The main reason people have weight loss surgery is obvious--they need to be healthier and lose weight. But sometimes people may be asked to lose weight before bariatric surgery too. This can be surprising for many patients since major weight loss will happen after bariatric surgery, but there are plenty of good reasons to lose some weight before bariatric surgery.
Your doctor or insurance may require it.
Before you go in for your surgery, chances are you’ll have some work to do. It’s typical for insurance companies and even doctors to ask patients to lose weight or to be on a medically supervised weight loss program before bariatric surgery.
Some insurance plans require a medically supervised weight loss program before they’re willing to approve you for bariatric surgery. Your bariatric surgeon and the team will help you create this weight loss plan and will monitor your program. This can range from 3-6 months. If you are considering bariatric surgery options, you should get in touch with your insurance company as soon as possible to see if this is one of their requirements. If it is, you’ll be able to start the weight loss program sooner rather than later, so you won’t have to put your weight loss surgery plans on hold.
Even if your insurance doesn’t require it, your doctor will likely put you on a special diet right before your surgery to prepare your body for the procedure. At first your doctor may ask you to introduce more protein into your diet. This is important because once you have the surgery, that extra protein will prevent you from losing lean muscle. A week before you go in for your operation, you’ll be put on a liquid protein diet. This may start off with full liquids, then move to clear liquids such as water, broth, and sugar free popsicles.
During this preoperative diet patients will lose between 10-20 lbs. This is because losing weight before surgery shrinks the size of the liver, improving safety and access for your surgeon. But this of course will also depend on your situation.
Your recovery time could be shorter.
Studies have shown that losing weight before your surgery can also mean less time spent on the operating table, and a faster recovery. Losing weight prior to surgery can decrease the surgical risks of your bariatric procedure because your surgeon will have improved access. A report in the Archives of Surgery found that patients who lost at least 10 percent of their excess body weight had fewer complications compared to patients who lost less weight before surgery.
Fewer complications and shortened recovery time can also mean you’ll be able to start losing weight after bariatric surgery faster since you’ll be able to start exercising and adjusting to your post bariatric diet.
You’ll be more motivated to lose weight.
Losing weight before bariatric surgery will help put you in the right mindset. If you successfully lose a few pounds before bariatric surgery, you’ll know that you have it in you to reach your weight loss goals after surgery, when it’s time to start losing some serious weight.
Plus, losing weight before bariatric surgery will make you more knowledgeable of what to eat, how to exercise, and which eating and fitness schedules work for you. Working all of that out before you have your surgery will mean you’ll be able to jump right back on track once you’ve recovered. This is important, because weight loss surgery will only work if you do.
Some patients are concerned about losing weight before bariatric surgery because they’ve had difficulty losing weight in the past--but this time is different! Patients will have a team of trained doctors and staff who can help them reach this pre-surgery goal. Losing weight before bariatric surgery is just a small milestone along your weight loss journey. With the right mindset and the right tools, you’ll be able to successfully reach your weight loss surgery goals.
Contact us today to schedule a personal consultation with one of our expert bariatric surgeons!