Pre Surgery Preparation

Contributed by Dato' Dr Tikfu Gee

Congratulations.  You made the cut and now you’re preparing for something which will change your life in a very dramatic way: bariatric surgery.

If your doctor has you scheduled for a weight loss procedure in the near future, then you’ve already accomplished a lot.  Even qualifying for the surgery requires a significant amount of exploration, research, heavy thought processes, big decisions, and well…hard work.


You’ve Come a Long Way Already!

So now that you’re a candidate for bariatric surgery and you’ve chosen the type that’s right for you, you’re probably about to begin the preparation phase of this.  It may be hard to believe, but you’ve already come such a long way! Following is what you might expect during this preparation phase, as you prepare your body for one of the most dramatic transformations you might ever experience in your entire life.


What You’ll Learn Here

You’ll learn how to gauge your expectations, among other things.  You see, there’s a physical component to surgery prep, but there’s also a psychological preparation, which most patients don’t realise exists until they begin the actual surgery preparation phase of the weight loss journey.

Here’s what else you’ll learn about here:

  • losing weight before your surgery
  • changing your diet before your surgery
  • improving overall health before surgery
  • what to ask your doctor, and what to ask for


3 Reasons Why Pre-Surgery Preparation is So Important

But before we get to preparing you for surgery, it’s important that you understand why this phase is so crucial to the success of your future operation and recovery, plus long term chance of success.

Here are the three main reasons why it’s so important that you nail the pre-surgery phase, beginning with the most important, your heath…


Reason #1. You need to prove commitment to the lifestyle changes necessary after surgery

By dieting, beginning an approved, medically-supervised exercise regimen, and generally improving your lifestyle habits, you are showing your doctor that you are a good candidate for bariatric surgery.

If you can’t lose weight on your own prior to surgery by sticking to a plan, there’s not much hope for your long-term success.


Reason #2.  You need to get in shape for surgery

That’s right: surgery requires that you be in the best possible physical condition you can possibly manage.  The better you are at getting in shape, the less chance you’ll have problems during surgery, during recovery, and long after the operation is completed.

It’s about your body responding to the trauma that surgery represents.  Taking daily walks, even if it means you’re struggling to make your way from the kitchen to the living room, will get your body in better shape for a better recovery period.

Stopping smoking at least 2 weeks before – part of goal towards a better health.


Preparing for Bariatric Surgery

Now that you know how you’re going to be spending your pre-surgery weeks, let’s see what’s in store for you in more detail.  Here are the ways you’ll probably be instructed by your doctor to get ready for the Big Day.


#1.  Start your diet

Some doctors will simply instruct you not to gain weight.  However, most will require you lose a set amount of weight. It’s now more important than ever to show that you can stick to  a healthy living plan.  Plus, as we mentioned earlier, you need to be in tip top shape for surgery.

Most doctors will put you on a shake diet, refer you to a dietitian and give you an appropriate exercise plan.  Some will put you on a liquid diet for the two weeks leading up to your operation.  Another option is a low carb diet, with all liquid for up to 24 hours leading up to surgery.

You’ll most likely be instructed to limit or eliminate the following from your diet:

  • heavy carbs like potatoes, rice, bread, and pasta
  • sugary foods and drinks
  • fried foods and fast food
  • carbonated beverages
  • junk food like chips, etc

And include more of the following into your diet:

  • vegetables
  • fruit
  • dairy products
  • lean protein

Also, there are tips from dieticians that you’ll want to start practicing:

  • chew your food completely
  • eat slowly
  • cut your food into small pieces
  • eat consciously: no distractions, sit down at the table, focus on eating slowly and deliberately, not absent-mindedly
  • drink lots of water each day
  • no snacking
  • plan your meals carefully to ensure proper nutrition


#2.  Start Exercising

Get a minimum of 10 minutes per day, as much s you can handle according to your health and your doctor’s recommendations.


#3.  Info Exchange With the Doctors

Your doctor should know all the medications you’re taking, but make sure that gets communicated to your surgeon.  Here are some important ones to mention:

  • birth control
  • blood thinners like aspirin, Plavix
  • anti-coagulants like Coumadin (warfarin)

Mention any herbal, traditional and vitamin supplements you’re taking, too.  Even over-the-counter drugs should be mentioned.


#4.  Finally, Gauge Your Expectations

Realise that bariatric surgery isn’t a miracle cure.  Patients lose a lot of weight, but losing the last few kilos and maintaining the lost weight require effort and long term commitment.  The surgery won’t do all the work for you.  Realise what you’re in for and you’ll have a better chance at success.


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