Before weight loss surgery
Weight loss surgery is a significant surgical procedure that has extremely positive outcomes but also comes with side effects and health risks of any major procedure. Before going into the process, it’s important to fully understand the health risks and benefits associated with the surgery as well as the lifestyle changes expected following the surgery.
If you are interested in bariatric surgery, your healthcare team will evaluate whether weight loss surgery is right for you and which type of weight loss procedure is appropriate for your situation. When conducting an evaluation, your team will examine your weight history, your nutrition, any medical conditions you have, your psychological status, how motivated you are to make significant changes following the procedure and your age. If you are deemed an appropriate candidate for bariatric surgery, your healthcare team will provide you with instructions about how to prepare for the surgery.
Preparation for weight loss surgery can require significant lifestyle changes, including quitting smoking, restrictions on eating and drinking, increasing exercise or seeing a lifestyle counselor. Registered dieticians and physical therapists will work with you to develop individual meal plans and fitness goals for the pre-surgery and post-surgery periods.
During weight loss surgery
On the day of your weight loss surgery, your healthcare team will walk you through the process and answer any final questions you have about the procedure. During the surgery, you will be under a general anesthetic. The details of the procedure depend on what type of weight loss surgery you and your healthcare team have decided on. They typically consist either of restricting how much food your stomach can hold, preventing your digestive system from absorbing as many nutrients, or a combination of the two. Following the surgery, patients typically spend one to two nights in the hospital.
After weight loss surgery
Following weight loss surgery, patients typically take about two weeks to recover before they can return to work. The first two weeks following surgery require sticking to a clear liquid diet, followed by gradually reintroducing foods to your digestive system. Dieticians develop individualized meal plans ahead of time and the process is done under direct supervision of your bariatric surgeon. Your esophagus and stomach typically adjust to consuming regular food again after one to three months.
Patients are required to have follow-up appointments regularly to make sure they lose weight consistently and healthily. If you went through a band weight loss surgery, you’ll typically have band adjustments every two months during the first year, then twice a year, then annually. Other patients typically visit every three months, then twice a year, then annually. Throughout the first year, patients typically see significant weight loss, usually ranging from 30 to 40 percent of their excess body weight within the first six months alone. After a year, you’ll likely be close to or at your goal weight.