Preparing For Surgery
Weight loss surgery is like other major surgeries. The best preparation is to understand the risks and potential benefits and to closely follow your doctor’s instructions.
To mentally prepare yourself:
- Understand the surgical process and what to expect afterwards.
- Talk to people who have already had weight loss surgery. Attend support groups. Surround yourself with people who share your situation. Ask questions and receive answers in a supportive environment. Form a network to share recipes and exercise tips. It’s important for you to know that you are not alone. There are knowledgeable, friendly people who are available to support and help you.
- Write a letter to yourself and your surgeon explaining your reasons for having bariatric surgery and outlining your plans to maintain your weight loss after surgery.
- Start a journal about your experience. Record how you feel now, the obstacles you encounter, the things you hope to be able to do after surgery.
- Take a personal inventory of how you use food. Is it just for physical nourishment? Emotional? Entertainment? Boredom? Are you “addicted” to certain foods? Separate from the standard psychological evaluation; consider seeking consultation with a therapist to address your relationship with food. This may help ease the transition from the way you are eating before surgery, to growing stronger in healthy eating habits for long term success after surgery. We have the names and numbers for recommended therapists available upon request.
- Help your friends and family members understand why you’ve chosen a surgical solution to weight loss. Feel free to direct them to this website to explain in detail the benefits of weight loss surgery. It is important that they understand that morbid obesity is a disease and that diets don’t work for you.
- People who are morbidly obese often report that their spouses, or other family and friends seem to discourage their weight loss. It is said that these people see your weight as part of your identity. Please, understand that this is only a fear of change. Discuss your reasons for having surgery with your spouse, family and friends. Let them know your health is at stake and you will be counting on them to support you during and after surgery. We suggest getting a letter of support from your family. It helps to know you have people behind you, waiting to help.
To physically prepare yourself, strictly follow your doctor’s guidelines. These usually include, but are not limited to:
- Restrict yourself to a clear liquid diet 12-24 hours before surgery.
- Restrict yourself to a full liquid diet for 14-21 days before surgery.
- Stop smoking or chewing tobacco for at least 3-6 months before surgery.
- Be certain to follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding any medications you may be taking to control other health conditions.
- Begin taking two showers a day a few days before you enter the hospital. Use antibacterial soap and wash very well from your breasts to below your waist. Make sure to clean between any folds of skin.
- Do not have weight loss surgery while you have any other acute medical problem. If you are getting a cold, have a sore throat, ear infection, kidney or bladder infection, open wound or sore or unexpected dental work, call your doctor as it may be safer to reschedule your schedule your weight loss surgery.
- As part of your pre-operative clearance for surgery, you will be required to have at least a psychological and pulmonary/critical care clearance, and a nutritional evaluation. This is another way in which we work towards the safest possible operative experience and the best outcome for you. Currently, most insurance companies are requiring a 3or 6 month, documented, medically managed weight loss program to be completed prior to approval. You will also be required to complete the computer program (EMMI)
- In the ideal situation these elements of your work-up would be completed prior to your consultation. If they haven’t been completed then we will order them when you come in for your consultation. Either way is accepted but, this may delay your approval because many insurers are asking for the “complete work-up including the psychological clearance and any other pre-operative evaluations that have been completed.” Many insurance companies will not review our request for pre-authorization until this is completed.
- Take the request for bariatric surgery to your primary physician and ask for a referral to one of the practices noted below. If no referral is needed, then you can arrange this on your own.
On the Night Before Your Weight Loss Surgery:
- Follow your surgeon’s directions regarding avoidance of eating and drinking before surgery.
- Have all necessary personal items packed.
- Leave any valuables, including jewelry, credit cards and cash, at home.
- If you wear glasses or contact lenses, make sure they can be safely stored during surgery.
- Bring comfortable clothes to wear after the procedure.
- Have your insurance card on hand as well as any documents such as medical power of attorney, advance directive or living will.
- Bring all informational documents that your surgeon and nutritionist have given you.
- Please arrive on time to the hospital on the day of your procedure.
For additional questions regarding weight loss surgery at Lovelace Bariatrics call us at 505-727-2300 or register for a bariatric surgery seminar today!