Before and After Weight Loss Surgery
Your first appointment at our Weight Loss Center
During your first appointment you will meet the surgeon and other members of our team, such as the nurse practitioner and dietitian.
Also during this appointment:
- We will review your medical records and questionnaires in depth.
- You will learn more about the benefits and risks of the surgery and what your post-op life will be like.
- We will do a physical exam and determine if any blood work or further heart/lung evaluation needs to be done.
- You will have ample time to ask any questions.
Often we will ask you to fax medical records, blood work and study results to our office after this visit.
After the first appointment, you will need to visit a psychiatrist (or clinical psychologist) and have a required psychiatric evaluation. We need to have a letter approving you for surgery. We can provide references if needed.
You will also need to attend a five hour bariatric nutrition class given by a registered dietitian.
Once you are fully approved, you will be given a surgery date. You will then return to our clinic for a second pre-operative physical evaluation and to review the operation and its risks. We will do a physical exam and complete pre-operative paper work. We will give you specific instructions regarding the pre-operative bowel prep and where to go the morning of your surgery. Many of our patients are also sent for a pre-anesthesia exam. We will let you know how to proceed with this if necessary.
Between 2 to 4 p.m. on the day before your surgery, you will need to call the surgery check in desk in order to confirm your arrival time for the following day.
After your surgery
After surgery, you will spend a few hours in the recovery area so we can monitor your vital signs and ensure that you awake normally from anesthesia. You are then transferred to a surgical ward in the hospital.
Some of the things you can expect during this time right after the surgery:
- You will receive a urinary catheter while you are in the OR. If you have a gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy you will also receive a naso-gastric tube (NG tube). These are usually removed the day after surgery.
- You will have an IV (intra-venous) line in order to receive fluids and pain medication, usually morphine. A machine connected to your IV allows you to give yourself the pain medication as needed.
- If you underwent a gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy, you will have a drain in your abdomen. This stays in place until your first post-op clinic visit or until the drain output decreases significantly.
- You will receive a special breathing device called an incentive spirometer, which you will need to use about every ten minutes while you are awake. This keeps your lungs healthy and prevents lung problems, such as pneumonia, after surgery.
Moving is important
It is very important that you get up and move as soon as possible after the surgery, even if it is simply to a nearby chair. This is to help prevent the formation of blood clots in your legs, which can cause a pulmonary embolism. To further prevent this complication, you will also be wearing special support stockings and compression devices on your legs while in bed.
Slowly returning to a regular diet
For about the first 24 hours after surgery, you will not eat or drink anything. IV fluids will supply what your body needs.
After one of our team members determines that you can tolerate fluids (usually the morning after surgery), you will be given water and ice chips during the day to drink. Most patients can tolerate clear fluids by the evening post-op. At that time you'll be given broth and sugar free Jell-O.
Over the course of the next several weeks you will slowly progress to a regular, well balanced diet.