Preparing for any weight loss surgery starts with making a lifelong commitment to the dietary and lifestyle changes necessary for success. Weight loss surgery is not a quick fix, and it is not a decision to enter into lightly.
Once you have made the decision together with your surgeon and your family members, the preoperative evaluations begin. They include:
- Meeting with a registered dietician to discuss how your diet needs to change before and after surgery.
- A comprehensive evaluation by a mental health professional.
- An upper endoscopy exam may be performed to make sure no polyps, tumors, ulcers or bacteria that cause ulcers are in the stomach prior to surgery.
- Additional pre-operative evaluations may be necessary for the heart and lungs.
- Tell your surgeon about any medications you are taking or plan to take throughout recovery. Vitamins, minerals and herbs also interact with medications, so don’t leave anything out.
Some lifestyle changes that need to start before surgery include:
- Quitting smoking for at least six to eight weeks before and after weight loss surgery. Smoking can increase the risk of complications, including potentially fatal blood clots. Smoking also increases the risk of pneumonia and other lung problems after surgery.
- Not drinking alcohol for at least 48 hours before weight loss surgery.
- Losing 5 to 10 percent of excess body weight. People who lose a moderate amount of weight before surgery have a shorter hospital stay and more rapid postoperative weight loss.