Preparing for Weight Loss Surgery

As you get ready for weight loss surgery, it is important to mentally prepare for it in much the same way as you would any other surgery. You need to review the risks and benefits associated with the procedure and familiarise yourself with the at-home care instructions for when you are discharged. To get ready, consider the following.

  1. Know what will happen in surgery and what your recovery is expected to be like.
  2. Talk with others, either in person or online, who have had weight loss surgery before and talk to them about their experience. Your surgeon may help you get in touch with past-patients that are willing to share their journey.
  3. Put your goals in writing. Talk about what you hope to gain from weight loss surgery and how you are going to keep the weight off when it is finished.
  4. Buy a notebook and chronicle your journey. Talk about your feelings at this moment, when you are still overweight. Discuss your fears and what you are looking forward to. Continue this process after the surgery is over.
  5. Ask your family members and close friends to write you messages of support. These will be helpful to you as you stick to an exercise and diet plan going forward.

In addition, there are a few things that your doctor will most likely request of you. Instructions may involve the following.

  1. Making sure to follow the surgeon’s specific pre-surgery diet.
  2. Take any medications that may be prescribed.
  3. Pack for the length of your hospital stay (usually 5-8 days) and make sure to get to the hospital 15-30 minutes ahead of time.
  4. Bring any paperwork that you have been asked to fill out, as well as any documentation that you have from your doctor.

Your Hospital Visit

Patients generally spend anywhere from five to eight days in the hospital if they have an open surgery. If the procedure is laparoscopic, it will only be between two and five days. You can leave the hospital once you no longer have a fever, can eat and drink, and are not suffering with pain.

If you have gastric bypass surgery, it is not unusual for a few tubes to be put near the stomach pouch so that body fluids can exit the body. These tubes come out within ten days. One of the risks of this type of surgery are blood clots; you may have compression stockings or some other measure taken to ensure this doesn’t happen. In addition, your doctor will try to get you up and moving as soon as possible, usually within a day of completing surgery.

Some patients do have to go to the ICU for monitoring following the surgery. In addition, if you use a machine for sleep apnea, you may be asked to bring that with you.