The Times Australia

The Times

Essential pre-surgery checklist: prepare for weight loss success!

Handling weight issues can be serious for most people before they decide to go for medical weight loss surgery. However, it doesn't always have to be a medical issue before people decide to go for weight loss surgery. Most people who underwent weight loss surgery could change their lifestyle by changing what they eat, drink and stay active, leading to a healthier lifestyle. 

Though such a significant lifestyle change might seem too much to handle initially, but surely there are long-term benefits of weight loss surgery.

How should you get ready for weight loss surgery?

Preparing for any type of weight-loss surgery involves three main parts:

  1. Before Surgery
  2. During Surgery
  3. After Surgery

Point no. 2, i.e. during surgery, is the doctor’s job, so you only need to focus on points 1 and 3. However, it’s important to have expert doctors for the surgery because success depends on expert surgery no matter how well you prepare and take care of afterwards.

Preparation 3 to 6 months before surgery

Before you start this journey of weight loss surgery, you need a team to ensure that you are:

  • Medically fit enough
  • Ready to undergo the surgery

For this, we suggest:

  • Discuss about any tests or instructions you need to follow before the surgery with your surgeon.
  • Collect relevant information relating to weight-loss surgery and what to expect before, during and after the procedure, preferably from a medical expert.
  • Get an idea about the costs involved in the surgery.
  • Schedule necessary pre-surgery tests and check-ups with your surgeon (as directed) to ensure success with the surgery.
  • Start your doctor-supervised weight loss surgery diet.
  • Have your initial consultation with your surgeon to go over any necessary paperwork.
  • Complete any other preparatory steps your surgeon requires.

Lifestyle changes before 3 months of surgery

It would help if you started making lifestyle changes about 3 months before your surgery.

Make Dietary Changes:

  • Cut out junk food. Eating junk food after surgery can cause malnutrition and side effects like dumping syndrome.
  • Eat more protein to help with weight loss and muscle building before surgery.
  • Learn to eat slowly and reduce your portion sizes. Listen to your body and stop eating before you feel full.
  • Start taking multivitamin supplements with advice from your doctor or dietitian.
  • Avoid drinking with meals to prepare for your post-surgery routine. Stop drinking sugary drinks and switch to water. Also, stop drinking alcohol.

Increase Physical Activity:

  • Gradually increase your exercise to 30 minutes of gentle activity per day.

2 Weeks Before Surgery

Now that your pre-op tests are done, the paperwork is complete, your insurance is approved, and you've started changing your eating, drinking, and exercise habits, you can start the final preparations for your weight loss for bariatric surgery.

  • Set the surgery date and time and know when to arrive at the hospital.
  • Complete any required pre-surgery blood work or tests.
  • Check-in with your surgeon again for consent, a pre-op physical, and to go over any last-minute details.
  • Plan to take 4-6 weeks off work.
  • Arrange for child care if needed.
  • Ensure someone can stay with you for at least the first week after surgery and that they have requested time off work.

1 Week Before Surgery

  • Arrange for someone to take you to and from the hospital.
  • Prepare food and vitamins for after surgery or make a shopping list for someone to buy them for you.
  • Set up a comfortable sleeping area at home.
  • Pack your hospital bag. Include comfort items, entertainment, clothes, hygiene products, sleep aids and anything else to make your stay comfortable.

The Day Before Your Surgery

From midnight before your surgery, you cannot eat or drink anything. If you do, your surgery will be cancelled.

Bariatric surgery hospital checklist

Let’s take a look at some of the essentials:

  1. Money and Coins: Use a credit or debit card for most expenses, but bring some cash for small services like tips for hotel staff and parking attendants.
  2. Entertainment: Pack reading material, portable video games and your cellphone or tablet to entertain yourself.
  3. Chargers and Extension Cords: Bring all necessary chargers for your devices and an extension cord to keep everything within reach.
  4. Headphones: For calls and entertainment.
  5. Water Spray: You can't drink water immediately after surgery, so a spray bottle can help keep your mouth and face refreshed.
  6. Lip Balm and Moisturisers: Your lips and skin may get dry post-surgery, so bring a good lip balm and travel-sized moisturiser.
  7. Wet Wipes and Vaseline: Useful for staying clean and preventing discomfort.
  8. Thermos or Water Bottles: Keep water handy for hydration before and after surgery.
  9. Bring your most comfortable pair of clothes.
  10. Bath Robe and Slippers: For comfort before and after surgery.
  11. Toiletries: Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser, body soap, hairbrush and other personal hygiene items.

Things you should avoid packing

  1. Jewellery as it may cause discomfort
  2. Expensive items that may not be needed at the hospital

Take Away

Weight loss surgery may sound like a big challenge, but it's easier when you have people around you who understand and support you. Your family, doctor, dietitian, and others who are going through the same journey can encourage you to reach your weight loss goals.

Now that you have an idea about the tips to follow before you head for weight loss through bariatric surgery, you can confidently go ahead with it. However, it's important to confirm with weight loss surgery Melbourne experts while adhering to the checklist. 

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