Bariatric surgery is a life-changing experience that has transformed the lives of thousands of people struggling with obesity and overweight-related issues. It alters many aspects of your life, including the ways in which you feel, act, eat, and live. You may experience changes in your relationships, your mental health, and your well-being, but the most drastic changes you’ll have to make are to your diet and exercise. If you’re considering making the leap to a new and healthy lifestyle with weight loss surgery, you should know all about the process of bariatric surgery, before and after.
The bariatric surgery process begins with determining if you meet the requirements to obtain surgery. For most procedures, the primary factor is that you were unable to lose weight by non-surgical attempts. In some cases, this may require monthly tracking of your weight, a supervised weight loss program, and weight loss counseling sessions.
At Riverside Surgical we want to make the process easier for you and make sure you understand everything about your weight loss surgery experience. This is why we, and many other bariatric surgery centers, will require that you attend an educational session or webinar to receive information about each surgery offered, the bariatric diet, and insight on what to expect during and after your hospital stay.
At Riverside Surgical, we like to make sure you get a chance to meet with a surgeon for a personal consultation. Here, we’ll be able to discuss your weight history, decide which surgery is best for you, and personally go through your expectations and goals regarding the weight loss surgery.
Once you meet with the surgeon, you’ll next make an appointment with the dietician and nutritionists in order to determine your specific diet needs and instructions. You’ll review your diet history and eating habits, record your weight and body measurements, and note any supplements or medications that you’re taking.
For your safety and well-being, we follow the bariatric surgery guidelines set by the National Institute of Health, which require a psychological evaluation in addition to the nutritional assessment. After we’ve confirmed insurance coverage or another form of payment with you for the procedure, we will then make you an appointment for your psychological evaluation.
About two weeks before your planned surgery, you’ll have one final appointment with the surgeon. Now is the time for you to ask any remaining questions you may have about the procedure. You’ll receive a postoperative packet with guidelines, what to expect, and resources available to you. We’ll also review your postoperative diet with you to make sure you understand what it entails and to ensure that you have all the tools you need to succeed.
The length of your hospital stay depends on which bariatric procedure you received. Lap Sleeve and laparoscopic gastric bypass patients typically return home the second day prior to surgery.
Your diet following your surgery will be in phases from here on. The first phase is strictly all-liquid and you must not drink any liquids containing sugar, caffeine, or carbonation. Next you’ll be permitted to allow protein-based liquids into your diet, followed by pureed foods, and finally foods with more texture. Each progression takes a few weeks, so you must be consulting with your dietician or doctor regularly to determine if you’re ready for the next phase.
As you may know, your eating habits must also change. After surgery, you need to eat foods high in nutrition and protein. You’ll also need to take vitamins and supplements recommended by your dietician. Eating slowly, chewing every bite, and monitoring what you eat is the key to your new bariatric diet.
Exercise is the other critical component of your weight loss success after bariatric surgery. Start with walking and then gradually build up to an exercise regimen that you know you can stick to. Finding the motivation to exercise every day is important and you must take this into consideration before you decide to undergo weight loss surgery.
After surgery, you’ll continue to see your weight loss team long-term, visiting for checkups to help make sure you’re on the right track. Determination and commitment to your diet, exercise, and new bariatric lifestyle are the components that will help you lose weight and maintain weight loss. The Riverside Surgical & Weight Loss Center team is here for you every step of the way! If you have any questions about bariatric surgery, or if you’re interested in scheduling a personal consultation with one of our surgeons, contact us today.