Adelaide Bariatric Centre

Keep up to date, join us on...

Facebook Twitter YouTubePInterest

How to Prepare for Bariatric Surgery

News | Adelaide Bariatric Centre

12 Jan 2018 11:57 AM

Prepare for Bariatric Surgery

Losing weight can be a real struggle for some people, and if after intense diets and exercises you still don’t manage to lose weight or if you have reached a dangerous point of obesity your doctor might recommend or refer you for bariatric surgery.

The word surgery itself is scary for a lot of people. Depictions of surgery in television and movies, don’t exactly do a lot to dispel many myths, while in reality bariatric surgery is very non-invasive and relatively extremely safe.

A lack of information is mostly what makes something seems scarier than it is. The scientist Marie Curie once famously said “nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood…”. The goal of this article is to let you know everything you should expect before bariatric surgery and alleviate some of those irrational fears.

Who is recommended for bariatric surgery?

Every case is different, as your doctor will explain. As a general guideline, bariatric surgery is recommended for patients who:

  • Have a BMI (Body Mass Index) higher than 40
  • Have a BMI higher than 35 and also suffers from other conditions that are aggravated by the obesity. Examples include sleep apnoea, diabetes type 2 and hypertension. These conditions are called “obesity-related comorbidities”.

This means that even if your BMI is not higher than 40 you might still be recommended for surgery if you have other conditions that may be resolved when you are no longer obese.

What happens before the surgery?

A number of things need to happen before a bariatric procedure.

First of all, your doctor will ask for tests to evaluate your condition and assess the probability of any complications. These tests are taken so the doctors can make decisions on the best approach to guarantee your safety and health. Some of the tests you can expect are:

  • Blood tests – this is a basic before every treatment or surgery. The blood test will look for things like cholesterol levels, blood cell count, levels of vitamins as well as indicators of liver or kidney diseases.
  • Imaging of gallbladder – the doctor will check to see if there are any abnormalities on your gallbladder. Gallbladder disease can occur after major weight losses, especially in people who have abnormalities. If there are any, your doctor may recommend another treatment option.
  • Liver function tests – if your liver demonstrates some type of alterations on its function, you may expect some imaging tests to observe if there are any issues with it. Most of the time the doctors will observe steatosis (accumulation of fat on the liver), but this will often go away after weight loss.

You can also expect some other straightforward tests such as assessments of your cardiovascular function.

You should also expect an interview with a psychiatric professional. This professional will assess your mental status to help your doctor decide whether now is the best time for surgery. The psychiatric doctor will also be able to provide some post-operation support as well.

What do I need to do to prepare for bariatric surgery?

If your doctor has recommended you for bariatric surgery he will give you some specific recommendations of things to do before the surgery actually happens. These recommendations are important to make the surgery as safe as possible, avoiding any type of complications.

It is sometimes advised that the patient loses some weight before the surgery. You might be asked to lose around 5% to 10% of your weight, which can increase the safety of the surgery.

If you smoke, it is advisable to stop 30 days before the surgery to ensure you’re in optimal health for the procedure. Quitting smoking is not the easiest task, so doctors will advise that at the very least patients try to decrease the number of cigarettes that they smoke prior to the surgery.

From 1 to 2 weeks before the surgery you will be asked to maintain a liquid diet. This means that you will be able to only eat things such as protein shakes, soups (as long as they don’t have any solids in them) and juices (fruit or vegetable). It is very important to follow this diet, because your surgery may need to be postponed if you don’t.

You may also need to fast immediately prior to the surgery. Your doctor will let you know exactly when and for how long.

A week before the surgery, your doctor might also to ask you to stop taking some medicines such as birth control pills, steroids, hormones or anti-coagulation medications. However, it’s important that you don’t stop these medications without the indication of your doctor.

Your doctor may have some slightly different advice or recommendations for you, depending on your specific needs and medical history. All the exact details and more will be explained to you by your doctors and nutritionists; and if they don’t explain something you shouldn’t hesitate in asking. Being well informed is important for both your safety and for you to feel more confident with the surgery and not worry too much.

For more information, contact the team at Adelaide Bariatric Centre.