Preparing for Weight Loss Surgery

The date is set. Now you need to know what to expect on the day of surgery and while you are in the hospital. 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.

Prepare Yourself for Bariatric Surgery

Here are some steps you can take to get yourself in the right frame of mind before surgery:

Mentally Prepare Yourself

  • Understand the surgical process and what to expect afterwards.
  • Talk to people who have had weight loss surgery.
  • Write a letter to yourself and your surgeon explaining your reasons for having the 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.
  • Get a letter of support from your family. It helps to know you have people behind you, waiting to help.

Physically Prepare Yourself

To physically prepare yourself, strictly follow your doctor's guidelines. These usually include, but are not limited to:

  • Restricting yourself to a clear liquid diet 12-24 hours before surgery.
  • Stop smoking for at least a month before surgery. This is an important step that will make the surgery safer and more likely to succeed.
  • Be certain to follow your surgeon's instructions regarding any medications you may be taking to control other health conditions.
  • Arrive on time, with supplies from home for a three- to four-day hospital stay. (Some bariatric surgical procedures are done on an out-patient basis.) If you use special equipment for sleep apnea, you should bring your machine to the hospital.

Prepare for Staying at the Hospital

Depending on which procedure is performed, one or two small tubes may be placed around the stomach pouch and the bypassed stomach to drain body fluids after the surgery. These are usually removed in three to ten days. To help prevent blood clots, anti-embolism stockings or other compression devices will be placed on your legs, and your surgeon will require you to attempt to stand up and move around as soon as possible, usually within the first 24 hours.

Depending on your medical condition, there is the possibility that you will need to spend time in the intensive care unit so that your heart and lungs can be closely monitored.

Going Home

Most patients stay in the hospital approximately five to eight days after an open procedure and two to five days after a laparoscopic procedure. You will be discharged when you are able to:

  • Take enough liquids and nutrients by mouth to prevent dehydration
  • Have no fever
  • Have adequate pain control with medication

For More Information

If you think you may be a candidate for weight loss surgery, talk to your primary care physician about Danbury Hospital, call 1-800-516-3657 for more information, or attend a free event and learn more about how to losing weight through bariatric surgery and if it's right for you.