easily lose and keep off weight without surgery, you would have done so already. We do not usually require patients to lose weight before surgery. Sometimes your insurance company will require 5-10% total body weight loss. We can prescribe medications or diets to help you achieve this modest weight loss to qualify for the lasting 20-40% total body weight loss that surgery offers. For some patients, their weight exceeds the capacity of some of the equipment we use for surgery, and for these patients, we will create an individual plan to help them lose weight so surgery can be performed safely. Most patients who reduce carbohydrates, sugars, and processed food before surgery lose a little weight going into surgery. This can make surgery safer and recovery faster.
It’s critical to adhere to your surgeon’s pre-surgery dietary and nutritional recommendations. A pre-surgical diet can help your body prepare for surgery and improve the results. It also aids in the adjustment to the food and eating changes required following weight-loss surgery—and for the rest of your life.
What can disqualify you from bariatric surgery?
Certain persons are not candidates for obesity surgery for a number of reasons. Your health comes first when determining suitability, and your surgeon will weigh the risks of excessive weight gain against the surgery. You will not be considered if the surgery is likely to jeopardize your health or if the long-term health risks outweigh the benefits.
A list of contraindications to surgery exists, which may indicate that you are not a good candidate for surgery. If you have any of the following symptoms, it does not mean you are ineligible for surgery; rather, it means you are in a higher risk category than others.
The following are some of them:
- Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol.
- If you are under the age of 14 or over the age of 75.
- Heart disease or significant lung issues in the past. These might make you more vulnerable to complications during anesthesia.
- Chronic pancreatitis (or have a history of this).
- Cirrhosis of the liver.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus or other autoimmune illness.
- A blood disorder that puts you at risk for severe bleeding.
- Untreated or unstable severe psychiatric illness in the past.
There are four items on this list, however, that if they apply to you, indicate that you are not a candidate for obesity surgery. They are as follows:
- Being treated for cancer (e.g., chemotherapy).
- Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
What is the purpose of the pre-op liquid diet?
Many individuals will have extra fat around and/or in their liver prior to surgery. The surgeon must move the liver in order to effectively reach the stomach and perform the bariatric procedure. The higher the fat content of the liver, the larger and more likely to crack and bleed the liver will be. The first place patients lose weight is from the liver, so a 1-week, low-calorie, liquid diet can shrink the liver and improve its consistency making less likely to crack and bleed when moved for surgery.
What should I expect with the liquid-only diet?
Some patients may experience symptoms when they restrict their total daily calories and carbohydrates to a low level.
The following are some of the symptoms you might expect to encounter:
- Nausea, diarrhea, constipation
- Mood Swings
The above symptoms are completely normal and should go away in 3 to 4 days once your body adjusts to the lower calorie and carbohydrate intake. The intensity of these symptoms can be reduced by drinking plenty of water and drinking things like bone broth that contain electrolytes and protein.
How do I survive a liquid diet before bariatric surgery?
Tips for a Successful Bariatric Pre-Op Liquid Diet
There’s no denying that the bariatric pre-op liquid diet is difficult! As a result, we strongly advise our patients mentally and physically prepare themselves for the upcoming challenge.
- Make a game plan for success.
Leading up to the days you will be participating in the liquid diet, we recommend you go to the grocery store to stock up on all the items you will need throughout the two weeks. Waiting until the last minute to buy the protein shakes, gelatin, and broths can result in failure to stick to the plan. You want to ensure that you start on the right foot and are prepared not only mentally but also physically.
- Establish a system of support and accountability.
We recommend that bariatric patients find a support system, which could include friends, family, or a group of current or former patients at their bariatric clinic. You’re not only holding yourself accountable when you request help. You’re also holding others accountable. We have seen it first hand; patients who decide to do it all on their own (pre and post-op meal plans) are not as successful with their weight loss as those who find support.
- Keep in mind that it’s only temporary.
The one-week liquid diet might be difficult to stick to. Mentally preparing oneself for the challenge is crucial. Remind yourself that this is just temporary and that it is all part of a larger plan! Soon you will be eating solid food again and be well on your way to developing new eating habits and achieving significant weight loss.
- Ignore the scale’s numbers.
Despite the fact that the bariatric pre-op liquid diet is designed to help you lose weight quickly before surgery, don’t get too caught up in the number on the scale. If you’re not losing weight as quickly as you’d like, you might be tempted to cheat because “what difference does it make anyway?”
We understand that the pre-op liquid diet can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never followed a strict diet before. However, you must be 100% committed to the pre-op liquid diet, or your surgeon may be forced to cancel or reschedule your surgery. The pre-op liquid diet is an important step before weight loss surgery, and it is required of all patients—so you are not alone!
How long does it take to get approved for gastric bypass surgery?
Depending on precertification approval, the waiting period is usually two to six months. Your surgeon will determine whether health-related factors may cause your surgery to be postponed during your initial consultation.