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Weight Loss Surgery: Prepare for Your Surgery

Woman’s comprehensive bariatric program consists of your surgeon, program coordinator registered nurse, dietician, exercise physiologist, social worker and support group. Each expert is dedicated to providing support for bariatric patients both before and after surgery.

Bariatric surgery is like other surgery; you can best prepare by knowing the benefits and risks of surgery, and by closely following your doctor's instructions.

  • Understand the surgical process and what to expect afterward
  • Realize you will never be able to eat the way you did before and you will have to watch what and how you eat for the rest of your life
  • Talk with others or members of support groups that have had bariatric surgery
  • Write down your reasons for having bariatric surgery and outline your plans to maintain your weight loss after surgery
  • Practice the post-op diet, including the transition from an all-liquid diet, to pureed food, to a normal diet of smaller portions with 4 ounces of protein
  • Start a journal. Record how you feel now, the challenges you face, and the things you hope to be able to do after bariatric surgery
  • Ask your family and friends for their support, talk to them about why you want to have bariatric surgery; it helps to have people behind you, waiting to help
  • Type 2 diabetes is a long-term metabolic disorder where the body produces insulin, but resists it
  • Excess body weight is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, elevated cholesterol, and high blood pressure
  • These conditions can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and heart and kidney damage
  • Bariatric surgery reduces excess body weight over time, which decreases strain on the heart
  • High cholesterol is a disorder of lipids, the fat-like substances in the blood that can build up inside the artery walls, thickening and hardening the walls. Long-term, this can lead to heart disease and high blood pressure
  • Obstructive sleep apnea is when breathing suddenly stops because soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. Morbid obesity can cause sleep apnea and other respiratory problems that may result in chronic fatigue
  • Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, is injury to the esophagus caused by chronic exposure to stomach acid and can cause esophagitis, Barrett’s esophagus, and esophageal cancer (adenocarcinoma)
  • Morbid obesity may put you at a higher risk for several types of cancer, such as colon, breast, and kidney cancer
  • Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. Emotional health goes hand in hand with physical health. Weight loss, combined with counseling, can be very helpful in improving mental health
  • Osteoarthritis, the wear-and-tear arthritis, is a chronic condition in which there is a breakdown of joint cartilage. Excess body weight placed on joints, like knees and hips, results in rapid wear and tear, and pain caused by inflammation
  • Stress urinary incontinence is uncontrollable urine loss with coughing, sneezing and laughing. Bariatric surgery has been found to improve stress urinary incontinence; less weight is placed on the bladder, and other physical changes take place to improve this condition.
  • Infertility (the inability or reduced ability to produce children) and menstrual irregularities may occur due to morbid obesity. Fertility issues include possible miscarriage, reduced success with fertility treatments, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Additionally, women living with morbid obesity are more likely to have children with certain birth defects

Fear of Surgery

The fear of surgery is not irrational or abnormal; in fact, it’s very common. Bariatric surgery creates a smaller stomach pouch and, depending on the procedure, may shorten the digestive tract, all while the patient is under general anesthesia. If you have concerns, consider the following:

  • Share your concerns and fears with your surgeon.
  • Attend a support group and speak with patients who likely share the same fears.
  • Understand the complication rates and mortality rates of surgery.
  • Listen to bariatric surgery patients share their own fears and concerns.
  • Remember, you’ll have a team of healthcare professionals dedicated to your best possible care.